Sunday, July 19, 2015

As the Days Fly...

Well our days are flying by and we only have about 8 days left. Actually Dean left this morning as he is headed to work in Vimperk, Czech Republic for a few days before heading back to Madison. In any case, this entry will be some of the more recent highlights from this adventure.

On July 5th we headed into Bilbao for the "estropatada," rubber ducky race. This was the 3rd edition and it is to raise money for people who contract unusual diseases. People "purchase" a duck for 5 euros that enters the race.  Each duck has a geolocator so the "owner" knows where it is in the race. 35, 000 ducks were launched off of the Deusto bridge from giant duck painted containers. On the linked site above you can find the news video that tells the story as well.  There were several people in kayaks connected to a series of swim lane ropes that created a canal down which the ducks float to the next bridge. The streets were lined with people watching despite the rainy weather. Marina came in from Mundaka to join us for the race. The photos below will give you some idea.
That evening, we went with our friends Raul, Viviana, and Fernanda to check out the nearby abandoned Butrón castle. It is not far from where we are staying and for years we would drive by it and I always wondered about it. It does, on the outside, look like something from a Disney movie that has gotten run down and not well maintained. The location is nice, although isolated, along a river and we happened to catch a group of horseback riders that had also made their way there to check it out.
Here are some photos from our excursion.

As  you may know the lifestyle here is much different. Most people live in flats above stores and don't entertain in their homes. Those who have gardens for the most part are in a community plot, as yards aren't typical. That said the area we are living in used to be mostly an undeveloped area. Between where we are living off a main street and the beach, there were wooded/field paths to the beach. Now most of that has been cleared and there are houses and duplexes going up everywhere for those who would like a beach house. It is a great area to be in for beach and surf. We have enjoyed our flat, although the one house across the street is a bit loud. It is one of the original old homes that has a fair amount of fenced in yard. Behind the fence are ducks, chickens, hens, turkeys, dogs, cats, and I'm not sure what else. We hear the dogs at night around midnight and the hens at about 5am. I suspect this is like living on a farm, although we don't have the responsibility of the animals. Despite that, we are in a great location for our needs. Dean and I have been getting our exercise regularly. These photos  are a some pictures I took on my speed walk the other day.

As much as we can we have been reconnecting with our friends
from when we lived her 4 years ago. Eugenia was one of Morgan's friends from school and her sister Alejandra and Maia are also the same age. We took a stroll with them down to the Puerto Deportivo de Algorta for ice cream and a walk on the beach. Since there really isn't room to entertain in people's houses, we have enjoyed the customs of going out for walks, meeting and hanging out with people in parks, plazas, and on terraces. Everyone walks everywhere or takes the metro. All of us are enjoying the fresh air
and opportunity to walk from place to place with friends. Dean and I are hoping to keep that "habit" up at least a bit in the states to take a walk regularly after we eat as it feels healthier. It's also really nice to see older people out walking all the time. Our dependency in the states on cars to get around and only moving for the sake of exercise is a bit less healthy of a lifestyle in our opinion as we see older people with so much mobility here. The day we were on that walk in the Puerto Deportivo we saw a really beautiful sunset.

While we are close to the beach we are also only about a 20-30 min metro ride into Bilbao. We have gone in to the city a handful of times for shopping and the best massage therapist I have ever found. One afternoon following a massage, I was walking down the Gran Via, a main street, and came upon a concert by Coldplace which is a really amazing tribute band to Coldplay. If you heard them without seeing them, you might not know the difference as Soundhound identified Coldplay, not a cover, for every song despite crowd noise. It was really awesome. They played for about 1.5 hours. This was the opening, to get people excited before Bilbao Live, a 3 day concert up in the mountain just above Bibao. Mumford and Sons played there among other well known artists. Unfortunately we didn't have tickets.

Another part of summer here in Spain is that every town has it's "fiestas" which are all centered
around Santos, saints, that they choose to celebrate. That said, these are far from religious events and they typically go all day and late into the night. Since most of our kid's friends are in Algorta area where we used to live, we went to the parties in Neguri. In addition to a variety of theatrical entertainment, portable dj/disco, friends, and a bar, the festival started out with cabezudos which are people dressed up with gigantic heads carrying sacks that they use to chase and wack people with.

 Since the fiestas in Neguri, the girls have regularly returned to the park to meet up with friends and hang out. One of the nice things is that they are able to go alone on the metro. Generally that's how kids socialize. They travel in groups and wonder around parks, stop at nearby stores for snacks and the like. I think the girls will miss that when we return.

No comments:

Post a Comment