Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A countryside drive to Bilbao

From San Sebastian, we took the long way to Bilbao. We went through the mountains and stopped at two small towns. The first stop was sort of by accident. That is, we were forced to stop because of a 100-km bike race going on at the same time. Luckily for us, the bike race was coming through this small town in about 20 minutes from the time we arrived. And when the cyclists came, it over in a flash! So quick around that corner!

Spain blog Spain blog Our next stop was Elanxobe, a hillside village that our Lonely Planet claimed to be a "Cinque Terra of the Basque region." I wouldn't have called it that, but it was very charming. Since we were delayed with the bikes, we arrived right in time for siesta--absolutely no one was around. The only 6 people awake were the 2 bartenders at the only café in town (and they were wrapping up the last few pintxos) and the 4 people eating the last of the pintxos. We immediately ordered the remaining food and sat in the lovely sun.

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It was about an hour and a half to get to Bilbao. Gorgeous drive with rolling hills and dotted with small villages. We arrived around 6pm, with just enough sun left to see the Guggenheim in natural light. All of us were immediately impressed with Bilbao. The guidebooks gloss over the city as Basque's second-best to San Sebastian. What a shame! It's equally exquisite, charming, clean, picturesque, and generally lovely. The old city has old-world charm and the new city is modern and hip. Totally cool and we all wished we had one more day to explore.

Spain blog Spain blog After seeing the outside of the Guggenheim (note to self: check opening hours of famous museums before planning a trip!), we walked through the new city and found another enticing pintxos spot for some dinner. The last of the trip! It was all quite delicious, and none of us were ready to leave Basque--or each other either!

Spain blog Spain blog Spain blog Spain blog I'm so grateful for the wonderful girlfriends in my life. You never how close you really are until you're 5000 miles apart! Love you B! 
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