So we have arrived in Bilbao. It is 36 degrees and sunny here — like we magically teleported ahead by 2 months into summer. After a day of walking around Bilbao, here is what I have noticed (I cannot find the apostrophe on this Spanish keyboard, so I am forced to write without contractions — my first year Classical History professor, David Page, finally gets what he wanted!).
- Everyone walks everywhere. At least on Sunday. We saw more families walking along the river this morning than I have seen in Charlottetown in a decade. Of course I never go outside in Charlottetown, which might explain part of this.
- Everything is in Spanish. Chock this up to stupidity or North American-o-centrism, but I do find it odd that everyone speaks Spanish in Spain. Bilboans would not, I think, find it odd that we speak English in Charlottetown.
- Everything is beautiful here. Manhole covers. Bridges. Mailboxes. Bridges. Trolley cars. Urinals. Sinks. Street lights. They say Bilbao is reinvented since the Guggenheim, but I think there must be a strong design ethic bred into the culture here, because you cannot get this beautiful that quickly otherwise.
- As in Thailand, children are cherished. Interesting 24 hour contrast through Halifax (tolerance), London (annoyance) and Spain (warm acceptance). The mother of the owner of our hotel said that Oliver was perfecto — her daughter explained that she was saying that Oliver was too perfect to be a real boy.