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July 23rd 2013
Published: July 23rd 2013
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Burgos CathedralBurgos CathedralBurgos Cathedral

Take off the spires on top, and this place looks identical to Notre Dame in Paris. Makes sense - French architects started the place.
Absolutely massive lightning storm last night, but made for a nice morning - smelled fresh, like rain. Spent the morning mainly down at the Cathedral. And honestly, it was nice, but there was something I just didn't like about it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but mainly it just seemed too nicely put together. Like all of the character had been rubbed out of it, and all the tourists were given this cleanly scrubbed thing on a platter, just to look at, but not touch. There just wasn't any life there - which is ironic considering the church is something like a 1000 years old. Leave things be I say. Not everything is better cleaned up.

Lingered in Burgos until around 2ish, when I caught yet another bus North, for the 3 hour or so ride to Bilbao. Another incredibly scenic ride. This time, rather than the plains between Leon and Burgos, you drive down winding roads, through quaint towns, often follow some river, and suddenly are going through what seem like mountains (although coming from Colorado, I'd call them foothills). And then, about an hour outside of Bilbao, you hit Basque Country, and it's more truly
Looking Up Looking Up Looking Up

German architects put on the spires, and from here it looks like Cologne Cathedral. A weird hodgepodge.
mountainous and, today at least, very overcast and rainy. It was honestly just like going up I-70 to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Eerily the same. Pulled in at Bilbao around 5ish.

I then quickly checked in, literally threw my bags in the room, and set off for the greatest sight in Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum along the Nervion River. This is undoubtedly one of the most masterful Modern buildings in the world. It's the type of place travelers centuries from now will come to see. It's a Frank Gehry building, and is honestly too hard to describe. You'll have to look at the photos. The building just twists and winds, and for some reason you occasionally feel dizzy inside, like the stairs are slipping away. You find yourself grabbing onto the railings inside the Guggenheim for no real reason. Truly glad I came here.

Afterwards had a hard time finding an easy dinner. Sometimes, you just want it to be simple: take away the language barrier, order exactly what you want, and then just move on. But, in Spain, that's usually pretty hard to find.

Tomorrow I go a little down the coast to the beautiful town of
Very Literal ArtVery Literal ArtVery Literal Art

This shows the Tree of Jesse, or Christ's lineage. A tree literally sprouts from Jesse. Can't get any clearer than that.
Santillana del Mar, and see the cave paintings at Altamira. Been looking forward to this for a long time.


Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


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Burgos DomeBurgos Dome
Burgos Dome

Technically called Plateresque. But to me it looks like a giant wedding cake.
Light Over the AltarLight Over the Altar
Light Over the Altar

Really shows you how nice stained glass is, when light actually shines through it.
Da Vinci Mary Magdalene Da Vinci Mary Magdalene
Da Vinci Mary Magdalene

Da Vinci only helped. It's not all his. But looks like one. Da Vinci paintings to me always look smoky. Like there's a mist hanging over them.
Looking Up from CloisterLooking Up from Cloister
Looking Up from Cloister

Really is a massive church. Takes at least over an hour to go through it all.
Guggenheim Museum BilbaoGuggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Very rainy when I got in. The main entrance is down the steps to the right.
Another ViewAnother View
Another View

Gehry used titanium siding, all carefully polished to catch the light.
Flower PuppyFlower Puppy
Flower Puppy

In front of museum, and by Jeff Koons.
Down Towards EntranceDown Towards Entrance
Down Towards Entrance

See how jarring this is? Gehry wanted it to resemble jars rattling in a crate, or even the scales of a fish. Very off-putting. No straight lines here.
Main Atrium Main Atrium
Main Atrium

This literally is the heart of the building. You always return here, like blood pumping through the heart. The glass elevator looks like a giant fish. Gehry likes fish symbols.
Back of MuseumBack of Museum
Back of Museum

Great staircase going under bridge. Intelligent because Gehry even makes the bridge part of his building by doing this.
Great ViewGreat View
Great View

From the back. Can really see the wavy titanium siding.


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