17 Sept: We set off mid-morning, still in low cloud. The wind direction wasn’t great so we had to motor for some of the time and at others had 20 knots of wind to help us along with a pretty choppy sea. Passed very close (a bit too close..) to the only gas production rig off the north coast of Spain and made it to Bilbao in the early evening (51 nautical miles in just over 9 hours).
18 Sept: Despite the torrential rain, we decided to sightsee in Bilbao today so we got the metro into the old town. We visited the cathedral which is small and unadorned, but with lovely gothic doors, and St Nicolas Church which is very baroque and an unusual octagonal shape. Despite the fact that neither of us really appreciate modern art we didn't think we could come to Bilbao and not visit the Guggenheim museum. As it turned out, we liked a couple of the permanent exhibitions and the building itself was worth the visit – an incredible structure both inside and out.
Next day we took the lift to the pedestrian platform on the Vizcaya “transporter” bridge (about 50 metres high) which is the only working one left in the world. There’s a great view of the harbour and port from the platform. It was built in the 1880s as a way of linking the two sides of the river but still allowing tall ships to pass up river to the docks. It has a gondola suspended from the bridge that carries about six cars, as well as passengers, across the river.