March has arrived and in Madrid it feels as if spring has sprung a bit early this year.
With so much sun, last week I was walking around in t-shirts and even felt compelled to buy a pair of bright yellow pants which I wore to the dismay of my co-workers. Seems as if they are a pretty bold fashion statement for the folks in Estremera. Anyways, I’m excited March is here because, along with the change of seasons, comes many visitors from overseas and exciting happenings! Before all that though, me and Gabe decided to head up north to the Basque Country for the weekend to take in the refreshing sea breeze and discover new places.
We arrived Friday afternoon in Bilbao and the green hills and humid air immediately
signaled we were no longer in Madrid. After checking into our hostel located smack dab
in the center of the old town, we took a tram to the top of a hill overlooking the city.
Unfortunately the fog got in the way of the supposedly great view.
The city is known for pintxos, the Basque form of tapas, so for dinner, we did a txikitea, or pintxo crawl, up and down the streets. We tried everything from tortilla made of morcilla to all kinds of fresh seafood on toast. The whole custom is quite crazy. All of the bars set delicious platters on the bar and you are free to take what you want (with each costing 1-3
Euros), order a drink (I fell in love with the city’s white wine called txakoli) and chow down
until you are ready to move onto the next one. I went to bed a full and happy camper.
The next morning we took a stroll to el Mercado de la Ribera, the largest indoor food market in all of Europe. Although it was mainly a place for locals to pick up fresh fish and meats to prepare what I can only imagine are delicious meals, it was cool to see. After that, we made our way to the notorious Guggeheim Museum, the main sight of the city. Not only was the building’s architecture truly inspiring, I really appreciated all the modern
paintings, sculpture and art found inside. One of the coolest parts? The audio guide
was free! (You can argue it came with the ticket price but I’m still giving them props).
Sometimes it’s the little things.
With stomach’s rumbling, we made our way to El Globo for some of my favorite bites
of the trip including a banana wrapped in bacon (proving once again bacon goes with
anything), and tempura fried stuffed artichoke. This city was a food photogs dream.
Bilbao is known to be rainy this time of year but we got lucky and were able to take a
break in the park and later, made our way to a beach that was equally relaxing. We took
it easy that evening with a nice Italian din before crashing.
Sunday morning we grabbed a bus for a one hour trip to the coastal town of San
Sebastian. I have heard great things about it’s beach and, of course, pintxos. We
enjoyed a tasty lunch of just that before soaking in our final views of the beach. We both agreed its a place we’d love to come back to when it is prime beach season.
You could call these next few days the calm before the storm. Some friends from UM
come in this week followed by a trip from my lil’ bro on Sunday. This are gonna get
Here are a few more pics of the trip!