The Ribera Market sitting grandly again

After 3 years of reconstruction, the Ribera Market is sitting grandly again along the riverfront in the Old Quarter of Bilbao. They just opened up the last part that was still being restored. December 7th 2012 was the day and I was there, of course!.

Food holds a special place in Bilbainos’ hearts, and the market is a reference for most of us. I love coming to this place …. I always have to get my freshly fish and vegetables.

The Ribera Market is a great place to visit for anyone interested in food. If you are a food-lover, cook or just a visitor to Bilbao, don’t miss it! It is opened Monday through Saturday.

Here you have some pics. I hope you like them!

Located: Ribera, 20, 48005 Bilbao
Tram: La Ribera stop
Open: Monday – Saturday from 8am

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A magical, hidden spot in Bilbao

A place to find peace and quiet!

It’s around the corner, but most of us never see it.

The Cathedral of Santiago has a beautiful cloister, built in florid Gothic style. It is accessed from within the church, through the vestry. It is well worth the euro it costs to visit.

Stay a while, meditating amongst the lemon trees. Well worth the time!

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Bilbao’s 711th Birthday – The Old Quarter

Yesterday, Bilbao celebrated its 711th anniversary. It was in 1300 when Don Diego López de Haro, Lord of Vizcaya, gave the city the title of “Villa de Bilbao”.

What better way to celebrate it than walking in the streets of the Old Quarter, called “Las Siete Calles” – Seven Streets -. It was the place to be yesterday and experience all of the excitement a journey back through history has to offer.

For those of you less familiar with the area, a great way to visit it is simply to wander through the narrow, winding streets full of color and life, and discover alleys, squares, monuments at the cathedral, beautiful fountains, doors, old Balconies, buildings, bridges and so on dating back over the centuries.

But the old quarter is more than that, it is the lively heart of the city where we meet our friends and have a glass of wine and a pintxo –small appetizers-. It is a place to socialize, full of cozy bars with big selection of pintxos on the counters and lots of small shops selling clothes, food, gifts, traditional Basque items, and just about anything you might need.

Yesterday, I felt proud of being part of the history of Bilbao!

Please enjoy some pictures of my visit.

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Our first greeting!

Our first visitor to Bilbao is finally here!

Ongi Etorri, Bienvenido, Welcome, Bienvenu!

Yesterday was a great day for Bilbao Greeters. After months of hard work, we were ready to take on the world. Our first visitor from Brussels, Brahim, was here and we couldn’t be happier.

We were very excited and proud of Bilbao Greeters, but, as we were waiting for Brahim, these feelings were overshadowed by a growing sense of nervousness and anxiety.  To be honest, the feelings didn’t last too long.

As Brahim is also a greeter in Brussels, we decided to do something special for him and divided the visit into two parts. First Marta and I meet him at Moyua Plaza and walked with him along the new part of the city to experience the urban development in Bilbao through its buildings. Afterwards, we met Nati, one of our greeters, in an old cafe. She took care of the second part of the visit and showed him the old quarters of the city.

Thanks Brahim for visiting us!

We toured with our first visitor and we had a wonderful time. Now it is your turn!

If you are visiting Bilbao and you are interested in booking a greeter, please click here, and don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes.

If you are interested in welcoming visitors, please click here

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Easter break in Bilbao

For most of my life, Easter break was a time to let go, to have a good time and to do things I don’t do usually, like hiking, sunbathing. This year I decided to do something different. I decided to stay in Bilbao, my hometown.

I love to stroll and I didn’t want to just end up staying home and doing nothing, so I planned to walked around and make this an opportunity to rediscover the area I live in.

Yesterday was Holy Thursday, my first day of vacation. It was a beautiful sunny day with a high temperature of 24ºC., so strolling through the city and parks was really nice. The Fine Arts Museum on the Euskadi square was my starting point. I passed The Iberdrola Tower, the tallest building in Bilbao, and headed to Avenida Abandoibarra, which follows the river and leads directly to the Guggenheim Museum and then to the old part of the city, the medieval Bilbao.

The place, usually crowed with students, was full of residents and visitors strolling along Abandoibarra area.

As I was walking towards the old part of the city, called El Casco Viejo, I heard some drums and saw many spectators. It was one of the Holy Week processions that take place in Bilbao to commemorate the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Every church has a “paso” or large figure that the members of the religious brotherhoods carry in their procession throughout the streets of Bilbao. Some of the sculptures are of great antiquity and are considered artistic masterpieces, as well as being culturally and spiritually important to the local Catholic population. The members of each church are dressed up in penitential robes and a pointed hood and sometimes barefoot. They carry the pasos throughout the streets of Bilbao marching in silence. The processions are accompanied by drum and trumpet bands after the pasos. See the pictures I leave below for you to understand what processions looks like and the atmosphere.

After a while, I decided to move on. The seven streets of the Casco Viejo are a good choice if one is looking for nice “pintxos”, the Basque word for tapas. It is worth walking through the narrow streets and popping into bar after bar. Yesterday the old part of the city was fully packed and busy with bars bursting with pintxos. The weather was so nice that people were outside bars having dinner and others, around barrels, unwinding over some drinks with friends. I had thinly-sliced Jabugo ham, Idiazabal cheese and bread. What a great companion to a red Rioja wine!

Because drinking-driving laws are very tough, I caught the metro back home.

Bilbao has changed so much for the better in the last 15 years, that yesterday I enjoyed strolling around. I think it won’t be the last time. I will keep every one informed about my findings. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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