Crossing the Border

July 7th, 2007 by | Country: Spain | No Comments »

It’s 7 AM in the morning and the sun is wide awake. I’m in the car with Jean-Victor, Marie, and Madame Maublanc. We’re driving through the beautiful mountains filled with green grass and trees and also passing by the ocean. Homes made of white concrete walls with red or green wooden posts on them rest sporadically on the mountains. Buildings closer to the ground and on the ground stand right next to each other and have same old typical french basque design. Eventually, I begin to see some differences in design on the buildings. Some buildings have stones in addition to the wooden posts or just stones and no wooden posts. Stone is a typical material used in Spain. I also begin to notice that I could no longer understand the street signs and signs on the buildings. Then, I begin to see fewer and fewer typical French Basque buildings and more and more Spanish Basque buildings. The appearance of the moutains begin to change. I start to see more rocky mountains, but still filled with green trees, and they’re still magnificent. We were crossing the border to Spain. As we drive, all we see mountains and more mountains coming forward. On both sides of the roads were full of astonishing mountains rather than rows and rows of trees like northern France and in most of US. After a long three hours drive, we reach the 4th largest city in Spain and also the capital city of the Basque country, Bilbao. Bilbao is also one of the biggest art center like Florence, Rome, Paris, and New York. Spain is quite different from France and Italy, but still magnificent. The architectural design is very 20th centurian and modern. They’re very simple and look like big concrete blocks, but they look like as if they can never go out of style. Spain is certainly the center of 20th century art. Many well-known 20th century artists are originated from Spain such as Pablao Picasso, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali. Bilbao is completely surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains. Everywhere I walk, I see mountains. The mountains are much more noticable than in Florence. Bilbao is proud to have the Guggenheim Museum along with New York and Venice. Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum building is very futuristic looking and the architecture is very unique. The whole building itself looks more like a giant sculpture rather than building that we can actually go inside. The Guggenheim Museum exhibits wonderful contemporary art pieces. I was never really a fan of abstract 20th century artwork until I came to this museum. The artwork are very different and have powerful symbols and meanings in each of them. In front of the museum, there is a huge sculpture made of just dirt, flowers, and leaves. The sculpture is a dog, and it’s a very cute dog that looks like we would want to pet him. I spent so much time at the musuem that I didn’t get to really spend a lot of time trekking through the city. It seems like there are tons more museums in the city along with great shopping. I will have to go back there at some point soon to get to know more about the city. However, Bilbao is definitely one of the great art centers and big cities.

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