Friday, August 21, 2009

H+P Road Trip: Bilbao to Avilés, Spain

After a night of unexpected fun and excitement, we awoke around 7:30am to retrieve our car and head to our next destination Avilés by way of Bilbao to see Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao and many distinctive art installations inside. Our early start paid off as we arrived before the rush, plus we got a student discount which saved us half of the admission. Portable headsets are awesome at museums because you can learn so much more…so we got two for free (with admission)! As someone who has been to a lot of museums all over the world, I’d have to say that the Guggenheim Bilbao is one of the best museums I’ve seen with some of the most over the top installations.

Inside, we weren’t allowed to take pictures (although I snuck one while no one was looking). I had no set expectations from looking at other people’s pictures which made the experience even more unique. You may have experienced this – you have your hopes built up about seeing something but once you see it you’re a little let down because you’ve already seen it a dozen times on the internet. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for this museum and we were impressed with everything. One of the neatest installations was a pack of 80 or so stuffed life-sized wolves in a large room frozen in the action of running, leaping and crashing into a large glass wall before returning to do it again. We spent just over two ours at the museum but could have stayed a lot longer.

We arrived in Avilés and were a bit lost for a good hour. Avilés isn’t that big but our directions weren’t much avail to find our evening pension. But we found it! We stayed in an area occupied by locals and saw absolutely no tourists – which was great and gave us a chance to work on our Spanish! After check in, we stumbled upon what appeared to be a quick and easy café but turned out to be a large open air Spanish restaurant called ‘Yumay’ where all of the neighbors congregated for familiar evening meals. It was awesome. We felt very comfortable and lucky to have found a great place to eat great food and observe culture and happiness! Our waiter was hilarious and considering our obvious language differences he provided us with an entertaining and memorable experience for our short one night stop in Avilés on our way to Santiago de Compostela!

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