Camino del Norte 2018 – Day 6

Camino del Norte

Day 6

Sept 8

Bilbao, Spain

Hola All,
Today we arrived in the city of Bilbao. This is a large city of over 1 million, it stretches along the river and tomorrow we will walk along the river bank to the sea about 12km from where we are presently. 
We had a quiet night at our last albergue near Eskerika. We slept a bit late, had a fast coffee/tea and were underway at 7:20. A good time to start walking as it is light enough that headlamps aren’t needed. The morning sky was completely clear…blue and cloudless.

The valleys are filled with fog which we looked at from above. Soon we were walking in fog with only occasional glimpses of blue above. Another day of hills… steep uphills followed by equally steep downhills. We decided that it is easier to walk uphill than down…sounds strange but with our heavy packs it feels hard on our knees. 
By late morning the fog was gone and we were happy to walk through forest to enjoy the shade. We entered Bilbao from the east and soon had to pay close attention to find the yellow arrows and scallop shell signs that show ‘the Way’. We walked past the cathedral and were in a busy downtown pedestrian area on this glorious Saturday. We asked a passerby for directions to the Guggenheim Museum and although he spoke zero English he walked with us to the river and pointed the direction. We found the Museum, paid the 6€ senior fee and checked our backpacks in their locker area. The poor attendants brought out a wheeled cart for our two packs as they barely fit through the X-ray scanner and are heavier than what they normally deal with. 
We wandered through the 3 floors of exhibits and decided (I did anyway) that the building structure was much more impressive than the art exhibits displayed inside. 
The building is spectacular…all the exterior is clad in either marble or with titanium panels. Every surface is curved as it soars skyward. Glass and steel, fountains and outside art displays, inside the galleries are huge with high ceilings and no walls that are not curved in more than one dimension. There were a few pieces that were memorable but most of the contemporary art displayed reminded me of the drop sheets you might discard after painting your ceiling with a range of bold colours. 
It was interesting and fun in any case. 
We decided to backtrack into Centro to find the municipal Albergue. Donna with her trusty phone app/ map got us right to the door although we managed to walk right past and found it some anxious minutes later. 
We were told that all the beds were full already (this was before 5:00 pm!)…but… they had extra mats that were laid on the floor in the kitchen area. This is not as bad as it may sound…we have a large room to ourselves with no one to bother us in the night with coughing or snoring! we are first in for the 6:15 opening of the kitchen. 
We had our shower, made some calls and emails and went out into town to shop for dinner. Beautiful old buildings and bars filled with people spilling into the streets and sidewalks on this Saturday night. We bought some salad stuff, olives, fruit, bread and I bought 6 eggs. We added yogurt for breakfast, some chocolate, nuts and raisins and we are good to go tomorrow. Donna made a nice salad, I boiled the eggs and we ate in the kitchen with a few other late eaters. 

Tomorrow we plan to leave early and will walk along the river bank 12 km to Portalese and from there along the ocean to our next stop maybe 30 km along. 

Good night… now 10:00 pm and the lights will be out soon. 


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