Monday, July 9, 2007

Bilbao - Guggenheim and More

I would like to welcome the first guest author to my blog - my sister, who has been a faithful travel companion on my European tour despite all her complaining! :-) She insisted on writing this entry because she had some pretty strong feelings about this place.


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One of my greatest regrets in Bilbao is going to see the Guggenheim. The attraction was to see one of Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpieces. Alas it was such a disappointment once you enter in the museum. The only artworks that were even worth looking at are visible from the outside so don't waste money on a ticket. It is 12.50 euros for the regular entrance fee, but if you are a student who is under 26 years old the prices drop to 7.50 euros. Audio guide is included. Like I said, don't waste your money on a ticket. Just go to the front of the museum for the cute dog, known as “the puppy”, to take some nice pictures. It is a gigantic wired puppy piece decorated with an array of flowers that supposedly differ in color as the seasons change. Just take your digital camera, zoom, and click. Believe me, you don’t want to go in to look at the horrid “modern” art they have. It really lacks any pieces of work that are worth the fee. I cannot begin to describe the bitterness, anger, and frustration that I felt when I toured this horrid museum.


My experience at the Guggenheim really marred my impression of Bilbao but the city did have other redeeming qualities such as the food, the hotel, and the ambiance. We ate at two restaurants near the entrance of the museum. The first place was Serrantes III, where we were able to try a unique dish of “barnacles” at an exorbitant price of 150 euros per kg. They were delectable, but I am not quite sure they were worth the price as we found them in the fish markets later in Barcelona to be much cheaper. We only had some snacks/tapas at this restaurant because the prices were ridiculously high. Fortunately we had passed an Asian restaurant earlier on the way that looked much more reasonable so we went back there for lunch. It turned out surprisingly good (and it's almost right across from the main entrance to the museum). For those of you who speak mandarin, the supposed Japanese restaurant that was run by Chinese/Cantonese people named the restaurant Tamaya (Ta-ma-ya). Can we say a little ironic and maybe a hidden message? ^_^ Refreshingly, this restaurant was actually pretty decent and for a great price. Their lunch “menu” was 13.50 euros; which included appetizer, rice or noodles, a main course, dessert, and drinks. Usually the entrees for such a low price would be either horrendous or extremely tiny or both. This place was wonderful because I had a nice plate of shrimp tempura, a mediocre fried rice, a generous amount of peking duck, violet ice cream, and water. As for my sister and mom, they ordered sushi, stir-fried instant noodles, enormous sauteed shrimps, fresh fruits, and tea. For the price of 13.50 euros, we constantly talk about this diamond in the rough. Once you come to Europe you will find out that there are really no delectable Asian restaurants, nor are they all at reasonable prices. We often wish to find a place like this in Europe, when we think about it we say “ta ma yah!” (those of you who speak Mandarin will get it) ^_^.

The ambiance of Bilbao is also pleasant because they have a lot of intriguing architectural splendors as the city tries to fit into the setting of Frank Gehry’s design. The bridges over the rivers are very modern and nice to look at. As for our hotel, we stayed at the Hesperia Bilbao, which was located across the river facing the Guggenheim. It was a pretty nice hotel for a very reasonable price, but I must say I know why it was not that expensive for a four-star hotel! They trick you to come to Bilbao to suffer and visit the abhorrent Guggenheim museum that they recognize as their treasure. What a mockery! I would never come back to Bilbao because of this abomination! I recommend you to stay in San Sebastian to bask in the splendid city and stay close to the ethereal beaches.

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Um, okay... Thanks, Sis, for your candid review. I guess I'll see your posts again the next time you really hate a place!

19 comments:

Chi-Mei said...

Wow, that's a lot of hatred! Not everyone gets to go travel in Europe you know....

Chi-Mei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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