Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
6Trip End Oct 30, 2009
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We've traveled for about 18 hours now and will arrive in Bilbao in a matter of minutes. Our trip from Albuquerque to Washington was pretty uneventful and, in fact, because of tremendous tailwinds made it about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The flight from DC to Munich was pretty uneventful as well (with the exception of about an hour of mild turbulance over the northern Atlantic somewhere). The flight was pretty short—about 7 ½ hrs. We arrived in Munich where it was about 32 degrees. They’re expecting snow later today! We had two hours before our connecting flight. Just enough time to whuff down some coffee and a croissant. We skirted the Alps on our way westward. The morning sun bathed those magnificent mountains with a golden hue. Now, in the distance I can make out the Pyrenees
Wow! Bilbao is fantastic! It reminds me of Bogota, only cooler. It is surrounded by beautiful hills (unless you live in Texas, then they’re mountains!). You can almost smell the sea. We had a short nap after we checked in then got up and had lunch (we showed up at a bout 2:30 and the guy told us we were just a bit early for lunch, but he served us). Sure enough, the small place got packed by about 3:30. We had a delicious meal: 1) a Basque version of bruschetta (ham, tomatoes, sea salt, olive oil), 2) a clam that gave you a burst of sea, 3) the best calamari that I have ever had (whole, not your strips type) and then tail of bull (rabo de toro). Oh, yeah, I think we also had a bottle of red wine. Yum!
We took a nap after a short walk after that. We walked up to the Guggenhiem and took some photos, but left the visit for tomorrow.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Today was a full day. Did the Guggenhiem, went up the "Funicular" up the moutain, found a nice “asador” (grilling) restaurant, took a nap and made it out for pinchos (not to be confused with “pinches”). Pinchos is the Basque version of tapas. Stopped at 5 places and had a few pinchos and glasses of wine. It is the favorite pastime of Bilbaoans on a Friday night. In fact, it’s 10pm and they action is just starting….but we’re settling in for bed. We’ve just been blown away by the food this time around. In the past our gastronomic experience was less than stellar. I think we just hadn’t gone to the right places. The feature tonight was a duck confit pincho that Paul had and a (believe it or not) anchovy/cod concoction on bread that I had. I’ve really been venturing out on the fish thing this trip. I even had cod for lunch!!
Tomorrow we leave Bilbao for a hotel a bit in from the coast into the Picos de Europa, a beautiful, mountainous area. We should be in by late afternoon. Look for photos of the coast and the mountains next.