NauNo Recap: Trip to Spain and France- Part Three

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list" //Susan Sontag

So excited post about the last few days of my trip and have this Spain adventure fully blogged. If you haven't read them yet, make sure you catch up on Part One and Part Two before diving into part three! Day 6 of the trip Pam and I took a girls trip to Bilbao, and then day 7 was our last morning in San-sub before we headed back the 5 hours to Madrid. Day 8 we spent to morning wandering Madrid before we had to catch out plane back to the good ole USA. Check out all the details of these final days below!

Day 6

The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao is one of the top must-see museums in the world, simply for the design of the museum itself. It was actually designed by famous American architect Frank Gehry, and you honestly have to see it to believe it. It's out-of-this-world cool. It is said that Frank designed the initial drawing without ever picking up his pencil, and there is supposedly not one straight line in the whole design. It kind of defies the laws and rules of architecture and many even thought that it could not be built.  The exhibits inside and permanent collection are also really spectacular, a lot of very famous works of art grace the walls and I was really fortunate we got to go. The best part was my amazing Spanish skills I was able to use to get a cab, give directions, buy bus tickets, ask for directions, order food and so on! Pam and I did so good on our own and were really proud of ourselves for making the trip solo.

This piece was called "Puppy" by American artist Jeff Koons. I love Koons' work and style, and the Puppy was so awesome. They say in Spring it is especially cool to see because the color son all of the flowers are in full bloom. Koons also has another installation at the Guggenheim called "Tulips", which is around the other side of the museum. Great to see American artists work featured in other countries!

The Puppy was so cute! And so big

Just look at this museum! It was jaw-dropping. I don't get how someone can design/build/execute something like that, and I even work in construction!

We titled this "Girls Gone Guggi"

Really cool panorama of the full museum form the outside. There was even a bride and groom getting their pictures taken outside in front of the museum, Pam and I couldn't help but spy!

Bad! But we accidentally snuck a picture or two inside in one of the exhibits. This was a huge installation piece made of steel called "The Matter of Time" by Richard Serra. I'd say the room was between 7 and 10,000 soft- it was huge!

This 9 meter tall sculture called "Maman", is by Bourgeois, and is a huge Spider.... I am not a big fan of spiders, but it was really cool none the less. It even had a giant egg sack underneath it, complete with eggs! EW!

The closest I've ever been to a spider where I'm smiling!

After the museum Pam and I walked the street and Bilbao, got some pizza and beers at a cute little restaurant, and then made our trek back to San-seb. Here is a beautiful church leaving Bilbao.

Back in San-seb for the end of Day 6! This little carousel was just outside our apartment and looked so cool all lit up at night. The kids loved riding during the day and it's just really nice to see something like that for public use right in a city center.

Day 7

Our last morning in San Sebastian.... SO sad! I had such a great time there and really hope to go back someday. Like I said before, I am really glad I went there in particular because it was never somewhere I had ever though to go or even heard of prior, but it opened by eyes to so many other parts of Europe that I didn't even know existed and changed my entire outlook on travel. I couldn't be too sad though, because we were off the the incredible city of Madrid to stay at the Ritz Carlton!

I was a like a little kid in a candy shop.... except I was a big girl at the Ritz Madrid. Total swoon.

This'll do..... I could have definitely gotten used to life at the Ritz!

Dreams to come true!

Another one for the Door series while walking the alleys of Madrid.

I think the most life-changing part of my trip was the Museo del Prado. One of the top ten museums in the world, it honestly left me speechless and in tears. THOUSANDS of works of art by some of the greatest artist of all time, I could have spent days inside. I could not believe some of the pieces and painting I saw- in real life! I could not get over it. Paintings I studied using little flash cards and google images in art history were now right in front of me, and were bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. The waterworks were definitely flowing.... just taking everything in and realizing where I was. In Madrid, Spain, staying at the Ritz, looking at some of the most famous works of Art in world history. Dreams DO come true! Of all the bad and sad thats ever happened to me, it's moments and days like that day that make it all worth it.

Goya, Velazquez, Titian, Rubens, Bosch, El greco, Raphael, Boticelli, Poussin, Rembrandt, Carvaggio,  I can't believe I was seeing all of my favorites in one place. Las Meninas by Velazquez was definitely my favorite, and even Salvdor Dali (my other favorite) once said if the Prado were to ever burn down and only one work could be saved, he would 'choose the air contained in the painting Las Meninas'. No photos are allowed inside, but I will cherish the memories forever.

Cute little car!

I can spy a nautical notion from a mile away!

I was already so tired from the travel and walking of the day, but the other famous museum in Madrid, the Reina Sofia, houses my other two faves... Picasso and Dali. I knew I had to go. Picasso's Guernica  is one of the biggest paintings I have ever seen. It was amazing. I am so so so glad I fought through my tiredness and made the trek. One of the last rooms I went in was Dali. He is my absolute favorite artist, so I was saving the best for last. As I walked in the door the guard told me that I COULD TAKE PICTURES. I literally thought he was joking, because they just about shoot you down if you even look like you're reaching for your camera in any of the other museums or rooms. I especially thought he was joking because he told me in Spanish and I wasn't sure I was understanding him correctly, that is until I saw other people taking pictures. Another person there told me that it was because Dali wanted his work to be loved and shared as much as possible. Not sure if it was true, but it made me love him even more. Such an amazing artist and a truly unique character who led a life of adventure and art.


Some of the exterior shots of the Reina Sofia.

After the Museums it was back to the Ritz for some relaxation. We sat in the lounge sipping champagne and listened to the piano while being catered to like no other! Before I sat down, they took my seat cushion off the chair and fluffed it for me. 

Mmmm I love me some champs!

I could have sat there for days- so relaxing! Nice to see how the other half live every once and awhile.

After drinks at the Ritz we finally wandered out into the city of Madrid for some food and some night life. We went to Zac's recommendation of El Tigre, and it was awesome! Definitely the hot spot to hang out for 18-25 year olds. Again, all the tapas you se below were FREE. The beer was about 2euro. Such a deal! The ham was shaved right off the bone and was so delicious. They eat so much ham over there but the quality and taste is so good, I could it eat it all the time too.

Ham on ham on ham! I wanted to take a whole leg home with me :-)

Wanted to take this pic so that ic an find it again when I go back- because I WILL go back!

Wish I got to see more os Madrid- it was such a cool city. So pretty and rich in culture and architecture, but definitely very hip and modern all at the same time. The people in Madrid were so cool- really unique style, music, and nightlife scene. They definitely stay up partying until well after the sun comes up. 

Back to the Ritz for my last sleep in Spain! I wanted to swipe this little door hanger....

They left a breakfast treat for me and a HAND WRITTEN note. 

Bathroom was to die for! All marble. The comfiest robes and towels and slippers.

The terrace out my window. My last sights of Madrid, and Spain as a whole....

After breakfast and a little walking around, it was off to the airport for the LONG trip home. The jet lag on the way back was so bad for me, I was a mess. It took me a couple days to get back to normal but it was all well worth it. As you can easily tell, this was the trip of a lifetime for me and I am so glad I have it all written down. I am already yearning to get back to Europe, I think next year may be the year!


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