Painted white, and with its curved walkway made of translucent glass bricks, and the suspension cables angling down and across, it gives you a feeling of walking through an elegant spider web, just beautiful!
We arrived in good time for the opening ceremonies with, on my left, another jury member, Andrea Gutiérrez Bermejo (a Madrid journalist with the magazine "Cinemania"), and the Mayor of Bilbao in attendance. The warm, welcoming, generous organisers of the festival had very conveniently sent Matthew all but one of the films in competition ahead of time, which Matthew dutifully watched here in Paris. As a result, we had all kinds of free time in which to explore and fall in love with this part of Northern Spain!
I especially liked the way the apartment buildings had both open balconies and glassed-in "sun porches" so you could enjoy the sun through the glass during cold weather.
The beautiful church of St. Nicolás, set adjacent to the city's old and much used "public parade", on the edge of the Old Town, was built in the mid 1700s. Its fairly austere exterior belies its amazing rococo interior!
Its unusual design is a Greek cross set in a square, crowned with a dome and with several angles for small chapels.
I would imagine, though, that these gentlemen with their distinctive Basque berets would be there, front and centre, when the music began!
...especially when accompanied by the current Bilbao drink craze: gin and tonic! At Victor Montés, they add lemon slices, rind of lime, and several juniper berries, which gave it a wonderful flavor -- I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!
As you wander around Bilbao, food is never far from the mind, or the eye. There must be close to 50 hams hanging in this shop, and no shortage of customers.
With the arrival of the Guggenheim Museum, the Bilbao skyline has changed dramatically, with plenty of new skyscapers...
...some of which cleverly incorporate elements of the earlier building that once stood in its place.
From the glittering Anish Kapoor sculpture on an outside terrace...
...to the soaring atrium with its curved sandstone walls...
...the view onto itself, through the carefully calibrated windows...
..to the various outside aspects, this one including the top arch of an already existing bridge over the Nervion River...somehow, every time you turned around, you saw Gehry's vision with a different set of lenses. Magical.
We gathered at City Hall at 12 noon...
(Muchas gracias to Matthew for many of these photos, and for the title of this post!)