Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Getxo, Bilbao, week two

As predicted the weather deteriorated and at 0330 in the morning Mark was on the roof in the rain securing halyards (ropes) which were slapping on the mast making lots of noise as the wind picked up, I was obviously very supportive and watched from inside in case he had a problem….


The visitor’s pontoon is fairly busy with French boats coming and going, a nice German gaffer and even an American registered catamaran. As you approach there are big signs warning that docking is prohibited, this is obviously the Spanish (and French) form of prohibited that we have seen in many places which carries the caveat ‘unless you want to’. There have been several sailing schools coming in and out, one spent a couple of hours using us as a target as they practised coming into and off of a pontoon.  There is also a steady stream of police, Red Cross and customs boats and even a couple of party boats which turned up to load with a crowd who all waved as they went past.
Statue to victims of terror.

It was definitely time for an odd job day by now so after updating the internet it was time to get on with some cleaning and other tasks before enjoying an explore around the top of the older part of town which revealed more interesting buildings, mainly made from the sandstone quarried locally and we finally found an open Correos to send some postcards written about a week before!


A couple more rainy mornings followed, calling for a bit of school work including some art work inspired by the trip to the Guggenheim. The boys created some really good pieces while we waited for the sun to reappear in the afternoon ready for us to go and have a proper look at the famous Getxo mansions and other bits around the area.


By now Marks teeth were obviously going to need some attention fairly soon. The office helped by sorting out an appointment and taxi and off he went. Within two hours of going up to the office to ask for some help he was back on the boat with one tooth sorted and the other in a small plastic bag – fascinating for anyone 10 or younger, the tooth fairy however was less impressed and refused to pay up.


A weekend of mainly strong winds, rain, thunder and recovering from the dentist gave way to better weather and health on the Sunday afternoon giving us a chance to go up in the panoramic lift, admiring the sights of the commercial harbour, explore some different roads and enjoy the sounds of the church bells and bird song. (In case you were wondering, yes we did watch Eurovision and we cheered on both Spain and the UK!)

The spot where the charter was read in the 1400's granting Bilbao city rights
On Monday we decided to go into the city to look around, the old area was particularly recommended. The boys enjoy hopping on and off the metro, last week a woman had stopped us buying tickets in the metro station, called the guard over and they both insisted that we should get the travel card as it would be cheaper for us, the lady then smiled, waved and went on her way leaving the guard sorting us out! We’ve got two stations both only about 10 minutes from the marina and it is a really quick and easy trip to the shop or into the city.


The city itself is beautiful; there are lots of interesting and highly decorated old buildings and amongst them many spectacular creations from well known architects and designers encouraged to the city by the creation of the Guggenheim museum. It all blends really well together to make a fascinating city. We walked around for several hours both Monday and Tuesday taking lots of photos and gasping around each corner at the views.


So now that we have seen all we had hoped to here and much more, it’s time to work through the sailing checklist and get ready to move on when the wind and weather are right.


The Guggenheim museum, Bilbao

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