Haz el bien, y no mires a quién. -Spanish Proverb

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aerial views

I’ve flown in and out of Bilbao more than a dozen times, but today the view from the plane window was unlike any I’ve seen before. As we took off at 6:45 this morning, the city was still lit up like night, but the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, dimly lighting the coastline and mountains.

After all this time I’m able to easily identify each part of the city from the plane window based on the bends in the River Nervión. Now on the brink of sunrise, the bends can be seen as outlined by the evenly spaced lamps along the promenade, and I think of the hundreds of miles I’ve run there.

running around river bends in central Bilbao

running around river bends in central Bilbao

I see the blinking lights from the Iberdrola Tower, Bilbao’s lone skyscraper, and I think of the way it’s shiny exterior seems to reflect the sky in a different way every time I see it.

I identify the surrounding beach towns (Algorta, Sopelana, Gorliz…) based on their various unique curvatures of the coastline, and I think of the surf lessons, never-ending beach days with friends and the countless times I’ve sat and watched the sun sink into the water from one of the many perfect perches along the coast.

a fall sunset in Sopelana

an autumn sunset in Sopelana

I see the lights from the Puente Colgante transporter bridge, and I think of my days as a student here when I lived just down the street from the historical bridge, back when even just Getxo felt like a big place to me. I think of how fortunate I was this year to have had the chance to return to this neighborhood for my work.

Puente Colgante

Puente Colgante

I see the mountains that tuck Bilbao into its seaside nest, and I think of the many hiking excursions and the excitement I feel after hiking up a mountain to get a new perspective on the surrounding landscape.

taking a breather after climbing Vizcaya's steepest peak: Monte Anboto

taking a breather after climbing Vizcaya’s steepest peak: Monte Anboto

No matter how much I fly, it never ceases to amaze me how small the whole thing looks from the plane. This tiny-looking little world that once felt so big to me has become the perfect-sized place I’ve been so fortunate to call home for the better part of the last three years.

I didn’t board the plane feeling ready to leave this place today. But I don’t know if I could ever feel that way. A place that becomes so deeply a part of you is a place you will never be able to say goodbye to forever. So although I don’t know when or in what context, I’ll be back, Bilbao.

Hasta la vista.



Let’s go for a walk

Greetings from my newly relocated position in Getxo! …..Relocated? What’s that all about? Well, for a variety of reasons, my living situation in Algorta was much less than ideal. I was dealing with it alright, but when I learned of a 5-bedroom flat with only 3 USACers (members of my program, USAC) in it, I had to see if a move would be feasible. I asked the housing coordinator, and found out that a move would be much smoother than I anticipated. And BOOM! Two days later I was all settled into my new home in Las Arenas, a section of the city that is about 40 minutes walking distance away from my original apartment in Algorta. I am further from the picturesque beaches of Algorta (but still only a 10-minute metro ride.) The upsides of the move, however, are many. Las Arenas is where most of the “action” is. It is where must of us students come to hang out, get coffee, drinks, etc. It is also much easier to navigate as it is at the base of the mountains, thus very flat, and it is set up in more of a grid-format like I am used to from home. My bus stop is now an easy 2-minute walk around the corner; a stark contrast from my 15-minute uphill trek to the bus in Algorta. I am a block away from one of the most famous and historical sites in Getxo, Puente Colgante, a transporter bride that links Getxo with the town across the river, Portugalete. The move was a bit of a hassle, and having to relearn bus schedules and stops, market locations, etc. took a few days, but all in all, vale la pena (it was worth it.)

a new home

After moving, I was struck down with what has been dubbed “The USAC Plague” (since almost all 30 students have been sick) in the form of strep throat, an ear infection and pink eye. I was in an out of a seemingly comatose state for two days. I received some antibiotics after a visit to the doctor, and when I awoke yesterday and the sun was shining, I felt like a new person. Cheesy, but true. So after school, I went for a long walk from my new apartment all the way to the main marina/port, which is basically in Algorta. It was a fantastic walk, so I thought I’d bring you along:

You will also find a new album called Paseo por Las Arenas in my Picasa web albums with the photos from this video as well as some additional photos (I will be adding pics of the inside of the new apt here soon.) I have also added a few new random pics to the album Various Pics that you might enjoy.

This weekend, a few of our friends from San Sebastian (we met them on the Madrid tour) are coming to Getxo. We’re going to be busy showing them a good time. Sunday is supposed to be beautiful, so the tentative plans are to sunbathe in the afternoon, go out for dinner for Bri’s birthday in the evening, and watch the Superbowl in the wee hours of the morning (it starts at midnight for us!). I better start catching up on sleep now!

In the upcoming days look for a post about the Basque Country: the controversy and culture of the region in which I live.

¡Disfruta del fin de semana! (Enjoy the weekend!)