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Hi there fellow SSCers. This thread is part of a set from my recent travels to France and Spain, click the links in my signature to see the others, thanks, hope you enjoy them!

Bilbao is nestled into a valley of the river Nervión and its suburbs extend along that river to the sea 15km downstream from the city centre. It is the largest basque city and has a mixture of industrial areas, a medieval old town and modern riverside developments including the famous Guggenheim museum.

In common with many Spanish cities, it is very dense. The vast majority of people seem to live in apartment buildings even outside the city centre. The day I visited (May 31st) started off with good weather but around mid-afternoon the torrential rain started and did not stop for the next 24 hours, unfortunately this means that I didn't get to take photos of large parts of the city centre as I was too busy trying to stay dry!





















































 

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The tram looks so modern and i remembered this city from James Bond movie... The World is Not Enough
 

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The most stunning thing about Bilbao is that it was considered one of the ugliest cities in Spain (if not the ugliest) 15-20 years ago.

They have been able to change their economy and urbanism to become a really appealing place to live and visit. I still remember when Guggenheim area was full of containers. It is an example for many cities in the world.

Great pics Jonesy!
 

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^^ Yes, you can still sense that Bilbao has a rough edge to it that places like San Sebastian don't have but it is really developing well and the modern buildings complement the older quarter and the industrial architecture.

It reminded me of Manchester, in many ways they are similar.
 

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Nice pics of an interesting city. The 'real' Basque beauty (for me at least) is the belle epoque city of San Sebastian/Donostia, one of my fav cities in Europe.
 

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^^ San-Seb is probably more beautiful for most people but Bilbao is a cool city too, these photos omit a large part of the city over the river from the old quarter which also has some attractive areas.

The old town in Bilbao seems a little bit downmarket compared to old towns in other Spanish cities, lots of shops selling tat at €1, cheap restaurants and some buildings that are empty or not in such good condition. The newer part of the city over the river seemed to me to have better retail and the classier restaurants. :dunno:
 

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The old town in Bilbao seems a little bit downmarket compared to old towns in other Spanish cities, lots of shops selling tat at €1, cheap restaurants and some buildings that are empty or not in such good condition. The newer part of the city over the river seemed to me to have better retail and the classier restaurants.
I guess it's pretty usual in post-industrial cities in Spain.

When heavy industry arrived, factories where located in the surroundings of the city and big new neighbourhoods were built next to them to host the thousands of inmigrants coming. As a result, the daily life os most of the citizens was too far from the old town and it became more and more unkept.

Now they try to have it in a better condition, and I found it quite improved the last time I was there. In the past some places looked a bit scary (extremely dark and full of pro-terrorism paintings), but now I had a ptretty nice time there, especially clubbing.
 

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^^ Yes, you can see that the area is improving.

One thing that I noticed about Spanish towns and cities, especially in Pais Vasco but also in other regions is the amount of political grafitti everywhere. Here, most graffiti is dumb tagging or football related but in Spain you can see things like 'PP = Facistas', 'PSOE = Seperatistas' etc everywhere as well as the ubiquitous 'Euskal presoak Euskal herrira' in the Basque country.

I saw a massive 'Boicot Catalunya' in a small mountain village in Asturias and such poetic gems as 'no hay noche sin dia ni libertad sin ETA' in campsite toilets :rolleyes:
 

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Yeah, I think graffiti is an unresolved issue. Towns have been able to be clean for European standards but shitty grafitti (mainly tags or political messages) is way too common. Here if you want to erase one of that paintings you just have to paint a new message involving the Mayor and soon it will be cleaned. :D

I guess the reason for those paintings is that politics are unfortunately too present in our daily life and the situation is even more notorious in the Basque Country for obvious reasons.

I saw a massive 'Boicot Catalunya' in a small mountain village in Asturias and such poetic gems as 'no hay noche sin dia ni libertad sin ETA' in campsite toilets
:lol: Some time ago right-wing extremists proposed to boicot Catalan products during Christmas and buy Asturian cider instead of Catalan cava (which is a kind of cheaper replacement). Maybe that village had some commercial interest on it, but the most likely is that they were morons with too much spare time.
 

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Wow. Bilbao has modern and historic buildings together :) looks real nice ;)
 

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Bilbao has made a wonderful effort to improve. One of the cities that has changed more in Spain.
 

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Wonderful city. Spain is really GORGEOUS!
 
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