El Globo on Friday, July 29, 2012 - Amazing Pintxos and great after work spot
I arrived in Bilbao after 2 layovers and almost 22 hours of travel: San Francisco, London, Madrid, Bilbao. The *fun* started in London where I was greeted by a British Airways employee holding a sign that read, "Madrid Flight BA464". I noticed her on the exit ramp getting trampled as passengers were in a mad frenzy to exit the delayed flight, pushing past each other - amazing how crazy people act when they are delayed. I assumed in hopes to reach their connections, find their luggage or just get home. I stood behind the lovely Anna, or was it Amy. We waited a few moments for the other 5 passengers heading to Madrid. They must have exited the flight before me and missed the sign. Anna grabbed me by the arm and we began the sprint through the airport and customs. It was really exciting racing through the airport with my private escort, jumping lines, running up escalators, passing lines at security, etc. Anna got me to the gate with less than 3 minutes to spear and then she gave me a hug goodbye. ( how sweet) Was a fun 20 minutes in London! Thanks Anna from British Airways. You ROCK! My luggage did not receive the same treatment.
Dona Casilda de Iturriza Park
Booking a hotel based on user generated recommendations can be 'hit or miss'. I completely missed on booking the Hotel Barcelo Nervion. The location was great. The hotel? Not so much. Horrible. Air-con broken in my room, bathroom was so small the door hit the toilet, beds were futon like, the view from my room was of another window in a light well, the breakfast was awesome (11 euros) and fast Internet.
I will say that I really enjoyed the Photo Zabalburu Hotel. It's a 10 minute walk from the 'old town' Casco Viejo, 5 minute walk to Indauxtu (El Globo & shopping district), and 8 minute walk from the main train station. I got to see more of the city staying here because I had to walk a little further than I did at the Hotel Barcelo. The rooms were big, beds comfy, and bathroom had a proper bidet. The breakfast was horrible (4 euro), but the staff and Internet made up for that one blemish.
The Dona Casilda Park is rundown and there are some sketchy folks hanging out mid-day. However, I did feel totally safe. Maybe I'm one of the sketchy ones. The park is located near the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and entry in free.
Located in the park is a very frightening statue of a man wearing clown shoes and waving his hat. Yikes!
Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
It's open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays and runs about 6 euro for a day pass. Their bathrooms are open to the public and very clean.
Permanent Collection of Basque Artists: Manuel Losada, Aurelio Arteta, Bermejo, Benson, Mandijn, Vredeman de Vries, De Vos, Moro, Sánchez Coello, El Greco, Pourbus, Gentileschi, Ribera, Zurbarán, Van Dyck, Murillo, Arellano, Meléndez, Bellotto, Goya, Paret, Villaamil, Ribot, Zamacois, Madrazo, Gauguin, Cassatt, Sorolla, Guiard, Ensor, Regoyos, Romero de Torres, Zuloaga, Sunyer, Arteta, Gutiérrez Solana, Vázquez Díaz, Lipchitz, Delaunay, González, Gargallo, Bacon, Palazuelo, Oteiza, Chillida, Caro, Millares, Tàpies, Saura, Lüpertz, Kitaj, Blake, Arroyo, and Barceló, amongst others.
Between the Fine Arts Museum and the park, you'll find many statues. I don't recall the artist, but I really liked this guy.
Dona Casilda de Iturriza Park - Naked Man Statue
The Dona Casilda Park just needs some TLC - it looks like it could be really beautiful.
Across the street from the Ayuntamiento de Bilbao (City Hall), was this beautiful piece of iron work. It's located along Paseo Campo de Volantin (street) and near the Puente del Ayuntamiento bridge. If you're up for a jog, there is a great pedestrian/jogging path on both sides of the Nervion-Ibaizabal estuary. I ran here in the mornings to burn off some of the pintxos I consumed the night before. Very active city.
Campo Volantin Bridge or Puente del Campo Volantin is a pedestrian walkway over the Nervion river. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.
The Internet is saturated with information and blogs about the Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Redundancy? I will spare you.
Permanently sitting outside the Guggenheim is Puppy, by Jeff Koons. The flower sculpture is a permanent installation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
I was very excited to see David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. I LOVE his bright landscapes, use of technology and how his spirited personality shines in his work. Above photo is a movie filmed with 9 cameras mounted on different angles. I want to do this with 9 GoPros on my bike.
The Funicular de Artxanda was out of order due to restoration or routine maintenance. I jumped on a bus running to the top of the Artxanda mountain (coast 2.20 euro one way). At the top of the bus ride or what would have been the funicular ride, is a very clean, well kept park called Artzanda Park. Iron work all around this area - Iron Finger Print.
Sunday morning in Bilbao at the Jardines de Albia for a bird concert. Across the road from the park is Cafe Iruna. Good for coffee, but skip the pintxos (unless you like mayonnaise).
One of the 50 birds singing on Sunday morning in Jardines de Albia.
I just realized I'm the only female in the Jardines de Albia for the bird concert.
Gay Pride in Bilbao!! I ventured out to the old town of Bilbao, Casco Viejo - the best bars and night life in the city.
Maybe it was a Pro-Gay party. FUN! 9:00PM June 28, 2012
It's my opinion that Gatz has the best pintxos in Bilbao. Located at Santa María 10, Bilbao. Very fresh, beautiful design and very clean bar. Write up on another blog: Parla Food.
Above is ox tail and rice stuffed red pepper, lightly battered and fried in olive oil and served on bread. Gatz Bar
Fresh anchovies fried with a red pepper. Pintxos at Gatz in Bilbao
Fried foie toped with a sweet fruit puree - Gatz Bar
As of July 1, 2012, California banned foie gras! In Spain... it's ok. And, it's really good. Gatz Bar
Paper Napkins at Bars - Gatz in Bilbao
It's the culture to through the paper napkins on the bar floor... I got use to this. At first, I was appalled and thought it was a dirty habit but then I turned it into a sport. Inside joke.
Presentation is perfect and goes well with the Vino Tinto
Iberico ham and a mild queso melted inside a light fried batter. This blogger knows ham, check out Food is my Happy Place
Bar SantaMaria on c/ Santa Maria, 18 48005 Bilbao is also a must stop and have one of each. Most of the pintxos have foie, very flavorful and fresh (most important). From left to right: Puff pastry with mushroom filling, seta rellena de foie, and crepe relleno de ciervo con confitura de hongo
Last, but high on the recommendation list: El Globo Bar located on Calle de la Diputación, 8 48008 Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain. I had the rabo de toro a la vizcaina twice. I didn't want to double up on any dish, but the rabo de toro a la vizcaina "made me want to make out with my own mouth" (quote from my cuzie in Sydney).
Verduritas al curry con cous cous at El Globo. Poor photo quality - shooting with my iPhone.
Outside El Globo. Very typical weekday night to have some tapas & wine all while standing up. I believe sitting menu is pricer than the pintxos at the bar.
Queso de cabra con cebolla confitada - El Globo
Queso fundido con pate y pimenton - El Globo
queso de cabra tomate italiano albahaca y anchoa - El Globo
El Globo - Queso de cabra tomate italiano albahaca y anchoa, Queso fundido con pate y pimenton, and Queso de cabra con cebolla confitada. Yes I ate all three.
Finishing this post off with a San Francisco sculptor and video artist known for working with large-scale assemblies of sheet metal, Richard Serra. Serra has a permanent installation at the Guggenheim Bilbao.
The Matter of Time, 2005 (model size) Guggenheim Bilbao
The Matter of Time, 2005 (model size) Guggenheim Bilbao
Life size of the Richard Serra, Matter of Time at the Guggenheim Bilbao.
Personal note: My favorite installation of all time. Walking inside these massive sculptures scared the heck outta me (claustrophobia) like the time I was 6 yrs old at Disneyland in the 'shrinking machine'. I thought I was shrinking and wouldn't stop crying "I don't want to get any smaller!!!" I still love/hate that ride!