Friday, April 03, 2009

Grand Turismo ain't bobbins

I always though of Bilbao as a dull industrial city in the Basque land. But oh how wrong I am. A beautful old town with great architecture, pokey quaint streets filled with cafe's and restaurants where the locals idle away the hours discussing the salient points of the day or catch up on gossip. A run down by the waterfront of the Ria de Bilbao shows a city full of history and proud of its Basque heritage. Basque flags dance merrily on the wind next to Athletic Bilbao flags. Running past the magnificent structure that is the Guggenheim museum, you are left believing that there is still hope for mankind in in bringing to life such a beautiful building and not escaping in the quick get-out clause of a brick barricade. A home to house expressions of beauty within. The old docks are filled with rusty old ships which are in dry-dock, awaiting some paintwork and further repairs for another season's sailing on the might Atlantic. Fishermen wrestle with nets caught up like unwashed hair in a tangle. The crumbling old buildings that lead to the docks and to the mouth of the estuary are a reminder of golden days in the past, and I could not help thinking that these buildings would be perfect to squat and start up homes, venues, restaurants, anything really. Artists have painted the walls in a manner which suggests true artists have been at work here and not random graffitti artists who only want to splash their names everywhere in a fit of egomania. The boats that sail in from the Atlantic are treated to an art exhibition of sorts as they return from a days fishing. By the docks, cranky old cranes lift and dump iron ore and huge scraps of metal at will, with no methodology behind it. The smell of burning metal pricks the senses. Old jetties lie half collapsed in the water and beautiful long legged birds stand still catching in the sun's rays with half an eye for an fish that may be swimming to close near the jetty.


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