Town Hall in Bilbao.  Bilbao is a much more modern city compared to the others we toured.  Commerce related to shipping, especially with British companies, bolstered their economy in the 19th century.

A run to help fund breast cancer research was well attended at the plaza adjacent to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.  People participated in the race with family members and brought kids along to play and cheer on moms/dads.

Just as the exterior of the Guggenheim features curved lines, the interior is a maze of flowing lines in stone, metal, and glass.  The 1997 opening of Guggenheim, designed by Frank Gehry, was intended to revitalize Bilbao and it certainly did make it a destination for lovers of modern art.  They have everything from traditional paintings on canvas to sculpture to digital art and multimedia film art.  Marie and I watched a one hour movie projected on about a dozen screens of people all playing a song while in different rooms of the same house.  Scandinavian thing and wonderfully weird–definitely imaginative.

Part of the exterior of the Guggenheim where patrons can stroll and enjoy the outdoor sculptures.

“Arcos Rojos” by Daniel Buren

This is called “Tulips” by Jeff Koons.

“Tall Tree and The Eye” by Anish Kapoor is near the Fog Pool

The play of sunlight and clouds on the metallic walls of the museum made for interesting visual effects that day.

“Maman” by Louise Bourgeois.   It was a pleasant surprise to see this piece because she has an almost identical work at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my hometown.

Marie (who had a true case of arachnophobia as a kid when she saw this in Michigan) felt relaxed posing with Maman.

I’m not wild about all modern art, but found I could have spent all day in this relatively small museum.   It’s the kind of place where you “experience” art rather than just look at it.  The visitor is invited to wander through exhibits and explore them at his/her leisure.

View of modern commercial buildings adjacent to the Guggenheim.

Entry to the Guggenheim where the kids relaxed waiting for the next stop on the tour.

The Basque flag is very prominent throughout the streets of Bilbao.  This was discouraged (to say the least) during Franco’s time and I saw only a few there when I visited as a university student in 1976.  Now the flag flies everywhere.

Students were assigned a photography “scavenger hunt” as an afternoon activity, so the next couple of pictures are from just wandering downtown.

The next few photos are aerial views of the city from a hilltop park on the edge of Bilbao.

Again, you can see how the Guggenheim and modern structures nestle into the skyline.