I wrote before I left for Spain that I didn’t know how I’d feel when I reached Santiago, but that my first pilgrimage was actually to Bilbao – and the walk proved me true.
We reached the city about a week in. By that point we’d made some good friends, a couple in particular, and we were treasuring our final moments with them. I think we all knew the good-bye was approaching, and this allowed us to push into our rapidly expanding intimacy with a little more courage than an expanse of time allows. Tyler, walking with our Brazilian lawyer friend tested and expanded the limits of language barriers Continue reading
I have a confession to make: I started writing the post “Bilbao: Part 2″ as a follow up to last week’s reflections on the Guggenheim, but I found myself stalled…as I have done each week I’ve sat down to try to write about the Camino. Something strange happens each time I try; I get this drive to summarize the experience of the week with the lesson it taught me. I don’t know why I do this. I know consciously that these experiences matter – have meaning, impacted me, had their own power, etc… – regardless of whether or not there’s a “take home” to take home. And yet each week this odd compulsion takes over and I find myself pressed to sum the stories up neatly with something I learned. I don’t know if this compulsion is annoying those of you who are kind enough to read…but it’s annoying me! And here’s why:
I have wanted to visit Bilbao since I first studied Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum there in my undergraduate Art History degree. This was the building that inspired my love of Gehry – of architecture in general, really – and I fantasized about one day visiting this fishing town in Basque country with glee as I memorized all the pertinent facts and theories for my final exams. I remember being captivated by the fact that Bilbao was not – at the time of the building’s construction – one of Spain’s more major cities. And so it was like the underdog won the competition for the fancy art collection and fancy architectural design. And I loved that piece of the story – I wanted to visit an temple of aesthetics in a place where no one really expected it to be. Indeed, while Tyler wanted to do the Northern route to be near the ocean, I wanted to do it so I could walk to Bilbao. It really was the first pilgrimage of my pilgrimage. Continue reading