The first day of our epic European adventure begins in the beautiful northern city of Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. Best described in all the reviews we read as a mere industrial town with little to offer, it was the cheapest place to fly into from London so we thought, what the heck. We checked into our Hostel (www.moonhostelbio.com), sometime close to 1am, just for the night or rather a few hours sleep actually. We chose this particular hostel though because it was the only one that had a convienient and easy to use 24hour check in, which meant we avoided any difficlt late check in arrangements and fees. There was simply an ATM like machine outside the hostel which you entered your reservation number into (we had already paid a 3€ booking fee through Hostelworld.com to reserve the beds), fill in some details and pay. Your given a swipe card to enter and your room and bed number. We had a 6 bed dorm with a reasonably sized share bathroom and individual lockers. This was probably the one down fall to the late check in though as we were unable to get a key for our lockers so had to resort to just locking our bags up and to the bed, no biggy though.
Pinching ourselves in the morning because we were finally in Europe, we decided to get out and explore what little Bilbao apparently had to offer for the day before catching a bus to San Sebastián. To our surprise, Bilbao is most definitely not just a ‘boring industrial city’. Yes, it has its industrial aspects but they are equally as beautiful as the city itself. From the main attraction of what we called the Spanish version of the Sydney Opera House, The Guggenheim Museum. A stunning and equally architecturally and asthetically beautiful museum showcasing modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. This one is a definite must see in Bilbao, luckily its sheer size makes it near impossible to miss. On one side of the museum is a gigantic statue of a dog, completely covered in live flowers and on the other side the main river (Ria de Bilbao) that runs through the city centre.
Without having to stray too far from the river you will pretty much pass all the major attractions in Bilbao on foot, from the Plaza Nueva/Casco Veijo, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Cathedral De Santiago, City Hall and many more. Although, it is an interesting city and far from ‘boring’, I would only recommend 2 days max here. This would be ample time to see all that Bilbao has to offer. We only gave ourselves 1 day though because we weren’t expecting to really see much. So after a day of jam packed sightseeing we collected our bags from the hostel and trekked to the bus station. We used the GoEuro App (www.goeuro.com) to find the cheapest bus, which was only 6€ online but we thought we would try to be even thriftier and buy our tickets at the station thinking they would be cheaper. That was not the case and we ended up paying double, each! So we are definitely just going to book online from now on with these guys. Stay tuned for my next post about our yellow van adventures in San Sebastian.