So I’ve been here for less than 2 weeks, but I’m already really enjoying being in Basque Country! It seems like I’ve been here longer than I have, but I’m getting into the swing of things. I feel like I’ve done so much in the 11 days I’ve been here. I’ve been to the coast of Spain, Vitoria, gone out in different neighborhoods in Bilbao, spent time in countless cafes, and even made a few friends (woo!). Since I’m clearly such an expert now (11 days living some where makes you an expert, right?), here’s my top 5 things about Bilbao so far (and they all start with P because I thought that would be cool**):
1. People: Before I came here, I read that people in northern Spain weren’t as friendly as the ones in other parts of Spain. From my experience, everyone has been SO helpful and friendly in Bilbao and around Basque Country. My spanish isn’t very great, and there have been a few times in the city where I’ve been trying to do something on my own (like opening a bank account, finding a store to unlock my phone) and even though I was speaking in Spanglish, people were more than happy to help me. A guy at a store even drew me out a map of Bilbao and told me where all the stores that unlocked phones were and how to get there. I was a little nervous that northern Spain would be similar to Italy for me, but it has been the complete opposite.
3. Plazas: I love the plazas throughout the city. During the day, people take their morning breaks in the plazas and walk through them to get to work. During the night, they are filled with people of all ages drinking and enjoying themselves. The other night, we went out in Casco Viejo to Plaza Nuevo. Plaza Nuevo is a big square plaza, surrounded by bars. There were people in their twenties like me, but also older people, babies and even dogs at the bars. It was so fun to bar hop in the plaza, and be able to take your copa de vino with you (no open container law in Spain!).
4. Public Transportation: There are multiple ways to get wherever, whenever in the city. There’s a tram, tons of bus routes, a (really, really clean) metro and a train. Also, Bilbao isn’t that big so you can walk pretty much anywhere within 15-30 minutes. But if you don’t want to walk or want to go to another town, it’s so easy to hop on the metro or take a bus. Everything is also really well labeled.
5. Places: There are so many cool places around Bilbao and within Bilbao itself. Bilbao has different parts of town, like Casco Viejo, Duesto, Indauxtu, that all have different things to offer. You can take the metro from the city and be on the coast within 30 minutes for less than 2 euros. Or you can stay in Bilbao and sight see at the Guggenheim, visit a plaza, walk along the river, shop, take the funicular for a city view, go to a cafe etc. It’s a really cultural city to be in and a really unique part of Spain! I can’t wait to keep exploring!
After my adventure in Spain is over, I’ll make another top 5 (or 10 list) and see if things have changed! Adios!
[**Side note: If wine began with a p, that would have been on the list too. Pwine isn’t a word though. :( ]