Friday, June 26, 2009

Bilbao a Bordeaux

Today´s word of the day is "eskerrik asko" : thank you

Due to the massive nature of this post, I have divided it into sections for your reading pleasure.

I. Journey Bordeaux: Bus and Train through Green Hills and Fields

Well, last week was mainly spent getting ready for my weekend trip to Bordeaux. This time a week ago I was in transit. First I took a bus to Irún, the Spanish border town. As I got down I asked the driver where to catch a taxi to Hendaye, the French border town, and he told me to just climb back up and he would take me. I was ready for at least a little bit of red tape that comes with crossing boarders. At least a terse French soldier to ask for my passport. But no, I don´t even know when exactly I entered my second ever foreign country. There wasn´t even a “Welcome to France!” sign.

I had a little bit of time before my train left so I walked around Hendaye. I saw a war monument there. Not sure which war, probably WWI. It is a pretty lazy little town. I got the 4:00pm train to Bordeaux. The train hugged the coast so I could see the ocean now and again. The country side is very green and there seems to be a bit of logging. All the houses are white washed with red roofs.

II. Weekend in Bordeaux: Churches, Wine, Music, and Fireworks

I met up in Bordeaux with Ben Freed who came down from Paris. We spent most of the weekend dopily smiling at each other due to our extraordinary glee at seeing each other. We´ve both been kind of on our own in Europe, so it was treat to meet up. The first night we went to a corner café and then walked along the quai and through the center of restaurants in the old city.

We did a lot in the time we had there. Mainly because neither of us where able to sleep past 7:00am both days. Saturday we took a guided tour of the city. Good thing we left early to find the tourism office because we got all turned around. Then we went to the Museum of Modern Art which was redeemed by the Keith Haring painting on the wall of the elevator shaft. We walked along rue St. Catherine, the longest shopping street in France, and maybe Europe. That night we had the classiest meal ever, a particular treat since both of us have not eaten out much since being in Europe. The night ended with the dance festival and fireworks along the river. The closest thing I´ll get to the 4th of July.

Sunday we were the first to climb the 231 steps of bell tower of St. André to look out at the 8 churches that stick above Bordeaux’s sky line. Next we went to the Museum of Beaux Artes. After we went walking through the different gardens and plazas on our way to see the Roman ruins of the city. We wound up the trip by the quai listening to French children sing at the festival.

III. This Week: Portugalete, San Sebastian, and Oviedo

Tuesday, I met up with a the cousin of a friend and we walked across this world heritage suspension bridge that connects the town of Potugalete with the other bank. On my way back to Bilbao I got to see all a flood of teenagers streaming out of the subway heading to beach to celebrate midsummer or what is called the Bonfires of St. John. It’s one giant party on the beach that coincides with the end of the school year.

Wednesday, I went with a woman from my work to conference in San Sebastian. Very pretty beach. Can´t wait to go back with the family when they arrive in a week.

Tonight there is something at the Guggenheim and tomorrow I am going to Oviedo. Oviedo is about 3 hours to the West and the capital of the Spanish region of Asturias.

IV. The End: Boy, Emily writes too much.

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