Tuesday, November 10, 2009



In November 2008 I went back to Bilbao, this time with my companion for the last thirty nine years, who hadn't been there since 1976... We stayed at the Gran Domine, and the view was this, from East to West...

"DE LA SALVE BRIDGE - With the ship structure of the Guggenheim Museum heading towards East"





"WORKS - After the construction of the Guggen, Bilbao experienced a tremendous activity, not only from the cultural point of view, but also economically speaking. Works are carried on all over town..."



"BATHROOM - Philippe Starck"

"MARISCAL - The Hotel was entirely designed by Javier Mariscal - the creator of Cobi, the mascot for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Mariscal designed everything, from the uniforms to the façade, including the graphic image and its website, as well paintings and sculptures we may find inside the Hotel"

"FROM THE TERRACE - There is a wonderful view of the Deusto University"

"FROM THE TERRACE -Towards the Guggen"

"FOSSIL CYPRESS - At the hotel's centre, there is Mariscal's "Fossil Cypress," a trunk of rolled stone that stretches the vertical length of its interior for 26 metres"




Trotter said...

Hi Everybody! Blogtrotter is back to Bilbao!! For someone who has seen the city in 1969 (though only crossing at night) and in 1976, the experiences of 2006 and now in 2008 were absolutely stunning. The ugly, dirty city by the port has become one of the most dazzling contemporary towns and most of the change was generated by the amazing architecture creation of Frank Gehry: the Guggen!! Enjoy and have an exceptional week!!

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Marvelous work of art - the structure itself! And to be there after 33 years!!!!!


eye in the sky said...

gosh for the guggenheim...lol

Thérèse said...

By what I heard the Guggen is a distraction to the eyes of the locals... beautiful but not part of the everyday life around.

april said...

That's a town I MUST see one day, so many interesting buildings. And even the hotel seems to be like that. Have a nice week, Gil.

Chuckeroon said...

So....the Trotter "does Art".....and practices silhouette shots of the Missus. Quite a contrast from the recent series. As usual, I'm delighted to get the insights. These days I stay "at Home". I must say, the "Wanderlust" sometimes strikes...but only rarely.

S-V-H said...

Impressive architecture there! But for the most I liked the last photo with those great chairs or sofas. I love "stuff" like that! :)

Thanks for sharing Gil!

vacation deals said...

i am struck seeing those pictures..
awesome structure..
work of art is shown...

Ron said...

This is one of my favorite posts from you. The view is absolutely stunning. I really like that bridge. I could get lost there for hours. Thanks for the wonderful posts.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your bring us the most unique sights Gil!
What an unusual modernistic building -- I love the deep soaking tub and the views.

diane b said...

So Mr Trotter is a time traveller now! Look at the date in your title...Blbao in 2208. (ha ha)
It is a beautiful city. I was there a few years ago and loved it. Lots of wonderful art and I loved 'Gugen'. I also enjoyed the trams or are they light rail trains. Your hotel looks smashing.

Trotter said...

Thanks! Corrected...

Bhushavali said...

The architechture of Guggenhiem Museum is something I've always admired. Thanks for the photos... Happy that u've visited.. :)

Poetry in Stones Part one at My Travelogue
My Travelogue, Savoir-Faire

alicesg said...

Wow the bridge is so huge and stunning and the architectural designs aer so amazing. The hotel looked so cozy and beautiful too. Everything looked like arts in here.

Galaxy6139 said...

so awesome construction, it looks artistic and powerful ^^

Unknown said...

Art is astounding ! Wow, I have to go there!

hpy said...

Very different, indeed! Bilbao vaut une visite, je pense.

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Quand modernité et beauté se rencontrent !

PeterParis said...

Certainly a dynamic city and, as always, you chose carefully your hotel! Unfortunately my last visit to Bilbao dates from before the completion of the museum. I may have to console myself with a visit to the new Paris Louis Vuitton Foundation by Gehry which will be ready in a few months and also should be rather spectacular.

(Always nice to see the young couple traveling through Europe!)

Tinsie said...

Sooo cool! I must visit Bilbao sometime and maybe I'll stay at this hotel. Love it!

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

I absolutely love this hotel!!!!!!!! And that view of the Guggenheim is fabulous! Mr. Gehry did a great job there in Bilbao. However, his work here in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in his hometown of Toronto is "tamer" compared to that one!

My Unfinished Life said...

well, i also knew only one thing about bilbao and thats gugenheim!!
very lovely images!!..and i also clicked on the link of 1976 and there were such lovely images of your trip and i must say yuor wife looked so stylish and all the clothes she wore then are back in fashion this season......

Anonymous said...

Now there's a room with a view!!!

Pietro Brosio said...

Hello Gil! Great images of the hotel, it's really a beautiful structure!
About TAV, it's so true what you say, that train would take you easily to the Val di Susa and quickly would bring the Val di Susa people to Lisbon. I totally agree! I am in fear just of a possible terrible disfigurement of the beautiful landscape.
Have a very nice weekend!

yyam said...

Wow! How nice it is to visit a place that has modernized so much again!
Love the bar...the artwork, the furniture and those rounded pillars...fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

Mariposa said...

Bilbao! I want to go thereee!

Bindhu Unny said...

Guggenheim Museum structure is impressing :)

freefalling said...

Isn't the Fossil Cypress brilliant?
I can't imagine how they constructed it.

Anonymous said...

and what a view. very interesting structure

Urmi said...

Your blog is the best and one of my favourite blog. All the pictures are so beautiful that I feel like visiting the place. The first two pictures are absolutely mind-blowing. You have taken lovely shots. Very nice and interesting structures and its unbelievable to see it.

Venksh said...

Hey Gil,

the hotel seems to be very nice with good theme. the wall painting was superb and the bar was also very good...


Paz said...

Very interesting structures. I like the red one. ;-)


indicaspecies said...

I like these pictures displaying contemporary art. Thanks for sharing.

Have a lovely weekend Gil, while I try to spend more time outdoors before the snow arrives.:)

Emery Roth said...

Lovely photos as usual and a most interesting post. Alas, I have to object to some of the views expressed regarding Gehry. There's another of his shiny monstrosities near where I live, and one can't get near it on a sunny day without being assaulted. He knows how to compose lovely forms, but there's an arrogance involved in making a building that assaults the population with its reflections. I enjoy contemporary architecture, but as a retired architect, I would be ashamed to have imposed myself on people that way.

Emery Roth said...

I should add, you have composed Gehry's composition beautifully.

Marja said...

Never heard of it before. Amazing and interesting architecture. Would love to stay there

Light and Voices said...

Unbelievable place! It is so ultra modern.

alice said...

Tu as l'art de choisir de beaux hôtels!
Merci de ta visite au bleu du ciel, cette façade est celle d'une des multiples oeuvres de Gaudi à Barcelone.

Anonymous said...

that must have been a wonderful place to stay in...simply beautifully captured shots...lovely views!

lv2scpbk said...

That's a great view from the Gran Domine. I really like the picture of the Mariscal. It looks like something my grandson would have drawn. I like to get photos and things that are different from the norm like everyone else's.

Vacation Deals said...

great work of art.i definitely love your site.the hotel is very classy..

Nisha said...

The pictures are cool and you've worked on angles to make them intriguing.

Thanks for sharing them.

juka14 said...

What an architecture, the Guggenheim Museum looks great!

Trotter said...

Hi Everybody! Sorry for the delay on this one, but things are getting tougher! Today the sky is blue, the temperature outside is roughly 20º centigrade and Portugal is going to be in South Africa 2010; what else? ;))
Bilbao is a wonderful place and, from the 1277 cities I found at Facebook’s Tripadvisor map that I’ve already been to, certainly a city that deserves a return… Hope you’re enjoying, and keep commenting!! Meanwhile visitor 100,000 is approaching… slowly… ;)). Have a great weekend with lots of posts and comments… ;))

It’s an incredible piece of architecture, though there are a few dissenting opinions on the matter… Thirty three years isn’t that much; my first time in Paris and Stockholm (and all the cities in between…) was forty years ago!! ;)) Getting older; definitely!!

Guggen for ever!!! ;)). I wonder how things will be viewed some fifty years from now? Will people look at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (assuming it will still be there like today…) the same way we now look at it? Surely not…, but then what?

I’m not so sure about it… For what I saw the two times I’ve been there, there were always parties with local people on Monday evenings – the day the Museum is closed -, which may mean that there is some meddling of the museum with everyday’s life of the locals… And I just wonder how would be Bilbao without it, after the complete decadency of the port and the industries around the city: a ghost town… ;))

You have better start packing… ;)). And if you book the Silken Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao (what a name…) you’re granted a fabulous view of the Guggen just across the street!!

Doing Art and practicing Missus is definitely a great occupation, don’t you think? I can understand that the «Wanderlust» may strike, as I was used to travel abroad at least twice a month; but now that I’m stuck and get off only six to eight times a year, what strikes me is the ability to live such a sedentary life… But I refuse to give in… ;))

The Guggen is awesome, but the Hotel was an amazing surprise!! I had seen it from outside, but inside is much more impressive! I can imagine you enjoying a drink at that bar; Mariscal’s stuff is quite appealing and the mojitos were acceptable; not like at La Bodeguita del Medio», but anyhow… ;)

Vacation Deals,
Ok! For once spam is in; but don’t try again, please!!

Thanks! As you are now the only blog friend who has commented on all and every one of my last seventy posts, this means that I’m surely getting better on this blog!! ;) But I would love to know how to change the template to a more attractive one and also would love to have time to do some more research on the way to actually improve this blog!! At least to put the background in black colour… ;))

The Hotel is amazing and has a fabulous view towards the Guggen and Javier Mariscal (the designer) did a great job there. But the only piece you decided to set apart was the only piece that he didn’t design: the incredible bathtub by Philippe Starck!! ;))

Immediately corrected, as you have seen!! But travelling in time would be an exciting adventure anyhow… ;). The Eusko Tran (Basque Tram) is said to be, according to Wikipedia, «one of the most modern public transport systems in the world. The trams travel at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph) but do not make much more noise than a car». And they are quite comfortable and go along some of the best recovered locations in Bilbao!!

There are lots of good reasons to admire the building; it’s an incredible achievement!! I had already been there in 2006: some pictures already at Blogtrotter!!
PS: You’re looking great at the new white profile picture!!

Trotter said...

Replies Part Two:

Alice SG,
La Salve Bridge is quite impressive but the point of view was also a wonderful one!! As for the hotel, it was quite comfortable and particularly convenient for the Guggenheim – just across the street. I liked very much the experience and would certainly recommend it to anyone travelling to Bilbao; but you need to open your wallet… ;))

Artistic and powerful: a perfect way to name the subject! No wonder coming from an expert scientist!!

It means that you have to spare much more time to spend on your trip to the Iberian Peninsula; that way, Lisbon may also get some time… ;)

Si je me rappelle bien, la nomenclature chez Michelin est: vaut le voyage ***; mérite un détour **; intéressant… *;). Alors Bilbao c’est trois étoiles Michelin !! Du moins pour moi… ;))

Modernité et beauté, ça ne marche pas toujours ensemble. Mais dans ce cas je crois qu’ils l’ont réussi!! Et le résultat est superbe!!

It’s impressive the way the Guggen changed the way Bilbao was evolving. By the end of the seventies it looked quite decadent, but then a building made Bilbao a re-born town. Incredible!! Look forward to seeing the Louis Vuitton Foundation!!
The hotel was perfect, though there are two or three more that can be used without losing the charm… But this one is the more convenient!!

From London there is a direct flight; If you’re now in Athens (Congrats, we’ll meet in South Africa 2010… ;)), you’ll have to change in Madrid…

Oh! My dear hotel expert!! You’re certainly the blog friend I «know» with the best expertise as far as hotels are concerned!! And surely you wouldn’t miss the GHDB… ;)). I haven’t seen the Art Gallery of Ontario after the Transformation, but would love to see it; furthermore now that King Tut is coming to the premises… ;))

Shooting Star,
If you keep visiting Blogtrotter, there will be more about Bilbao to enjoy; in fact, though the Guggen plays an exceptional role in the city, Bilbao is not only the Guggen!! ;))
It’s amazing how Mode develops: thirty years later and thirty pounds on, things become fashionable again… ;))

We had already many posts with a room with a view (just searched Blogger and found some amazing places…) but this one is outstanding!! ;)

The Hotel is much better inside than from the outside, but the Guggenheim Museum is extraordinary outside and somehow inside...
As for Val di Susa, I can understand the fears people may have of seeing it destroyed; but some people use a few irrational arguments that increase fears that aren’t genuine. If things are done as they should, impact is minimized and quality of live increases exceptionally; at least for those whose standards are not the return to life in the caverns... ;))

It seems that Bilbao is renovating itself every day since the opening of the Guggenheim Museum!! And it seems to be a great experience field for many famous architects... The work of Javier Mariscal at the Gran Domine Hotel is awesome!! The rounded pillar isn’t exactly a pillar: it’s a sculpture hanging from the roof, named «Fossil Cypress»!!

I knew you would have that reaction; but you should consider getting a little closer to the south-western side of the Peninsula... ;))

You should see it in front of you: it’s tremendously huge!!! Immense!! But at the same time inviting...

Welcome back!! Great to see you alive in the blogosphere!!
I think that they inserted all those rocks in a net and then suspended it from the roof... ;))

The view was awesome!!

Thanks! You’re too kind and I’m thrilled!! As for the first two pictures, let’s say that the environment helped a lot!! The Guggen, the River and the La Salve Bridge make a perfect combination with the hills on the other side of the Nervion. So, piece of cake to make it interesting... ;)

Don’t doubt: it’s much more than nice that hotel and I don’t get any commissions by posting it... ;))

Trotter said...

Part Three and Final, now!

It’s interesting the story of the painting of the La Salve Bridge. When I was in Bilbao in 2006, the bridge was green and there were four projects to improve the environment around the Guggen. The projects were to be voted by the visitors of the Museum. I voted on this one… and two years later I realized that it had won the contest… ;)) Funny!

Contemporary architecture at its best… or not, depending on the opinions… ;))
So, did you left the sunny Kuwait for the snowy New England or is it just temporary? ;))

I’m glad I managed to compose Gehry’s work beautifully and I’m glad that the post suggested your views on Gehry’s works! Coming from an architect - like poets (and judges of the United States Supreme Court) they never retire… ;)) – it is particularly interesting!! But the idea of a shiny monstrosity is probably a bit excessive!!

The best is probably the view towards the Guggenheim; there you’re not supposed to stay there...

Ultra modern? Probably!!

C’est vrai que j’aime bien me loger à des hôtels sympas!! Même à Barcelone, juste en face de la «Casa Battló» de Gaudi que tu as mis sur ton post, il y en a un superbe : le Majestic… ;))

The views are the best you may find in Bilbao!! At least for the time being and until something new irrupts there… ;))

It’s amazing what happens with some contemporary paintings: some of them look like something a child would be able to do, but usually people don’t recognize the child’s works as works of art… except their family… ;))
Agree with you and also like to see works that are different from the norm!

Twice is too much!!

Great to see you back here!! The angles are basically intriguing already on Gehry’s design; I just tried to catch them accurately… ;))

It is great!!