On To Spain and The Guggenheim

Usually our travels take us to one country at a time, but a visit to Spain was tacked onto the trip to Portugal. Two previous trips to Spain had taken us to several areas, but we had never been to Basque country or to Catalonia. We flew from Porto to Bilbao as the train ride would have required spending a night in Madrid with very little time to do anything while there. Like practically every city and town we visited on the trip, Bilbao is located by the water. Our apartment was only a couple hundred meters from the river.

Bilbao

What made the visit to Bilbao so special was the Guggenheim Museum, the most impressive museum either of has ever visited. From the spectacular exterior to the spectacular interior to the stunning exhibits, the Guggenheim can best be described as amazing. Or awesome, take your pick. Our apartment was also only a couple hundred meters from the Guggenheim.

Bilbao

There were parts of the museum that weren’t exhibits per se (and no photos allowed of the artworks) but were participatory, places to insert oneself into the art world. Here’s Tanya.

Bilbao

The Guggenheim is adjacent to a beautiful pedestrian bridge that we walked over several times. There are other pedestrian bridges over the river in Bilbao, making for pleasurable walks as the city has things to see and do on both sides.

Bilbao

Of course there is street art here in Bilbao also.

Bilbao

A Place To Live

We spent about two weeks in Portugal, not a long time, but we’ve visited before. We went to see if the spark was still there and it was. Portugal has people, art, history, culture, and food. Portugal is completely missing an active and diverse music scene, and that’s disappointing. And we lucked out on the weather, with no rain, which we know isn’t the way it’s going to be. But everything else was compelling and we will live here someday, soon.

Portugal has amazing art, in museums and on the street.

Faro

Portugal has beautiful buildings dating back many hundreds of years.

Lisbon

Portugal has terrific open spaces for people to work, chat, and eat.

Porto

And Portugal has Boom Balls, which I never got to try.

Boom Balls

Day Trip to Braga

Another short hop from Porto in a different direction took us to Braga. There’s quite a bit of religion in Braga, with a huge church at the entrance to the old quarter. The old quarter is easy to wander around, with plenty of small streets to get lost on.

Braga

I really don’t understand Catholicism, even after numerous trips to countries where it has been the dominant religion for centuries and centuries. For example, what’s up with all the pain imagery?

Braga

There is street music in Portugal, not as much as in France or even England. A virtuosic violinist (I have no idea if he was a virtuoso but those two words go together so well) wearing a cape and leggings was playing on one street.

Braga

And just before leaving we found a fountain (OK, another game with words) that had a rainbow. We enjoyed Braga and hope to return during the religious festivals that are unique to the area.

Braga