Thursday, July 3, 2014

A visit to Bilbao's iconic art museum

We bid farewell to San Sebastián and headed along the coast stopping for lunch at  Lekeitio, a lovely fishing port with narrow cobbled streets. Luckily, we managed to get the last parking spot on the quay. Sitting outside at a restaurant having a lovely chilled glass of the local fruity white wine and eating grilled cod, we watched someone in big SUV come and parallel park behind our car. One of the passengers was guiding the SUV in, when it actually hit our little Fiat. Now this is a favourite trick of some French drivers to nudge their way into spaces by just moving the cars in front or behind them. I was out of my seat like a shot and confronted the idiot guiding the car in. He was very apologetic and claimed not to have seen the cars make contact. Good heavens we heard it and saw it from 30 feet away. Quel idiot! And I told him. In all fairness he did come and apologize to us again in the restaurant but really! Just before we finished our meal, the same men came back. This time a different man navigated the SUV out of the spot. We were safe this time as they hit the car behind instead. I had a laugh as the server started speaking to is in Italian rather than Spanish.

We continued up the coast passing beautiful, white sand beaches with very few people on them and more quaint seaside villages. Finally, we arrived at our destination, Bilbao and the Guggenheim. It was like walking around the Enterprise, very modern, very spaceship and a bit disorienting.

Starting on the top floor we wandered around the strange Yoko Ono exhibit Front and centre was a video of jiggling bottoms, some quite unattractive. The other artwork that sticks in my mind is two condoms half filled with water mounted on a board. I did go closer to check it was water and not some remnants of John. You never know. Many of the pieces dated back to the sixties.

 On the next floor was an exhibition of Georges Braque's work. Braque was a twentieth century artist famous for his collages, his role in developing cubism and landscapes. From there we walked over to a balcony and looked down to the permanent installations. My favourite was "A Matter of Time," seven huge sculptures made of gigantic pieces of steel. They ranged from a double ellipse to the one I liked best, the spiral, which we eventually walked around. It was like being in a very strange maze and gave me a feeling of being a bit lopsided.

We enjoyed the music video made by several people in a house in upstate New York. Each of the nine big screens showed one of the musicians playing his or her instrument in a different room, including one man in a bathtub playing his guitar. It was a fun exhibit. But by now the rain had started so we waited it out for a while in the little cafe enjoying the view of the giant floral cat outside the Guggenheim.

Dinnertime took us to a restaurant near the hotel. They must really eat late in Bilbao, since we were the only people there at 9 o'clock. However, one table of twelve women soon arrived followed by another table of eighteen. This was quite fascinating to us as one young fellow was dressed in a purple satin outfit with a few holes in it, a matching cowboy hat and a feather scarf. It looked like it was a family and friend affair but we couldn't figure out if this was a birthday party or maybe a "coming out" party. I wish we found out before we braved the elements to return to our hotel.

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