Thursday, May 16th: We started early today, bringing our bags down by 6:50am. After a quick breakfast, we were off for Bilbao. We made one rest stop on the way, but getting to the airport was the top priority.
At the airport, Don, Susan, and I said goodbye to the group and guides. The three of us had scheduled our departure for tomorrow. By conincidence, we had booked the same hotel, so we shared a ride there. We had lunch, then headed to the Guggenheim.
The building itself is a work of art. In my mind, it overshadows the art inside it. The only thing that could even pretend to compete was a large-scale work by Richard Serra. You could walk though it, an experience that included odd acoustic effects and disorienting turns. Although not a maze, it is nonetheless maze-like. The second most interesting exhibit was of French art from the World War II period (including a bit before the war started in Europe). It gave a sense of how Europe was destroying itself before the war, and its horrors. The commentary however, seemed mired in the past, as well as being rather pretentious. At times it detracted from the works themselves. I found many of the other exhibits rather uninteresting, regardless of the audio commentary. The building continued to fascinate as I visited the various floors and took advantage of all viewpoints.
|Guggenheim Museum Atrium||Matter of Time Model|
Later in the afternoon I went for a walk around town, or at least the part I was staying in. It was a pleasant walk, and this portion of Bilbao is attractive, but not particularly old. It gives the impression that the citizens of Bilbao consider the city itself a work of art.
Hotel Meliá Bilbao, Bilbao
Friday, May 17th: This morning, I got up late (7:30). A bit later, I walked around the Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturriza, which is adjacent to the hotel. Only a few species were present, but one was new for the trip, Song Thrush. That brings the total to 203 species (68 lifers).
|Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturriza|
I then repacked. By 10:30, it was time to go to the airport. During the few minutes I was waiting for the taxi to arrive, a Wryneck landed on a small, nearby tree.
Bilbao airport is small, and there were no planes at any gate for a while before the plane that would carry me to Madrid landed. The flight to Madrid landed a little ahead of schedule. We pushed away from the gate on time at Madrid, but it took while before we could take off. I was alone in the very last row of the plane, so it was a reasonably comfortable flight to Miami. We landed about 25 minutes late. Immigration was horribly slow, even for Miami, while customs was quick. I finally got home about an hour later than expected, but otherwise it was a pleasant journey (for a trans-Atlantic flight).