Two Busy, Busy Days

Phew! Finally sitting down after going for two days non-stop. Let’s see if I can pick out the highlights.

Yesterday we drove to Bilbao, which is technically the beginning of Basque Country (and yes, they speak Basque and the signs are in Basque and it looks nothing like Spanish really at all, but rather more like Russian?). Our visitor had some connections at the Guggenheim and also the Museum of Fine Arts, so we went to both. The Guggenheim is an architecturally fabulous building. I had walked around it once before, but never went inside. We saw some great exhibits, and there is a good mix of sculpture and paintings and for me, it was just the right size (I run out of steam after the thousandth painting of Jesus…sorry, but I do). We did a little tapas crawl for lunch instead of sitting down to one big meal, Bilbao’s old quarter has dozens of little bars/restaurants and it was a gorgeous day. After lunch, we hit of the Museum of Fine Arts – I enjoyed this one also, there was a great mix of classic paintings and extremely modern art and sculpture as well. Also a good size, we made it through in about an hour and a half. Overall a great and very cultural day! We dropped Jami off at the Santander airport and headed home for the next adventure.

The Guggenheim, Bilbao

Last night was the much talked about, highly anticipated Concurso de Tortilla (tortilla contest). A Spanish tortilla is basically a potato and egg frittata, but there is definitely a special technique to it. The way you cut the potatoes, the way you cook them (first, in oil and slowly so you don’t end up with french fries…and to just the right consistency), and then how you flip it (there is no oven involved…you cook one side, slide it off to a plate, and then slide it back into your pan), and if you can achieve the perfect consistency, taste and appearance. C was up against our friend Virginia, primarily because neither one is a cook (we joke about how Virginia makes noodles every day). Aida, Eva, Jean-Pierre (another of C’s cousins) and I were all in attendance. Both were good, but in the end, poor, competitive C lost out. But we had a hilariously good time and decided it is now an annual tradition – the Tuesday of the week before Thanksgiving. ­čÖé

The contest participants with their tortillas!

And today. We were ready to have a normal day, but alas…instead, we got up relatively early and headed BACK to Potes. A friend of a friend there makes his own orujo and C wanted to see what that was all about. So, we drove back out there, caught up with him and tasted his orujo (he was a suuuper nice guy, lives up on a hill in a fabulously scenic spot), went and had lunch, and then did a little more exploring in the area around Potes. We finished our day with a stop in a spa…spent an hour in their baths (sauna, steam rooms, hot springs, pools, etc.). I’m all shriveled up now but it was very relaxing and C wanted to know what it was all about in case his potential clients were interested in spa-ing it up. It’s a rough life some days.

A shepherd and his sheep.

And so maybe tomorrow will be back to normal?

 

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