Friday, May 11, 2007


Hello from warm, sunny Spain. Everyone has arrived and settled in nicely; all seem well and happy. No walking yet, we have another day of touristing (and de-jetlagging for my parents) before the fun begins.

I'd not been to Bilbao before, it's a very nice city. (It is a city, with a definite urban flavour, although its population is only 60-some thousand as one would expect of an ancient and honourable city of 360 thousand population (sorry); it even has a proper subway system.) The river helps, of course, bringing interest and activity and the smell of the sea. Bilbao is very densely built along the tight river-valley between mountains, like Stuttgart every view down every street ends in a treed hillside. It's a very three-dimensional city, also like Stuttgart, one is always aware of walking up- or downhill.

None of us is the least interested in seeing the Guggenheim, we will walk around the old town and take the elevator to the hilltop park instead.

The weather is, shall we say, unusual: no rain, but plenty of low-lying clouds to obscure the sun. The temperature is low, only 20° or so, but it's very humid so it feels warm without actually being warm. I shall have to be careful not to catch a cold.

The Spanish are a race of short-arses, pardon my French. Chair bottoms are a good inch lower than one expects, we have all fallen into a chair at one time or another. They (the Spanish) are also determined monolingualists: the Spanish speak Spanish, thank you very much, even the youngish service-industry types whose counterparts in Germany or Holland would speak at least four languages well struggle with bits of English or French.

That's all for now, I have to change hotels today and must repack and check out. (Let me just recommend my current hotel, by the way: the two-star Hotel Bilbao Jardines, in the pedestrianized old town: cheap, clean, very friendly and helpful, free Internet. But be warned that there are two hotels named "Jardines" in Bilbao, the other—allegedly four-star—is a mass-tourism pile of beds that smells of cleaning fluids and professional disinterest. My taxi driver took me there first.)

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Anonymous may said...

Hello Udge, it was nice to read your description of Bilbao. Have a nice Friday night in Spain!

May 11, 2007 at 8:18:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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