Yesterday we went on a trip that SAS had organized were we visited San Sebastian and Hondarribia. We luckily had the same guide that we had the night before on our Field Lab, Maria. Hondarribia, which is literally swimming distance from the French boarder is a gorgeous medieval town with a beautiful fishing village. We explored there for a while and then had lunch and a beautiful restaurant where they served us delicious red wine, a pasta dish that was like a paella with shrimp and clams and duck for the main course. I have only had duck once before but this preparation was very tasty.
After lunch we headed to San Sebastian, another medieval town built around a crescent-shaped bay. It was made popular in 1886 by Queen Regent Maria Cristina and has been popular ever since. There was a beautiful beach and a very interesting old town to explore. After we finished there we went to a beautiful scenic view where we could see the crescent bay on one side and the ocean on the other side. WOW! It just started to cloud over as we left so we got back on the bus and it rained all the way home. It was so cold when we got back to the ship terminal! We Facetimed with Mom and Dad and then headed in. When it stopped raining we went out for some dinner. Our biggest mistake was that we were both hungry already. We couldn't read any of the menu's and so then of course nothing sounded good and we were getting back to the corner of grouchy and tired. NOT GOOD! We settled on a place and went in. We ordered at the counter and tried to speak Spanish. Of course the girl at the counter didn't speak English very well either so we were quite a pair. She asked where we were from and when we said CA she acted like we were movie stars and told her friend that we were from CA. So funny! We asked another waiter who spoke a little more English what he recommended and he ordered a few things for us. When our food came we had three HUGE plates of food. It was ridiculous. One was calamari..good, one was barbequed ham…good, and one was a black sausage….hmmmm!!! Turns out after we looked it up when we got home that it was blood sausage. Oh vomit! But we ate it. Adventures right?
Today we headed to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Museum on our own. We figured out the metro system which was not difficult at all and got there in about ½ an hour. The Guggenheim is a breathtaking building. Frank Gehry designed the building and it opened in 1997. The building is based on a drawing he sketched and is made of limestone and titanium and is inspired by a silvery fish. Inside are amazing exhibits that I could explain for hours but instead you will just have to come see them.
One of the best exhibits is actually outside (Cathy McNeela, you will love this). Guarding the main entrance is artists Jeff Koons' 42 foot tall West Highland Terrier. It is covered by 60,000 plants and flowers that grow through a wire mesh. It was originally suppose to be a temporary exhibit but the people of Bilbao liked it so much that they bought it. We have never seen anything like it so big and beautiful and blooming.
After the Guggenheim we walked to Casco Viejo (old town) just to enjoy the sights and then eventually got the metro back to Las Arenas where we visited the Vizcaya Bridge. The Vizcaya Bridge is the oldest transport bridge in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage sight. It officially opened in 1893. It is hard to describe but there is a gondola that hangs from a very high bridge above the water. The gondola can hold both people and cars and transports them across the river. Have a look at the pictures, it is a really amazing sight. After seeing the bridge we walked for about 40 minutes to get back to the ship and now we are once again DEAD TIRED! Tomorrow we are leaving the ship around 6am to catch a bus to Rioja (Spanish wine country). We have to be on the ship tomorrow by 10pm.