The plane journey was pretty uneventful (except for the party of school kids behind me kicking my seat). As we landed I got my first sight of Bilbao Airport. It’s certainly striking. Whereas most airports have gone for the glass and metal look, Bilbao has gone for white concrete and glass. But a mainly concrete. The infrastructure looks like white concrete “ribs” (a bit like that daft coffee table that they have on The One Show). It looks a bit like they thought the future would be back in the 1960’s.
One good thing was that is has air bridges, so unlike when you fly on budget airlines to most European airports, you are not not dropped off at the far edge of the airfield and bussed to a back door of the terminal; here you can walk straight into the terminal. We waited for the banshees (or school kids as they are known) to exit the plane before getting off. As we walked down the air bridge we were met by the banshees being chased back towards the plane by the ground crew. Perhaps Spain decided they didn’t want them back. A quick saunter through passport control, ablutions in baggage reclaim (by that that I mean that we used the toilets in baggage reclaim, not that I dropped one on the baggage carousel) and we headed out. As I left the terminal I concluded that it was obviously an adventurous 1960’s airport which hadn’t aged well. I found out later it was actually built in the year 2000. Ah.
We took a taxi into town, You can actually get a bus for €1.20, but it looked like quite a schlep to our accomodation from the bus station so we decided to hang the expense and get a taxi straight to the door. I say straight the the door, we came within about 100 yards of the accomodation, but due to the crazy one way system it involved anther 10 minutes and another €5.00 to get there (not that I was checking him on Google maps as we were going along. Don’t you just love data roaming). The taxi driver was particularly quiet. I think he was listening to the radio. It was a sports talk station. I deduced this as I did pick up on the words “Manchester City”, “Premier League” and “Champions”. Apparently all Karen picked up was that there was sale on at El Corte Ingles.
We arrived at our appointment and buzzed up to our host. We are staying in a small apartment near the old part of town. The apartment was on the first floor and there was a rickety set of stairs to get up. Now we are used to stairs. These were nothing compared to the set we went up in Prague. The difference with these was that they weren’t all the same rise! You would be happily walking up and suddenly there was a shallower step and you jolted as you weren’t expecting it. Watching the two of us walking up must have been hilarious as every couple of steps we tripped up. We have just about got used to it, but on the first day both Karen and I simultaneously said “I’m glad mum isn’t here, she’d be in a heap at the bottom of the steps by the end of day one”.
The apartment is compact but fine for us. It looks out on a back alley and into the neighbours’ apartments. I feel a bit like James Stewart in rear window. There’s the old lady who does the dishes around 10:00 pm; her neighbour who just seems to spend all day brushing and the family above us have blue towels as they hang them out in the morning and we can see them (along with their smalls). One feature I particularly like is that the window in our bedroom has shutters on the outside, so at night you have to open the window, close the shutters, and then close the window. The window in the bedroom is directly over the bed, so In the morning I kneel up; throw the shutters open; have a look at the weather (more about the weather tomorrow); wave at the lady brushing her kitchen opposite; realise that I am naked and immediately dive back into bed. I bet Spain can’t wait for us to leave the EU.