…And we thought the only attraction in Bilbao was the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao! Were we wrong! While the museum was wonderful, and worthy of a lot of our time and photos, the city (particularly the Old Town, Casca Viejo) had much to offer.
The museum was opened in October 1997. Designed by Frank Gehry (who was also the architect for Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA), the Guggenheim is situated along the Nervion River and is one of the most admired works of contemporary architecture. The first four photos show different angles of the rounded, twisting, smooth metal that makes up the skin of the Guggenheim. The critic Calvin Tompkins of the The New Yorker called it “a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium.” Its unveiling prompted buildings of a similar design around the world. After that are photos of its outside art…Maman, a spider in tribute of her mother by Louise Bourgeois (with an egg sac!); a floral dog, Puppy, by Jeff Koons; and, Tulips, also by Jeff Koons. Photography was prohibited for the indoor exhibitions, but the real star here is the architecture, the inside a maze of steel, girders, glass, staircases, and elevators, as seen in the photos following the tulips. We felt privileged to be able to wander around inside.
The rest of the photos are from our walk around Bilbao, most in the Old Town. You will see churches, theaters, buildings we liked, details of buildings, narrow cobblestone streets showing typical Spanish residential architecture with balconies for each unit, an Art Nouveau outdoor stage, green space in the city, and the city draped in clouds from up above early in the morning. We saved a fun video for the end. These three “characters” were performing outside the Guggenheim, attracting a lot of attention, laughter, applause, and donations. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.