Iberia 08: 3/24

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Portugalete, Spain

Monday, March 24, 2008

my skinny jeans are stretched out and it makes me feel like i've lost weight, but that's a falsehood.

In: a cafe in Getxo, Spain.

On the table in front of me rests a cafe con leche treat. Throught the window is El Transbordador de Vizcaya, the river Nervion, and Portugalete. A few feet away sits an old man in a cranberry colored cordouroy suit, drinking a small glass of beer, and at the table next to him, a man sits smoking a ciggarette and drinking his own cafe con leche, ordered at the bar just before mine. The rain and harsh winds outside makes me want to stay here and order a second cup, but I will move on to another place, one in Portugalete, which is too charming for words, even in the gloom. I'm okay with not having gone to San Sebastian, this bridge is incredible. I'll save San Sebastian and Biarritz for another time, when I come in higher season and can fully enjoy their bounty. Rainy days are not for them. Rainy days are for cafe con leche inside looking out.

Posted by miss kerry at 1:37 PM

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blame it on the rain

I did not make it out to San Sebastian today, I had just missed the bus and the next one wouldn't be for another two hours, so I decided to save the 18 euros and put my Bilbao city guide to work. I took the metro out to Portugalete, to see El Transbordador de Vizcaya, and wandered through Portugalete down to the river, and paid the 0,30 euro to take the gonola over to Getxo and see the bridge in action. Man, what a marvel.

So the "Bridge" was built in 1893, and it has a gondola that hangs at road level from the top part, and ferries cars and people accross connecting Portugalete and Getxo. It's a working port at the mouth of the Nervion off Biscay, so big huge ships have to get through, and it's so incredible. Plus it's beautiful. The sky and weather was not, but the bridge still was. My book said its called the Eiffel Tower of Bilbao, with its weblike iron design. I love that these kind of architechtural stories are all over Spain. (Tomorrow I'm going to the Gugg to see Gehry's ingenuity that revived Bilbao, and also the Zubizuri footbridge, and Sat night I was in Barca, surrounded by Gaudi's wonders.)

I took the bridge across to Getxo, a supposedly awesome seaside town, that was a fishing village, but it was hard to feel that in the rain. I didn't go very far in --everywhere everything was closed today (in all three cities) being Monday, and especially the Monday after Easter, it's still a holiday-- just a few blocks in before giving up and heading back to a cafe on the waterfront. I rested and warmed and dried up with a cafe con leche, and then went back across the river via the transbordador and stopped in another cafe in Portugalete for a slice of tortilla and a glass of Calimotxo. The tortilla may have been the best I've ever had--amazing, and this was my first Calimotxo. --It's good, I could make it at home, it's more like a refresher than a wine or cocktail tho. I liked it enough to get it again in Bilbao later tho, novelty I'm sure. I chatted with the young bartender, a gal from Paraguay, about travelling, the US, (she did an exchange program in Kansas, but had wanted to be in California instead) Europe and South America. She practiced her english, and I my castellano, and we had a good time. She wants to go to Las Vegas, and is not the first person we have talked to who said that. Really, Vegas? Gross, of all the places in the US to visit, don't go to Vegas (and we tell them that).

I metroed back to Bilbao, and to Casco Viejo for the Ascensor de Begona, which was a severe dissppointment, but a pretty walk back down the steps and through Casco Viego (old Bilbao) which is charming and I would think a lovely place to be on a sunny spring or summer afternoon. I stopped for churros con chocolate and calimotxo to get out of the rain and wind again, and then found myself at the Catedral de Santiago, a happy accident as it is amazingly beautiful with flying buttresses and high cathedral arched ceilings, gorgeous windows up top. It was late, getting dark and my umbrella broke this morning, so holding it together in the wind was getting challenging, and I came back to Sheila's. My face burns at now being warm, it's skin beaten all day.

Tomorrow is art in Bilbao, and I plan to spend more time indoors, in the Museo de Belles Artes and the Guggenheim, before I have to pack up and head out. My flight leaves at 8:25pm, and i have little desire to be on it. It takes me to BCN for the night, but I don't know if I will leave the airport. I'm worried about getting back in time, and right now, all I can think about is how cold and tired I will be. I might end up sleeping in the airport. My back and shoulders are so tight and knotted right now I feel like throwing up. Goodnight with sweet love from Bilbao.

steps down to Casco Viejo

Churros con chocolate, y un Calimotxo.

Posted by miss kerry at 10:42 PM