As a soft southerner, when I first moved to Manchester I told my friends ‘daan sarf ‘that Manchester deserved its reputation for being wet, when in reality it averages only 830mm of rain per year. Compare that with the Lake District, which I have to say is particularly moist. Seathwaite in Borrowdale for example, is the wettest inhabited place in England -averaging some 3,300 millimetres (130 in) of rain each year.
The northern Basque Country – like the Lakes – is nice and green because guess what the rain is greater than “on the plain”. That said even in the north (the wettest part) the rainfall is less than 1000 mm. So when the heavens opened up here today, as a Cumbrian might say ”It’s nowt but a la’l shower lad”.
We elected not to hang about in Comillas in the rain, so after visiting the laudramat (again) we set sail for Bilbao.
The aire we found in Bilbao offers a stupendous view over the city. For 15€ per night, each spot has it’s own electricity and a water connection (with really good pressure). It’s guarded during the day. And the number 58 bus that takes you right into the centre, runs regularly from a stop just 100 meters away.
After meeting a chatty local couple on the bus which took us to the the heart of downtown Bilbao we started with the market at The Mercado de la Ribera and were quickly drawn to the Pintxos in its gastro bars. We enjoyed the walk along the riverbank to the Guggenheim museum.
Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a magnificent example of groundbreaking architecture. The building and the museum has transformed the fortunes of Bilbao. The millions like us, come to see and photograph the structure without knowing or necessarily being interested in the artworks inside.
The Guggenheim is huge with 11,000 m2 of dedicated exhibition space, and although the museum is an undoubted architectural landmark providing a perfect backdrop for the art exhibited in it. However for me the majority of the art inside as Shania Twain would say “didn’t impress me much’. Yes there were three rooms full of ‘masters’ Van Gogh, Picasso, Gaugin, Renoir et al. But I don’t get Mark Rothko or even worse a huge long wall of nine canvases with varying amounts of paint splattered on them… naaagh!
Now the external sculptures for me were just great, I loved the idea of the Fog sculpture ” by Fujiko Nakaya, it made me feel quite homesick….
We really liked Bilbao and enjoyed finding our way around the streets (calles) of the old town, the Guggenheim is definitely worth seeing and we had some great
tapas pintxos in the market but sadly once again no ice-cream. (I have written to my MP, but apparently he’s busy with some other stuff in Westminster at the mo…)
Oh how we miss the rain…
Pip Pip, toodle oo
Dave & Lesley