Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Place, New Party

Happy Sunday everyone! I just got home from Bilbao and super tired! This weekend, my friends Emma (from Madrid) and Heather (from New York) and I decided that we are always going to the same restaurants and bars in San Sebastian and that we needed a change. Soooo, since Bilbao is only an hour away we headed there to pump some excitement into our lives. We left Saturday morning and headed to our hotel in the middle of the city.

I had been to Bilbao before, but never stayed the night. Being one of the bigger cities in Spain and the biggest in Basque Country, it was nice to be in a city atmosphere again. It's no NYC or Paris but it is more alive that little San Sebastian! We first started at the Guggenheim, because Heather had never been. I wasn't so tickled when I found out that the exhibit was the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit I had seen at the Guggenheim in NYC over the summer. It was a good shelter from the spitting rain though.

For lunch we gorged on meatballs, steak, fries and some Basque cider. When the waitress brought our lunch to the bar, it was in this crazy wooden contraption that holds the plate, has space for a plate of bread up top and has slits to put the knife and fork. Quite ingenious! Delicious and filling, we spent most of the afternoon wandering around the Old Part poking in and out of clothing stores and taking advantage of the sales (rebajas in spanish). At one store, I bought a pair of really cute sunglasses for 1.99€, although it wasn't even close to sunny ha.

After shopping and buying our new going-out outfits for the night, we headed back to our hotel to get ready. I don't wear heels very often in San Sebastian because it is quite a casual city, but decided to bust them out for the girls weekend. Dressed to the nines, we met up with a friend of a friend, named Amaia (pronounced Uh-my-uh) that lives in Bilbao. A really sweet girl, she helped us navigate the new maze of bars in the city. Amaia told me that my Spanish accent was quite good and that when she first met me she assumed I was Basque! Quite a compliment! Then she heard my grammar....hahahah. It's getting better! Dancing until 4am, I was ecstatic to get out of my heels when we finally got back to the hotel! It was quite funny because every bar or dance club we went to reminded us of a bar in San Sebastian...I guess this place kind of grows on you!

This morning we met up with Amaia in her part of town - the beach area. Bilbao's beach is about 15 minutes away from the center of the city, and doesn't mimick the Belle Epoque beauty that San Sebastian's Concha has, but Getxo (the name of the beach, pronounced get-cho) was quite impressive. Originally a rural area, this beach is now for the affluent Bilbao residents. The hillside was filled with massive homes, winding walkways that afford gorgeous views of the Basque coast and spotted with stone staircases that connect the low-lying beach to the busy bars up the hill. The only vice is that because Bilbao became an industrial hub for Basque Country in the 19th century, the beach faces a huge port littered with cranes and ships. Sitting at a bar with the sea in view was a great way to start out a Sunday. The little houses, all white and painted with the Basque green and red accents looked more like dollhouses and I couldn't get over the fact that people hung their underwear on the clothesline right on the street. A very posh and tight-nit neighborhood, you could tell we were not from the area, but it was fun regardless.
Emma wanted to leave town before dark, so we got home pretty early, and I have just been resting up in order to stay awake until at least 3am. As a good American, I am going to watch the Super Bowl! However, it doesn't start here until midnight, so I see a long night in the future! Since I don't really care who wins, I have decided to cheer for the Colts. Hope you are all enjoying your Super Bowl Sunday! Think of me...I will be at a bar, probably with a lot of Americans, watching the same game!


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