BILBAO

The sun finally came out and joined us for breakfast today, and it was glorious. The staff was far more professional this time, with smiles and greetings all around even with the breakfast rush still on, and the Guggenheim was looking particularly stunning and inspiring. Now this is breakfast!

It was again a late start for us this morning after getting in at midnight from a memorable dinner in Bakio. Checking on today’s tourist options wasn’t good – San Sebastián wasn’t promising as the buses were all booked, the train would have taken over three hours to get there, and a private car would have been impractical. We chose to do the wiser thing and stay closer to home, starting with another pass at the Guggenheim, and a walk along the riverside to Casco Viejo. The scenes along the river were plenty and staying in the shade wasn’t very challenging however Google let me down a second time by leading us to a point it labeled as Casco Viejo that was actually an overlook of the old center – and just a fairly decent one at that – on an elevated part of the city. Having to trudge all the way there in 30+ degree heat didn’t do us any favors.

There was absolutely no shade there to speak of so we quickly tried to make our way down to where Casco Viejo appeared to be, and were wonderfully rewarded with views that would make Travel & Leisure proud. We finally made it to the old part of town and it was very nice, just as expected.

The cathedral was one of the simplest and smallest I’ve seen in memory and the quaint and highly walkable shopping streets were nice. We had more inclination though to see the Fine Arts or Bellas Artes Museum a kilometer away so off we went by cab and got there in no time.

The compact Bellas Artes was first a quick stop for some pintxos before we made our way through the two floors of nicely-displayed art. About an hour in we were done until we got a call with a pleasant surprise. Looks like our last full day in Basque Country just got longer.

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