One of the reasons why this trip meant so much to me was that I got to experience things I never thought I’d do or see in my life. Probably the biggest was going to Bilbao Spain, to see the Guggenheim.

When I was in my intermediate drawing class in college, my teacher (the best teacher I ever had), showed me a line drawing that Frank Gehry did before this structure was ever built. It inspired me like nothing has ever inspired me before. So when we were planning this trip, a stop in Bilbao was a non-negotiable.

The biggest mistake I made while planning the trip was only scheduling less than a day in this city. I figured, we’d go to the museum, and then spend the night there. It just happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in Basque Country on the water, with the most incredible public art all over the place. I assume it was just a sleepy Spanish town before the Guggenheim was built, and there wouldn’t be much else to see. Of course, the most forward thinking building constructed in the last 60 years is going to be surrounded by other amazing things. Don’t know what I was thinking.

When we arrived we flew into the tiny airport, and soon discovered that no one speaks English here, and neither of us speak a lick of Spanish. So while I tried to negotiate a taxi into town, Becca got stung by her first and only bee sting OF her life. And then it started to rain. But hey, we had a HOTEL. A 4 STAR HOTEL. THAT ONLY COST $100. We took what seemed to be the major bus line into the middle of town and ended up passing the beautiful Guggenheim while going over a bridge and were just in AWE of how enormous and stunning it was. Everything was gonna be OK.

We checked into our amazing, luxurious hotel, and then headed out to the museum. No cameras were allowed, but I’ll just say this: it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I usually have too big of expectations and then am disappointed. Thankfully this time I kept my expectations in check, and was blown away. We stayed until we were literally kicked out at closing time.

Once the rain stopped, we found a place to have some real Basque food and wine, and it was amazing.

Then we went back down to the museum and took pictures of the exterior, now that we weren’t dodging rain.

Bilbao was the biggest surprise of all. Not touristy, just a quiet, lovely little town. The saddest thing for us was that we had to catch a flight to Barcelona at 7am the next morning, so we couldn’t even have a full night’s sleep in our hotel. We were honestly on the verge of tears when we had to wake up at 4am.

This city is on the top of my list of places to return. LOVE.