Saturday, 5 September 2009

SEPT 3rd

Sept.3. Bilbao. What a delightful place! The people are smart and their houses are pretty and around 7pm all these smart people leave their pretty houses and fill the streets, parks, bars, and restaurants. And what a lively place! Maybe there was a time when it was built around a river. And maybe there was a time when it was built around a cathedral.

Today the new building is going up all around The Guggenheim - a whole new architecture of ovals and ellipses. There isn't a right angle in sight. The artists who created the installations have responded to the building and the city responds to the artists - no dysfunctional dreamers here - but a tough partnership between engineering, industry and design. Come back in 2000 years and The Guggenheim will still be here. The leaning tower of Pisa means nothing to the shanty town all around it. The Guggenheim is the seed for tomorrow's Bilbao. I spend the whole day in The Guggenheim - it's a treasure trove and if you live near Portsmouth it's only a ferry ride away.

(And this is a floral cat or dog outside The Guggenheim. It is difficult to tell by the size whether it's a dog or a cat but the flowers are all flowers!)

I don't make yesterday's mistake and I find a restaurant at 8pm - somewhere to sit, eat, drink, and think without looking at the clock. Artichokes and a rice dish with fish. They don't call it paella round here. I've only got ten more miles to go to the ferry in the morning. Nothing to be afraid of. So why am I afraid? There's a bonus on the way to the ferry. A dear friend suggested I might like to see the bridge over the river - a bit like a horizontal Eiffel Tower and cars and passengers cross the river in a gondola that hangs from the girders. See it, my dear friend!

(This is a picture of a Scottish Pipe Band in Bilbao who may have been sent to make me feel welcome - or maybe they had another reason for being there. Who knows?)

In order to get to the ferry me and Rosie had to go on it! And now I've reached the P&O check in and discover that due to adverse weather conditions the ferry is running two hours late. Well that's better news than I heard from the chap who sells the tickets on the gondola who told me there was no ferry today. And that was a heart sinking moment. Well, there is. It's just late. And now I've just got to sit here and wait. But you don't need to hear about that. So I'll just get on with it on my own and write again when me and Rosie get to Portsmouth.


PS. I've just heard why the ferry is late. There was a sick child on board and they couldn't get a helicopter out so the captain took his ship to a French port to get the child to hospital. Isn't it good to know that time and tide does wait for a sick child?

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