Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day Ten - Bilbao - Wow!!

Day 10 Bilbao – what a surprise!

Fraser had booked the pension on his iPhone. He was not exactly sure what he had booked, and neither were we. As it turned out, the location was inch perfect. Our pension was on a pedestrianised street in the Old Quarter – the Casco Viejo - just a minute from the Theatre Arriaga.

The pension was deceptive in every sense. We climbed three sets of stairs in an office building to reach the third floor which extended for nearly the entire block. Amazingly it boasted over 20 rooms. It was basic, cheap and clean. Daniel and I could see the steeple of the nearby cathedral from our bedroom. We looked across at the sitting room of a local who never shut the window day or night.

By and large most people agree that Bilbao is not an oustandingly pretty city. It boasts the Guggenheim Museum and many tourists do not get beyond that. The Old Quarter was a revelation – in many ways quirkier and more engaging than Pamplona. It was a part of town that belonged to the locals and the tourists failed to destroy its fabric or quality.

Barry was entrusted once again with finding us a wonderful restaurant. Perhaps spoiled for choice in the end we followed Pat's recommendation of dining in the restaurant with the nicest table cloths. I am told the wine was lovely. I can report that agua sin gas was wonderful. The meal was not without incident. A huge rubbish truck reversed up the street and had not diners moved out of the way they would have ended up in the municipal dump the following day. One of the endearing things about Spain is that they do not stand on ceremony.

We wondered what we would do to follow this trip. One way or another I think most of us will want to arrive in Santiago some day, some how.

Perhaps we should not leave it too late. Carpe Diem!

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