On Friday, the 28th, we spent the afternoon in Bilbao.  It turns out that from the 22 to the 30th of August it is the Aste Nagusia festival, and each night it ends with a firework display; which we’d heard last night.  Seems that everywhere we go we are greeted with fireworks …….. They were due to start at 10.30 so we decided to stay to see them.   With that settled we had a wander around to start with then got one of the open top bus tours around the newer parts of Bilbao; the old city was closed to buses due to the festival.  Have to say Bilbao is not a beautiful city, it is pleasant, lots of narrow streets, and was very busy. We had a late lunch and then we spent a couple of hours visiting the Guggenheim Museum ……. the building was impressive, the contents were, well, er, educational. The prime exhibitions were of work by Jeffs Koons and some guy called Jean Michel Basquiat.   The Koons stuff was technically very good but lost on me; the Bassqiuet stuff, well the only things missing from the works were the signature, ‘Jean-Michel, aged 3’.   The museum described his work as revolutionary, opening new paths in contemporary art and lauded his innovative artistic perspective which asks questions that are still relevant ….. Only one relevant question springs to my mind ….. why?  I’m not an art critic, but then this wasn’t art !

The Guggenheim, Bilbao The Guggenheim Bilbao







Duly educated we wandered back towards the Punta de Arenal with a grandstand view of the fireworks.  On our way we engaged in the apparently uniquely Basque custom of visiting a series of bars and having a glass of wine and a tapas in each as we went.   I think in the UK we call it a pub crawl, but this was far more stylish and well, Basque!

We staked our spot on the bridge below the park from which the fireworks are launched and waited as the crowds built.    It was a good show, 45 minutes and nothing repeated.   Put NYE in London to shame!    They had smiley faces and what looked like jelly fish in three colours along with more traditional, but huge fireworks.   Very impressive.

The journey back was a bit of a melee. You could hardly walk two steps in a straight line the streets were so rammed full and there was a queue for the train station.  Weird as the trains and platforms were almost empty.

The following day, the 29th, we spent in and around the boat. Shopping again in the morning, this time for supplies for myself and my new crew for our trip down to Porto.   After lunch I launched Windy for a trip out to the fuel berth!  We needed petrol for the outboard and I wanted to give the engine a run as it hasn’t been used much.

Taking Windy fro a spin
Taking Windy fro a spin

That afternoon Mauro joined us and we had dinner ashore in one of the restaurants returning to the boat to play cards and watch a lightening storm on the other side of the bay.    We were then treated to a visit by the ‘Galernas’.   This is a local north westerly wind that picks up out of now where, blows old boots for a while, then disappears again.   Caused us a major problem though, we lost two playing cards over the side!