Bilbao, Cantabria, Spain, 8/13

September 8, 2013

Fresh out of France, as we headed west along the north coast of Spain, our first destination was Bilbao. Not so much for the city itself but more to visit the amazing Guggenheim Museum designed by Canadian-American Frank Gehry. This extraordinary piece of modern architecture is arguably as important itself as the exhibits it contains. The building’s titanium skin pushes the limits of architecture to the sky with canopies, cliffs and towering promontories that seem to defy the limits of structural engineering. The three levels of exhibits are dedicated primarily to modern art, but even then, they stretch the imagination of the artists and the viewer. The large exhibit on the ground floor called “The Matter of Time” particularly fascinated us. This series of solid steel elliptical forms, each weighing over 40 tons, was designed by Californian Richard Serra. He successfully transforms the visitors’ sensation of space and motion with art that transforms the spectators’/participants’ experience into the art itself.

After following our Garmin GPS on a tortuous route through downtown Bilbao including a one-lane road that required low-range to navigate, we arrived at a beautiful RV campground overlooking the city. Yes, there was an easier way.

After following our Garmin GPS on a tortuous route through downtown Bilbao including a one-lane road that required low-range to navigate, we arrived at a beautiful RV campground overlooking the city. Yes, there was an easier way.

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Monika’s German language knowledge comes in handy with neighbor campers.

Monika’s German language knowledge comes in handy with neighbor campers.

Far below between the red bridge and the skyscraper we could see the silver domes of the Guggenheim Museum.

Far below between the red bridge and the skyscraper we could see the silver domes of the Guggenheim Museum.

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The titanium skin of the Guggenheim Museum pushes the limits of engineering and architecture.

The titanium skin of the Guggenheim Museum pushes the limits of engineering and architecture.

“The Matter of Time” by Californian Richard Serra particularly fascinated us. Our experience created the essence of the art itself.

“The Matter of Time” by Californian Richard Serra particularly fascinated us. Our experience created the essence of the art itself.

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A wall of moving words and sayings in English, Spanish and Eskara (the language of the Basque) flowed upwards into the void.

A wall of moving words and sayings in English, Spanish and Euskara (the language of the Basque) flowed upwards into the void.

The interior glass walls of the Guggenheim Museum seem to defy the limits of structural engineering.

The interior glass walls of the Guggenheim Museum seem to defy the limits of structural engineering.

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This unique polished stainless steel sculpture was fun to play with. At every angle the picture changed and the reflection of the viewer became part of the art display; for everyone an individual experience.

This unique polished stainless steel sculpture was fun to play with. At every angle the picture changed and the reflection of the viewer became part of the art display; for everyone an individual experience.

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This tower of stainless steel balls seemed to defy gravity, the result of a carefully planned mathematical design.

This tower of stainless steel balls seemed to defy gravity, the result of a carefully planned mathematical design.

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