Quote of the Week, Perhaps a Bit Longer

"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates

12/29/09

Yay Spain, I mean Euskadi!

Map of Euskadi

So, as it turned out I didn't get to go to Spain, I went to Euskadi, more commonly known as, the Basque Country. I left a frozen Reno early on the 8th of December and flew into Bilbao on the evening of the 9th. Dan was at the airport to greet me with a coke and a bag of potato chips--such a sweetie!

Flying over a frozen Reno

and a frozen Tahoe

Just had to throw this in here, we flew over Yosemite, awesome!

We took a bus and a tram to hotel which was located in the heart of Casco Viejo--the old part of the city. On our way to the hotel we did end up walking past the Guggenheim, what an amazing building. Casco Viejo is really nice, there are a bunch of shops, bars and restaurants, all located just outside our hotel. We could walk everywhere.

The Guggenheim, all lit up. The first night in Bilbao

Dan under the holiday lights in Casco Viejo

The first night I was in Bilbao we didn't do too much, I got in around 8:00 pm (20:00) so we walked around ate some pintxos and drank some wine and beer. Supposedly there was a big festival the night before so things closed down really early my first night, mostly between 10:00 and 11:00 pm (22:00 and 23:00)--I like using the 24 hour clock, I should start using it more often. So we hit the hay pretty early.

The next morning we woke fairly early and grabbed some pinxtos and coffee. They have pinxtos out pretty much all day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pinxtos (pronounced pinchos) are similar to tapas. They are little snake foods and they are typically served in bars and taverns. Pretty much every bar we went into had plates and plates full of pintxos. There are many different varieties of pintxo, but every place had small ham sandwiches, small cheese sandwiches and tortillas, which are actually an egg and potato quiche. Every place had a lot more pinxtos than those, but they varied quite a bit. Some had stuffed mushroom caps, some had fish salad, some had artichoke hearts or peppers, bacon was used quite a bit. It was fun to try the different kinds of pintxos, most of the ones I tried, I liked. I should have take a picture of a bar full of pintxos, but alas, I didn't think of it at the time.

After pinxtos and coffee we went for a walk. We walked up this huge flight of stairs, I didn't count how many stairs there were, but it was one mighty long stair case that led up to a huge city park. The park was beautiful. It, like the hillsides surrounding the city, was lush and green. I couldn't believe how green everything was there in December--a lot of people still had gardens going, I was soooooooo jealous. The park was interesting in the fact that it was on a hillside, parts of it were super steep, other parts had been flattened out to build play sets or sport fields. There were a lot of nice walking trails throughout the park and tons of people had their dogs out for an afternoon romp. That was one thing I loved about all the cities we visited. They are designed for people, not for cars. You can walk pretty much anywhere you want to go. Even if you live out of town, you can drive into city, park and then walk to all the places you need to go. It is awesome, once again sooooooo jealous.

Entrance to the city park

After the park, we headed to a tram that took us to another park, located high on one of the hilltops just outside of Bilbao. You take a tram, because this hillside is super steep, I don't think there is even a trail for you to walk up it, although there is a windy road. The tram ride up was fun, we went through a tunnel and going up the super steep slope inspired some butterflies in my tummy, but in a fun way. Once at the top, the views were amazing. You could see pretty much the entire city, including the river, and the Guggenhein. Bilbao is near, but not on the coast and from the hilltop park you could even see the coast. It was beautiful.

Inside the tram

View of Billbao and the Guggenheim from the hilltop park

Dan over Bilbao

Bilbao with the river, the Guggenhein and green hillsides

Way off in the distance you can see the coast

We then took the tram back down the hill and stopped off for beer and pinxtos.

So, this gets us about halfway through my first day. I wanted to do these posts much shorter than my Romania Series posts, but so far it's not looking that way. Stay tuned for more on Euskadi, coming soon!!!

5 comments:

danwinnemucca said...

so awesome!

Erin said...

cool! i wish i had been able to check out bilbao...it sounds like such a neat city. miss you guys!

Erin said...

more to come?

Renee said...

Yes there is. I know I haven't been on top of it lately, but there is more to come I promise.

Erin said...

i miss your updates :( i miss you.