Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wandering through Bilbao

We wander through Bilbao's Old Town, noting that in the morning, the markets and shops are open with fresh meat, fish, and produce for sale.

Fresh in the shops of Old Town

It's drizzling a little today and everyone is protected from the rain.

Bring on the rain

We head straight through Old Town to the Mercado de la Ribera, a market in an old art deco building on the bank of the Nervion River.  The interior of the market is spectacular, due both to the light-filled, stained-glass atmosphere and the fabulous food on display.  The Mercado de la Ribera is one of the largest covered markets in Europe with over 10,000 square meters (108,000 square feet) of space.

 Mercado de la Ribera

Market stalls

You can tell why the food here is so good, just look at the ingredients we are seeing in the market!

On the first floor of the market is a fabulous food court, with food fresh from the market, ready to eat.  We'll be back later for lunch!

 Market hall food court

We stroll through the streets across the river from the market, heading over to Alhóndiga Bilbao Cultural and Leisure Center, built from an old  wine warehouse to house leisure areas, cinemas, an exhibition hall, a theater, shops, restaurants, a cooking school, a library, and an auditorium.

 Along the river, then through the streets of Bilbao

 Alhóndiga Culture and Leisure Center

From the center, we cut through the city back toward the Mercado de la Ribera, thinking of lunch.  Along the way we come across a great collection of food trucks, but we have the Mercado food court in mind and hurry along.  We do, however, pause to look at some great art on the sides of buildings peeking through the gaps between the structures.

 Cutting back through the city

 Passing the food trucks

 Art on buildings

We have a lot to choose from at the Mercado food court and we finally decide on four pintxos (tapas):  octopus croquette, ham croquette, cod croquette, and octopus on polenta, accompanied by two glasses of wine.

 Finding our reward in the Mercado

 Fortified, we head back out in the rain to continue our exploration of the city.

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