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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Day Trip- Bilbao, Spain

I'm one of those travelers that can't linger in a place for more than 3 days-tops. I don't know why. Perhaps, I get bored too easily. I can only see so many monuments and visit museums until I start craving for more excitement and of course, food. So, I was pretty content with just taking a day trip to Bilbao from San Sebastian. 

Left San Sebastian on the PESA bus around 1130 and arrived at the Termibus at 1245. One way cost 11€ (roughly about $12.50). First thing we did was get a map of the city and this you can get at the information booth. 

This city is industriously and modernly beautiful with hints of old world charm...and they somehow coexist.

The first beautiful architectural building we saw was the Estadio San Mamès (new football stadium)which holds about 58,000 people. Then walked to Parque doña Casilda via Don Diego Lopez de Haroko Kale Naguisa (main ave in the city and great shopping area). Every corner you turn, it wasn't short of a spectacular architecture waiting to be photographed.

Let me walk you through Bilbao.
Parque doña Casilda

Iberdrola Tower

Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao to the right

zalbeko subia in the distance

plant artwork in front of the Guggenheim

Frank Gehry museum

Outfit: Holister Co. boyfriend jeans, Sundry 
white button shirt, Toms shoes, Prada sunglasses,
LV Neverful Rayure handbag.

Zubi Zuri (White Bridge)

street view from Diego Lopez Haroko Kale Naguisa

First off, the decision to come to Bilbao was of course without a doubt to see Frank Gehry-Guggenheim Museum which is the primarily reason for the revitalization of this amazing place. But there is clearly a lot more to see and do. Bilbao too, is becoming the hub for foodies-many Michelin restaurants and pintxos eateries to choose from. Basque country in general, is well known for gastronomic food and destination for foodies with discerning palate. Had intentions on eating at Casilda Restaurant before going to Zortziko but forgot that meals take more than 2 hours so by the time we had to head back to San Sebastian to catch the sunset it was already too late. Can't say I was disappointed eating at a Michelin restaurant. 
amuse bouche: sardine on microgreens 
It was so palate cleansing and made me eager for the next dishes

my lunch date. here both enjoying some Spanish wines

homemade croquetas de langostinos, cuttlefish, & queso

this was my favorite-cuttlefish with it's own ink.

arroz meloso de carabinero (red shrimp rice)
herbs olive oil

Galacian ox fillet

taco de buey de Galicia, asado y fileteado

peach bomb-yeah, it was so bomb!

So, for people that know me well I have this kinda obsession with cupcakes. I eat cupcakes from around the world. Seriously, no joke. I know it is crazy. I found one in Bilbao and somehow my cupcake sense led me to Mami Lou Cupcakes. I had the raspberry, chocolate, white chocolate, and salted caramel. Verdict: it was good but I definitely had better. However, I think it's worth going since it's a super adorable shop. Let Them Eat Cupcakes in Honolulu is still by far my favorite.

Total cost for this day trip for 2 people: 44 (bus RT) + 105 (lunch) + 12 (cupcakes) + 10 (cab fare)=171€. However, you can definitely do this under 100€ for sure. Skip the Michelin restaurant and hit up the pintxo restaurants instead.

Useful Information/ Tips
-Bring comfortable shoes. Very pedestrian-friendly city.

-Get a physical may from the bus station with attractions and shops highlighted plus there's no shame in using one.

-Go early in the morning, so you can spend more time in Bilbao and perhaps, even do breakfast while you're here.

-Taxi is cheaper here than San Sebastian since the base fare is lower.
-Meals are generally long and at later times. Lunch is usually taken after 1400.
-Be flexible with your time.

-Schedule times from San Sebastian to Bilbao is every 30 minutes. I recommend just purchasing tickets at the terminal that way you can decide when to go/leave.
-If you decide to stay overnight, there are a lot of 5 star hotels for under $200 and someone recommended the Hotel Miro.

-Do learn a few Spanish/Basque phrases. 
-I want to end this blog with this excerpt from  

"A meal is a journey. A meal should be a journey. There are trips to unknown places and landscapes, but we can also travel to familiar lands. There are new destinations and there are some where we arrived long time ago and we keep in our memory.
Eating is travelling. To travel is to learn about new flavors or to recognize forgotten ones. A dish must offer a sense of time and most of all, a sense of the season. A good meal cannot be random. The flavors and the textures can be very different, but they should be related. From the tablecloth to the menu, a meal must be a reflection of the land and of the time where it comes from. The trip must make sense.

There are trips that never end even when we have reached our destination."
Stay tuned for St. Emilion, Bordeaux, San Sebastian/Donostia blogs. 


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