Bilbao may strike you with her beauty if you're opt for being struck:-) She welcomes you with a weird platinum-coated spider/bird/ship-like building you eventually find out to be the world renowned Guggenheim. For a homesick Armenian like me, it's going back home:-) Mountains all over that offer you safety and aspiration to the unknown heights and loud and hearty people that wrap you in this sheer coat of warmth you come to appreciate even more after its restrained manifestations in a ever-rushing metropolis.
We missed our bus stop from the airport to the town and ended up in the middle of nowhere which we later came to know to be no more no less than the heart of the town. So, we started roaming about the streets in search of this evasive Abba Parque Hotel. The Americans were leading the way, since they always prove to be the most proficient map readers:-) Somehow, though, we lost our way and stumbled onto a street with no direction to follow. Rain and drizzles are integral to the Bilbao weather, and having been stupid enough to forget my umbrella in London, I was getting uncomfortably wet, just enough for me to venture into a supposedly fruitless inquiry on directions with a cab driver (we have been warned that most people don't speak English in Bilbao). My simple question on 'Could you please tell me how to get to Abba Parque?' evoked an elaborate explanation in Spanish which left me smiling stupidly at the man's face. Guess it was my stupidity that filled this man's heart with sympathy and he cut his speech short, brought forward the fingers of his right hand and said, 'OK. Unos, dos, tres, hecho'. Exactly, walk three blocks from here and turn right. How could I have not understood his Spanish before:-)???
People are great in Bilbao! The same story any time we asked for directions. But I need to find someone who's Basque and speaks English, because I need to discover this country and I can't do it on my own even if I'm smart enough to learn survival Spanish by September.
Casco Viejo...You remember every single story you've read about toreadors, lovely dames in black veils, jealous dons, enamoured youth singing serenades and plump duennas pretending to ignore them for the sake of the lovely dames... You are the ghost in this medieval town, not them...
Well, had to do this one in English, since left my laptop at home. The rest of the account will probably follow in Armenian, have to run.