Morning stroll along the river
Reaching the Guggenheim, we first spot some of the outside art: the spider in back and the flower dog in front (hard to miss). The pond by the spider is misting, blowing over the path and covering us as we walk around the museum. The weather is providing really great colors (not to mention occasional rain) that, combined with the mist, helps contribute to the total experience.
Spider on the river side, with mist
Flower dog in front
More outdoor exhibits
The outside of the Guggenheim is breathtaking, and on entering, we are also awed by the impressive interior. The museum was opened in 1997 to feature large-scale works by contemporary artists and works by Basque artists and is one of the largest museums in Spain. The building itself is viewed as an important international architectural work.
Guggenheim exterior and main entrance
The exhibits are spectacular, matching the building. One really impressive experience is the only permanent exhibit of the museum, Richard Serra's "The Matter of Time," mazes of weathering steel sculptures housed in a 130 meter (426 foot) gallery. We walk through the steel mazes, spiraling into the centers and back out again. This is quite an adventure! In the lobby, floor-to-ceiling light displays show messages that we wander through and contemplate.
"The Matter of Time"
The museum is large and we spot groups of exhausted visitors.
The students have seen enough
Outside, fountains and the new tram line help make Bilbao's old port area inviting, attractive, and popular.
Tram line and fountains
Walking from the Guggenheim over the bridge across the Nervion River, we get great views back at the museum and up and down the river.
Rear view vision across the Nervion
There is more art to be enjoyed, painted on the bridges across the river and in the parks along river. It seems there is art everywhere!
Art along the river
The Guggenheim has been a key force in the revitalization of the city of Bilbao and is reported to have drawn 4 million tourists in its first three years after opening. It really stands out and is a great reason to visit Bilbao. However, there are also many more great reasons, as we are discovering on this short stay.