Determined to explore a bit more of Spain as our time abroad sped to a close, a friend and I jetted off to Bilbao one weekend to check out how the northern-folk live. After a quick hour by plane, we landed in Bilbao ready to take on the day. We found the city was much quieter than we had anticipated, which was a welcome change at least for a little while.
After checking in at our hostel, we made our way to the Guggenheim to take in some art.
Our visit to the Guggenheim coincided with a huge Yoko Ono exhibit, which gave me the opportunity to learn that I don’t “get” Yoko Ono. My favorite room housed a series of 9 different screens, each playing a video of a single person with a musical instrument. Eventually, they all sang and the song and music from each individual video came together to create a cohesive musical group.
After the Guggenheim, we wandered around until we came to an outdoor market. Has there been any European city in which I have not come across an outdoor market? We took some time to explore the goods being sold, before finding a gelato place where we had just about the best gelato ever (in Spain). Yum!
Filled with gelato, and the knowledge that no matter how full we were in that moment we’d be hungry for dinner soon, we sought out a place to get pintxos. Since Basque country is known for these small snacks, we weren’t passing up any chances to try some! After dinner, we meandered over back to our hostel. We had only allowed ourselves one day in Bilbao, and we both agreed that was plenty.
The next morning, we were up bright and early to catch our bus to San Sebastían. When we arrived in this coastal city, it was pouring! We took shelter and lamented at our poor luck, trying to figure out how to change our itinerary for the day. A movie, maybe? It is a testament to how exhausting travel can be, that in those wet moments huddled together in northern Spain nothing sounded better than finding a movie theater to waste away in for a few hours.
For 2.80 euro, you can take a rickety tram up to the top of Mount Igueldo for some great views and – to our surprise – a cute little amusement park!
The pintxo bars in San Sebastían did not disappoint. There were so many options, and the vibe was much livelier than in Bilbao! We hopped through several different pintxo bars until we could eat no more, then walked back to our hostel.
The next day, we aimed to explore some more sights before catching our bus and then plane all the way back to Madrid. First, we headed to the San Telmo museum to learn a bit more about Basque culture.
Afterward, on our way to lunch, we ran into some sort of fun cultural fest. Running into unexpected surprises like this is one of the best parts of traveling! We watched some performances and checked out some food stalls before continuing on our way to lunch.
Then, it was back to the hostel to grab our stuff and travel back to Madrid!