December 26, 2010 Bilbao, Spain

Today we leave San Sebastian and head for Bilbao. Bilbao is the home of the Guggenheim museum architected by Frank Geary. Reaching Bilbao around lunchtime, we are excited to see the incredible architectural masterpiece. Here’s the view from our hotel window.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

We walk over and stop at the museum cafe for lunch. It’s a really good lunch.

Dog topiary
Giant dog topiary outside Guggenheim Museum

Leek soup with crushed potato
At the cafe, John and I had the leek soup with crushed potato.

Lightly baked egg, red onion soup and bread
Sarah had a red onion soup that had a baked egg in it and some bread. These were, of course, merely the starters. This was a fixed menu for 18 euros that included a bottle of wine, a wonderful amuse bouche of a tiny sip of potato soup, a starter, main and dessert. At a museum cafe. How do these people eat like this?

I had a block of turkey with cabbage and bacon underneath for my main. John had pork cheeks with celeriac and Sarah had a tomato stuffed with various seafoods on squid ink risotto. My dessert was the best – light chocolate sponge cake with coffee mousse and honey ice cream. (I am trying to cut down on the pictures for now since the internet is slow.)

Then it’s on to the exhibits. The Guggenheim is currently hosting a look at Dutch genre painting from the 17th century. This is stuff we love! They have on display one of Vermeer’s painting, the geographer. We ooh and ash over the painting and the rest of the exhibit.

vermeer "The Geographer"
The Geographer

Then we move on to the modern section. I definitely need the audio tour to understand these works. One is mostly red and another mostly black. Lastly we look at the Serra wing. This is devoted to the sculptures of Richard Serra who does large scale metal sculptures. They are supposed to be about time. They are giant elipses inside of other elipses or wavy pieces of metal. You can walk into them. It is interesting. We leave the museum and walk around outside taking pictures of various sculptures.

Guggenheim tulips

Guggenheim spider

We have dinner at the hotel dining room that is supposed to be good called Beltz the Black. It is good and we have another successful gastronomic experience.

Scallop "sandwich" with herb salad
After a couple of tasty amuse bouche Sarah and I have a scallop “sandwich” with herb salad.

Octopus with rice, marrow and clams
John opts for the octopus with rice, marrow and clams.

Pigeon with livers, mushrooms and mezze rigatoni
I think I have the best main course of the evening, roasted pigeon with livers, mushrooms and mezze rigatoni. It was really good.

Sirloin with bacon and sauces
Sarah has sirloin with what must be a half pound of bacon and a couple of sauces.

Hake with clams
And John has hake with clams. We decline dessert but they bring us a little dessert anyway which included egg nog, raspberry puree, a little cake and a chocolate. Good thing we didn’t order dessert.

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