We could live like this

We could live like this

but I’m not sure for how long.

We started our day late.  We went for breakfast an hour later than we have been doing and found that this was the busy time.  Things were picked over.  Not good.  But we’d slept well, we didn’t feel in need to hurry and so we went with the flow.


We planned to potter a little more about the city today.  We’d had a couple of places in mind but both were closed on a Monday (including the art museum above) – bad planning on our part.  But no matter, there’s still plenty to see.


Mary, I thought of the light installation in LA as we walked part this collection of street lights.  I wonder if they are all illuminated when darkness falls?  We’ll see later, I suppose.


Wandering about the city we’ve noted so many rather charming architectural features.  We don’t think any of them are particularly old or historic, but they’re certainly attractive and they give a grand air to the place.  This is a wonderful city to explore.


Crossing broad avenues at this time of day is interesting, enabling us to get a feel for the wider picture.


The striking angles of the Guggenheim museum are instantly recognisable from whichever direction we spot them and as the city is fairly compact, nowhere is very far.


We really enjoyed our walk this morning and remembered to look up.


Though I had to wait until we returned to the hotel to be reminded of the name for these subway entrances: Fosteritos


Outside the bank, there stood a woman playing some kind of bagpipe.  Gaita is the closest I can get, though someone here may know different?  (I know you’re a clever bunch!) 


And as the traffic built up, we made our way towards the old town.


We’d been in this area on Saturday but found it mostly closed and rather quiet.  Today, there was a distinct bustle and in spite of the odd spot of rain, people were out and about, enjoying the fresh air.


Did you spot the Basque Father Christmas, Olentzero climbing into the building there?  We’ve seen him in several guises but always recognisable in his blue clothes and beret.


Here he is in another shop window.


Along the way, I popped into the occasional shop to take a look around. Here, I picked up a couple of packs of Christmas decorations, took a photo and then put them back.  Naughty but hey, what’s my Silhouette digital cutter for if not for things like that?


We dropped into the turron shop too.  Adelia Ivanez is a quaint little place selling traditional almond turron and sad to say, I just can’t resist!


A couple of freebies were thrown into the bag, though sadly, not turron but a kind of dry, almond shortbread which Edward described as “concentrated powdered sweet cream crackers”.   Perhaps it’s as well we stuck to what we know and didn’t succumb to a huge bag of those as well.


These streets in the old town are known collectively as “the Seven Streets” and are really attractive.  The dark reds, ochres and forest green of the buildings above make it all feel quite contemporary though clearly, the streets have been here for centuries.


We stopped to take note of a cut stone sign in the now-familiar Basque lettering style.


As we did, we noted a queue of people opposite, waiting for what?  We had no idea, but it seemed as though they were waiting to buy lottery tickets.  Interesting!


Our next stop then was inside the Santiago Cathedral, where all was calm and surprisingly modern, thanks to fairly recent renovations.


I always enjoy the shadows as much as the artefacts which create them.


Bright new stained glass windows allow plenty of light into the space here, so there’s a really airy feel to the interior, which feels anything but fusty.


But we were beginning to feel a little thirsty and could use a sit down, so headed for the market by the river.  Again, we’d been here on Saturday when all was closed, so we hoped for better this time round.


Oh yes.  There’s a variety of food stalls and bars with appetising offerings as is the norm here.  But we exercised a little restraint, since we had a table booked for a 2pm lunch and didn’t want to spoil that.  So, a couple of small beers and a half hour sit down was the order of the day for us.  Though, every time the chef brought out another plate of delicious-looking pintxos, it became harder to resist.


After a short wander around the fresh food stalls, we made our way back across the bridge, noting the Town Hall there on the riverside.


We were aiming for Colmado Iberico where our table and hopefully, a delicious lunch awaited us.


It soon filled with hungry people looking for, as our guidebook put it “a little piggy goodness” and sure enough, that’s exactly what it delivered. 


Washed down with a bottle of Temperanillo, what’s not to love?!


Three courses each, a bottle of wine and the usual bottle of water, the extraordinarily reasonable bill was delivered in style!


We staggered back to the hotel in the late afternoon feeling utterly stuffed and ready for a siesta.  We’ll struggle out again this evening, I expect, in search of a tasty pintxo or two and a glass of something good, just to keep the wolf from the door.

I’m not sure it’s a healthy way of life but for a couple of days right now, it’s rather good.

Later that evening

Later that evening

The Basque Coast

The Basque Coast