|The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao|
Spain has always been a country I’ve wanted to visit, yet for some reason countries such as Greece, France, Germany, Austria, England, Switzerland and of course Italy have continued to occupy the top European slots on my travel list. And though I’ve always thought my first Iberian stop would be Andalucía, a region which wraps its arms around the cities of Seville, Granada, Cordoba, rubs shoulders with Gibraltar and exhibits a rich blend of ancient Roman, Greek and Muslim cultures it was a wedding invitation that brought me to fly across the Pyrenees and land in Bilbao.
|Plaza Nueva, Bilbao Spain|
|Victor Montes Bar, Bilbao|
|Tapas at Victor Montes, Bilbao|
Stomachs satisfied and feeling cheery we said goodbye to the tapas bars, exited the Plaza Nueva and wander down the wide promenade that gently curves alongside the Nerviòn River and through the soul of Bilbao. Pleasant surprises were found every step of the way: a statue of three cherubs standing atop a fountain as if encouraging the surrounding leafless trees to prepare for spring; a Victorian carousel sat quiet while waiting for school children to put away their books and come out and play; well-maintained playgrounds and green spaces filled with laughing preschoolers, doting parents and hand holding retirees.
|Nerviòn River and Zubizuri footbridge, Bilbao|
|Bilbao city tram|
|Rear entrance to the Guggenheim Bilbao|
We left the footbridge behind and walked down a quiet road. The shrine built to worship contemporary art twisted and towered in the distance. With each step we took the exterior of the Guggenheim Museum changed and showed us a different angle of genius. When we stood near enough to touch its smooth surface it dominated us and became its own surroundings, and as if in a sacred place, our very talkative group of friends was silenced by the beauty and magnitude of Frank O. Gehry’s masterpiece. It is a structure that pulls at your senses, seems to defy gravity, and used up all my digital camera’s picture frames. It curves, it hovers, it reflects, it twists, it leans, and it glistens. Its titanium surface seems cold but is instead warm and welcoming. And as I stood and observed this marvel of architecture I wondered if the ancient Egyptians might have felt the same awe and emotion that was rumbling through me as they observed the genius of their own pyramids.
|Frank O. Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao|
For more information on places I've mentioned see:
Victor Montes Tapas Bar & Restaurant: http://www.victormontes.com/en_bar.htm
Café Bar Bilbao: http://www.bilbao-cafebar.com/engl.htm
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao