/The Guggenheim in Bilbao

The Guggenheim in Bilbao


Mamma Parla is the queen of finding discounted hotel rooms. She found a great rate at the Grand Hotel Domine Bilbao, a very modern and somewhat posh hotel with incredible customer service and an even better location, just across the street from the Guggenheim.

Guggenheim Bilbao

When we got in, it was lightly raining and the sky was overcast. The pavement around the museum was slick and the titanium sheathing radiated a vaguely honey colored hue.

Guggenheim Bilbao

We had lunch at the Bistro before we visited the museum. A three-course menu came to under €30 per person. This included a bottle of wine, which would contribute to a nap in the armchair of Kutluğ Ataman’s ‘Küba installation‘ later on. Actually I am not sure if the nap was brought on by wine consumption or if it was a reaction to the profoundly depressing subject matter of the installation, which was actually my favorite work in the museum.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Gehry’s architecture, which carves the interior space into variously shaped and illuminated modules, is a work of art in and of itself.

Guggenheim Bilbao

The exterior spaces are home to massive works of art like Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Spider’. This, ironically, was not the colossal animal sculpture that I found most frightening.

Guggenheim Bilbao

That prize goes to Jeff Koons’ “Puppy, The Topiary Dog”. I found this large inanimate object oddly terrifying. It is shaped like a big seated dog and its flowers shift every so slightly in the wind, giving the sensation that it is alive and could get up and run off at any second.

Guggenheim Bilbao

It continued to freak me out even more at night.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Sometimes shooting with the wrong white balance has interesting effects.

Guggenheim Bilbao

At midnight we had the whole walkway around the building to ourselves. Surreal.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Stay tuned for the next post: Pintxos in Bilbao!

2017-02-17T15:26:54+00:00 June 30th, 2011|Categories: Basque Country, Culture, Spain, Travel|6 Comments


  1. Tom June 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Great pictures! I love Koons’ work. Sorry the puppy frightened you Katie.

  2. Katie June 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    thanks! im sad to leave bilbao but im sure ill sleep better knowing that giant dog is so far away:)

  3. Murissa July 1, 2011 at 12:58 am - Reply

    I always wanted to go there. The architecture is just too surreal to pass up! I have had quite a few art history lectures that featured this building and it always intrigued me. And that’s just the outside – wait till I get in there!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

    • Katie July 1, 2011 at 1:01 am - Reply

      The guggenheim in bilbao is one of the places i always dreamed of visiting, too. ive seen a couple of other gehry buildings and appreciated his work–as much as an art historian specializing in Antonine era funeral art can:) the guggenheim bilbao is so perfectly integrated into its environment it is a magnificent achievement. i hope you make it there very very soon!!

  4. Zornotza July 1, 2011 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Glad to know you are enjoying our wonderful country. Try to make a stop in Amorebieta-Etxano in your way to Gernika or San Sebastian. Best “bollos de mantequilla” in the universe in Pasteleria Ayarza. Closed on Tuesdays. I have lived in several countries and travelled all over the world, and still haven’t found anything as delicious! You will not find any artificial flavours or colours there!

  5. Katie July 5, 2011 at 12:30 am - Reply

    i am having an amazing time! I still havent tried these mythical bollos de mantequilla! i have heard amazing things! unfortunately we did not make it to Pasteleria Ayarza yet but shall do our best! thanks so much for the recommendation.

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