In Bilbao - I'll get on back home one of these days - CycleBlaze

October 14, 2023

In Bilbao

a rainy day and the Guggenheim Museum

Today marks three weeks since we started our epic tour of the Basque regions of France and Spain. Time has flown by and we now only have a couple of weeks left.

Our stay in Bilbao was always planned but it has worked out very well that it coincides with a couple of rainy days. Although it was not raining in the morning it was pretty wet in the afternoon. What is better than going to a museum  on a cloudy, rainy day? And when you are in Bilbao, that museum has to be the Guggenheim  Museum. 

We bought tickets on line for what we thought was a very reasonable 13 euros for the two of us. Age discounted, of course! The  museum opened at 10:00 and we had a scheduled time of 10:30 but I do not think that may have mattered as there were few people there when we arrived. The building still looks futuristic with its titanium steel cladding 26 years after it was first opened. It has a bit of a Canadian connection as it was designed by Canadian born Frank Gehry - although later in life he lived in the States.

Our coffee stop. Scott`s espresso on the left and Pat`s cappuccino on the right. Even with the addition of milk and chocolate for Pat`s coffee, it is only about 20 cents more.
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Walking along the river front toward the Guggenheim museum, you can get a glimpse of its irregular metallic shape in the distance.
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Sculpture of women pulling a barge up stream. From the web, ¨According to oral tradition, theirs was a race of hard-working, courageous women who were forced to accept this work because their husbands fought as soldiers in the Carlist wars and men were scarce in Bilbao. They found no other alternative to support their families. They belonged to the lower classes of society, they had no choice. Instead of being respected for their work, in addition to being exploited, they became vilified and stigmatized.¨
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Keith AdamsBeautiful carvings!
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9 months ago
Stairs up to the bridge look like a great fitness opportunity for those that like stair climbs.
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Pat and the giant spider. There is also one in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa
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A look at the back of the museum.
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Amazing architecture.
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Tall Tree and the Eye sculpture in an eerie fog.
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Keith AdamsIs the fog artificial and designed into the piece, or just a lucky happenstance?
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9 months ago
Pat at the museum`s front door. Not raining yet and the area is not at all busy.
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The iconic Puppy sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons. Interesting fact: Two years ago, work began on the remodeling of the irrigation system. Due to the museum's lack of funds the Guggenheim organized crowdfunding to cover the one hundred thousand euros necessary for the updates. The flowers are now changed every six months.
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Scott AndersonInteresting. We were here six years ago and Puppy looked pretty dehydrated then. We were surprised at how colorful he was again last month.
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9 months ago

We found the contemporary art inside the Guggenheim  to be interesting but a bit lost on us. We ruefully admit that we have zero art background and many of the Picasso pieces had has laughing as to what they maybe valued at today. We think that most people would walk right by a number of these pieces on the street and never think twice. Glad that we went, but once will do it. As the weather deteriorated and the day reached noon, the museum got very busy and we took that as our cue to head back to our room and regroup.

Richard Serra`s Time is several huge free standing curved metal structures. It is massive and takes up a very large room. In his own words, ¨It is a non narrative, discontinuous, fragmented, de-centred, disorienting¨ Amen.
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Keith AdamsI'm an absolute Philistine when it comes to modern so-called "art". I just don't get it and it, and the accompanying namby-pamby artspeak mumbo-jumbo, nearly always irritates me.
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9 months ago
Sculpture by Picasso.
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Head of a woman. Picasso 1929. Yes, those are colanders.
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Keith AdamsPicasso was adept at incorporating common, everyday objects into his pieces.
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9 months ago
Head of a warrior. Picasso 1933.
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More Picasso. He made these from scraps in the workshop.
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Feet by Picasso.
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Yayoi Kusama`s Infinity Mirrored Room 2020 is a disco ball on steroids. Four people go into a mirrored room at one time with a multiple coloured light display. There is a timer and when it rings after about two minutes the door opens and it is time leave. It really is quite wild.
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Keith AdamsEntertaining maybe, but where's the art in it?
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9 months ago
Painted metal. I quite liked this one.
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Bill ShaneyfeltPut strings on it to make a fender guitar?
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9 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Bill ShaneyfeltOwwwwwwwwwwww. :)
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9 months ago
Jeff Koons Tulips 1955.
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In the Guggenheim, Bilbao.
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Keith AdamsTurn a couple four year olds loose with some crayons and paint and this is what you might get.
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9 months ago

Our afternoon  walk was to  the Mercado de la Ribera which is noted to be the largest indoor market in Europe. Checking the weather forecast, Pat decided to add the Arteryx shell and Scott decided to go out in a polo shirt and shorts. Just outside the hotel it was showering and by the time we reached the market we were happy to have shelter. It was warm and Scott dried quickly inside. It was now near closing time at 2pm and the meat, seafood, cheese and vegetable vendors on the top floor were putting everything away. A number of the fish stalls  were continuing to sell their products. The first floor of the market was full of tapas bars and they were doing a booming business on this rainy Saturday afternoon.

Bilbao City Hall.
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So many great buildings!
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Teatro Arriaga. Pat is in the foreground in the blue jacket.
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Entering the old part of the city and the rain has begun. Should have worn a jacket.
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Original water supply in the old section of Bilbao.
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Not sure what the price is really but a great looking tuna.
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Ready for tonight`s dinner.
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Or maybe some anchovies.
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Pat in the thick of things checking out the pintxos offerings. We had about eight and a couple of beer for lunch. So many types of the little, bite sized delicacies!
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Hard core tourers! Yes, that is a beer! We could save so much time if we could ride ride with one hand.
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Scott AndersonGreat capture!
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9 months ago
It really was raining today. We were so glad to be dry in our room.
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We dodged the late afternoon rain in and out of covered areas on our short walk back to the hotel. In the evening we took the Funicular de Artxanda to the  top of Mount Artxanda. It was a bit disappointing as the views would have been fantastic but it was dark and wet with no real signs of life. We took the next tram down and enjoyed a light, late snack and a beer. A total of 20K steps were racked up before retiring for the day.

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Bill ShaneyfeltMy dad was an art teacher. He had many expensive books of artworks of the masters. He did not seem to have a high opinion of Picasso, nor did I. Funny thing though, my youngest daughter is working on her PHD in some kind of art history. She graduated from John Cabot U. in Rome, and later worked for several years as a tour guide at the NYC Gugenheim museum. I was not highly impressed when we visited. I guess you just gotta have the right taste to enjoy the currently so-called art.
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9 months ago
Keith AdamsWill you be connecting with the Branhams? They're in Bilbao as well- in fact I was momentarily confused because I read their daily entry (complete with a tour of the Guggenheim) just before rearing yours, and was thinking "They just covered this!" until I realized I was reading a different author.
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9 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI had the same reaction to the Guggenheim—loved the architecture but couldn’t appreciate the “art”.
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9 months ago