Gordon:  After an early morning climb over a minor pass, we spent most of the morning on a gentle downhill roll into Bilbao.  This region was an important industrial area in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and there are some unattractive reminders of that era.  The last 30 kilometres into Bilbao was on a busy highway through an uninterrupted landscape of industrial enterprises and housing blocks.  However, Bilbao itself was a pleasant surprise.  It was wealthy during the 19th century, and most of the central district is comprised of beautiful buildings from this period.  There has been some redevelopment of former industrial land in recent years, so some unapologetically modern buildings are throw into the mix.  The best known of these is of course the Guggenheim museum, which really is quite a visual treat to walk around.  We did not actually view the contents of the Guggenheim, having already spent a considerable time in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.  This is the sort of regional art gallery we really enjoy, with a good survey of art since the medieval period, including minor works by major artists such as El Greco.

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