Times that could have ended badly part 1

After visiting the wonderful Guggenheim in Bilbao I decided to spend the afternoon up on Artxanda. They have a funicular to take you up. I have been using maps.me downloaded on my phone which has been mostly helpful but can only do so much when you start off walking in whatever direction you feel like it. I end up walking up this pedestrian walkway that no one else is using. After going uphill for a while I understand there is probably a reason no one is using it, because it is a stupid way to go (up and down stairs multiple times). Also, being up on a deserted walkway which could have been a terrible idea (for getting robbed, etc).

Didn’t get any pics of the murder walkway but if you go up this bridge away from Guggenheim and keep walking up and right.

At least I had this view.

My view while trying to find the funicular.

Finally found the funicular.

There is a line, it is a little confusing to see who is in line to buy tickets and who is waiting for the funicular because the line was blocking both. I pushed my way up to the ticket booth and then got to the back of the regular line.

The funicular arrives and people shove their way in. There is no crowd control so many of us are left on the platform when all the cars are jam packed. The tram sits there for many minutes. Eventually the driver from the train comes out to yell at us to move back behind the gate, but no one is moving back to make room for us. I guess we just shove people back?? It is a mess and people are irritated. Eventually we shoved our way behind the gate. I definitely “lost” my place in line but I decide to let it go. We are in close quarters waiting for like ever for the next train and the jerks next to me are watching a video on their phone very loudly right next to my ear (I actually keep my cool).

We can’t fit here

But finally we go up and get to see the great views from the top.

The top of the mountain has walking trails and places to picnic. I come unprepared for either of these activities so I don’t stay up the mountain long.

Bilbao funicular ride on the way down

Instead of going through that nonsense with the crowd and the funicular I decide to walk back down to the city proper.

No one else walked down. I once again walk on a deserted walkway.

This map is not helpful.

This sign doesn’t even have where I want to go on it. No help either.

At least I can see the city. I’ll just keep going down in the general direction I want to go (still alone).

Then I end up taking these steep stairs through a neighborhood.

I see the funicular so I am close to the station. I soon find my way down and see people again.

I am safe, it is daytime, but I really need to stop taking these secluded urban hikes. Not such a great idea when you don’t know a city well.

Eating healthy on the road

“Vegetable” side from the other night. Ended up being mostly mushrooms and onions.

I love food (and wine). I like to try new types of food and eat old comforts. I am most certainly going to try any local dish in a city I am in. BUT my body cannot sustain that kind of eating for long periods of time. I am finding myself seeking out ways to eat healthier more and more (It is always so easy to eat unhealthy).

For example, when I have a hotel with free breakfast included I load up on the fruit (and vegetables if they sometimes have them), or I seek out a big ole Salad, or I order the grilled vegetable side dish if they happen to actually have one on the menu. I am now staying in a vacation rental where I stocked it with fruits and yogurts for breakfast (If I eat one more croissant in the morning I think I will scream).

Let me be clear I am not dieting while I am traveling – that would be a disaster because I would be miserably looking at all the good food all the time.

I am just conscious of what my body needs; something that maybe comes with being an older traveler.

I can go longer if I occasionally give it the fuel it needs. And I want to keep going as long as I can.

I should have put more fruit and less cheese on this plate but it was my first day in Gijon and I wanted to try all the cheeses that morning.

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim was amazing as expected but limited photography was allowed inside. Here is just a taste.

Jenny Holzer is one powerful artist. If you can get a chance to see her work do so. She creates very provocative exhibits that have powerful messages. Here is just a little bit of what I can share.

One of her latest is a series of redacted pages from the Mueller report that are turned into pieces of art. Very interesting work.

I finished up my visit with a tapas snack at the outdoor cafe.

The Guggenheim is a must visit. Buy your tickets ahead of time to save a line when you arrive.

Breweries in Bruges

While in Bruges I was able to stop by a couple of breweries.

Bourgogne de Flanders

The brewers throughout the ages

Got to try some wort…it wasn’t the best tasting
Brewer talking to us about the beer making process

I already tried their flagship beer before the tour so I didn’t feel like getting a flight so ended up getting lambic to finish my visit.

The second brewery I visited was Halve Maan Brewery (no tour).

For my first beer I tried the Seasonal Wild Ale. It was very good but very strong. I would have gotten another one but I wanted to be able to walk back to the train.

I also tried one of their flagship beers the Blond. It was sessionable at 6% (ok maybe not but it felt like it was).

I ordered some beef stew (local classic) to help soak up the alcohol just before the kitchen closed.

I was done after 2 breweries. Belgium beers are no joke and I don’t have the drinking endurance to try more for the day. It is back to the train for me and back to my quiet Gent.

Brugge

Although this is my first time to Brugge (Bruges) I am no stranger to this city. My mother was married to a man from Brugge for many years so I got to know it through him and the many beers my mom enjoyed from the area.

They divorced before I ever had a chance to visit and it just seemed weird to go after that. I decided since I was “in the area” that it was time to visit.

It is a very pretty town but very busy with day trippers (like me).

I very much preferred my quieter Gent as my base for my couple days in Belgium.

I finally tried one of those waffle things.

This marzipan also caught my eye so I picked a little bag.