Visiting Bilbao had just one purpose. FRIENDS. As I don’t remember if mentioned before, me and my girlfriend Maria met in our Erasmus student program in Setubal, Portugal. This means that we have a lot of friends in common from whose 3 are from Bilbao. Both of us have never been there and being just 100 kilometres from there it was a must-do thing to meet with our friends Leyre, Ainhoa and Miren.
After a nice man from blablacar dropped us off, we met with Leyre, our flatmate from Portugal. She immediately took us for a sightseeing out of Bilbao. It was great, because she was local and had a car so that’s always a great opportunity to see interesting things. Although we were a bit sleepy from getting up early, she took us to Gaztelugatxe. No clue what that means, but it was a beautiful coast with a small church on the top of a huge cliff on the opposite side where people can get married. To get to the church first you have to descent some stairs, then continue down along the road, which at that time was closed for reconstruction so no cars could go there. After a 10 minute walk we reached a sea level from where a path continues up towards the church. Unfortunately the path up was closed. Well I guess for my girlfriend was a relief, since she wasn’t really excited to walk all those stairs 😀 To get back to parking lot was a bit worse. I didn’t find it difficult at all both ways. I guess I was just so excited and stunned of the views there.
To rest a bit, Leyre drove to a beautiful fairy-tale looking castle called Butrón. It was purposely built to have a medieval look rather than functionality of a real castle. Butrón is actually the largest existing medieval castle in the world, which at the time of visit I had no clue about. We had a short walk around the castle, which btw makes you feel like in those middle ages. There was no tourist at all. Actually there was just one biker who took a picture of us and left. The place was really quiet and peaceful and since the castle was closed there was not much else to do…
Anyway, there was just one more thing everybody needs to see while visiting Bilbao, Guggenheim museum. Well, in my case just from outside. I am not really interested in museum of this type. I have no clue about art at all…But from outside it looks great. A bit strange but that’s what is cool about it. Do you like dogs? You can have a picture with a huge dog made of flowers, or in my case, under a giant tarantula in front of museum. There is also a nice fountain with steam time to time going off.
As mentioned before, visiting Bilbao had just one reason – friends. We also had time to spend just 1 night so we wanted to have as much fun as possible. So later that day we met with Ainhoa, another great friend of ours to have lunch and make a plan for the night. After lunch we have decided to go for a coffee (which btw I have never drunk in my life) so in my case juice and some cakes. The cafeteria was called Bertiz and had both great look and great delicious things to eat and drink. It was that kind of a place you see in movies and you want to go there every morning before work to have something good for breakfast and get energy for work. I really love this kind of cafeterias with great fresh products and special atmosphere.
After all those formalities, we finally headed to the city center to get to know culture of Basque country. I have travelled around the Spain quite a lot and also have stayed enough time in Andalusia to notice the huge difference between south (Andalusia) and north (Cantabria, Basque country). All the bars in city center were full of people with tattoos, piercings, black hair, wearing mostly black clothes. It actually reminded me of some bars in my city… Of course there is nothing bad about this. I was just so surprised with the big difference of appearance between north and south as people in south are a bit more stylish. Music in bars was also focused to black metal mostly I guess, which didn’t matter to us, since we had started drinking good beer as well as Calimocho, drink typical for Bilbao and its youngsters consisting of red wine and coke. I like to drink red wine and coke since Portugal so I was definitely down.
One thing I totally liked more in Bilbao than in Seville was the size of glasses in bars. Beers and Calimocho are served in half-liter or bigger glasses so you don’t have to order a new one all the time.
As my trip is always about food as well, after finished with at least 1 liter of red wine with coke, we headed to a bar with pinchos (small snacks) to try some goodies for dinner and especially to meet with last of our three friends from Bilbao, Miren. One of those bars all of us went to was called Aitxiar. We ordered a very typical Spanish tortilla with Jamón (Spanish ham), cheese and mushroom toping and piece of bread with vegetables and cheese Brie on the top. We did the same thing in other bars with Pinchos before having another of those I guess 1 liter Calimocho drinks. As night was passing by, we decided to go to a disco where I met a Slovak girl from Nitra, which is only 30 kilometres from my town. What a coincidence.
As I mentioned, this short trip was made to meet with our friends we haven’t seen for almost 2 years and it was definitely worth it. Except for having so much fun talking and partying, we saw also a beautiful parts of Bilbao coast line scenery, countryside and city itself.