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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bilbao and San Sebastian

Flower Dog at the Guggenheim
by Luke Suder

Greetings! Last weekend all of GSE Barcelona flew to Bilbao, which is in the north of Spain in a region called the Basque country. In this region, like every other region of Spain, there is a culture different from any other in Spain, and I am excited to say that I got to be a part of it for three days. I will start from the beginning and chronologically give you all an idea of what we did last weekend!

We flew in to Bilbao early Friday morning, and once we landed, we were taken to our hotel and allowed a couple hours to nap before exploring the world famous Guggenheim Museum, and after going on a walking tour followed by pintxos (pronounced peent-chos) tasting tour at three different bars. The Guggenheim is a great museum that is a wonder in architecture. Inside the museum there is artwork from various world famous artists, including Jeff Koons. Outside of the museum there were fountains and playgrounds in which my roommates and I played for an hour or two. After the museum, we embarked on the walking tour, and were orientated with the city (which was nice so we knew how to get around for the rest of the weekend).
Playing Outside the Guggenheim
The walking worked up our appetites for pintxo tasting, and the selection was interesting to say the least. They are basically the same as tapas, which are small finger-food type items usually served on a piece of sliced and toasted baguette. I liked some and wasn’t a fan of others (the ones with foie gras aka liver), but that is all part of the experience, and I tried them all because I wanted to have a good grasp of the culture of the Basque country. That night we went to bed early because the following morning we had to get up to take a bus to San Sebastian.

Overlooking San Sebastian
Saturday was probably my favorite day of the weekend, as we spent it in beautiful San Sebastian. After we took a bus to the town, we went on a small tour of the city that was informative and only took up a small part of the morning, which was good because I wanted to sit on the beach for the rest of the day! It makes sense that the Spanish kings used to go here for vacations, because it was the most beautiful city I have seen in Europe so far, and would love to go back again. It was around 75 degrees and the beach beckoned, so we spent hours laying there enjoying the scenery and relaxing.

Tip of San Sebastian
That night we headed to a cider house which is a traditional Basque place to enjoy a meal with a group of people. They had cider taps coming from the walls and they placed a bucket on the ground to catch excess cider and one had to catch the falling cider in a glass. It was fun! I have never seen a restaurant like it in the United States, so it was a very unique experience. My roommate and I shared a HUGE piece of steak and got to try more pintxos, which were all awesome!

The next day we headed to the beach in Bilbao via metro, which was not as beautiful as the one in San Sebastian, but I had zero complaints: a beach is a beach to me! We spent our last day relaxing, and headed home later that afternoon.
San Sebastian
I had a fantastic time in San Sebastian and Bilbao and would absolutely recommend a trip to these places if you find yourself with a free weekend while studying in Spain!

Take care,
Luke Suder


GSE Spring 2012 - Barcelona, Spain
Autonomous University of Barcelona