Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Morning walkabout, Casco Viejo

The plan was to walk around Casco Viejo in the morning (in Spain mañana extends to the afternoon ;) ) First, we need some breakfast. We headed for the market, hoping to find a café inside, but the only one that was there appeared abandoned. There was no sign on the door. So, I'm not sure if they were closed for their holidays and was doing some renovation work or the crisis had hit them.

The Ribera market itself is interesting. It must be the most spacious market I've been in. Perhaps the lack of columns and the illumination contribute to this feeling, or perhaps it gets really busy when the locals come back from their summer holidays. The building looks fresh so renovation must have been completed not that long ago. The goods they sell look equally fresh, especially the fish! But, we haven't got a kitchen...

You could see the photos I took of the market in this post.

We decided to have breakfast in a café across the market, Palacio Arana. I think we were clobbered. Some cafés (and this is one of them) offer a reduced price for set breakfasts but we were charged for individual items. 3 breakfasts of toast & croissant: €16.45. If you want breakfast, go somewhere else; go to Plaza Santiago, where there are a few. Café Liverpool is supposed to be quite decent. I went once to Bizvete, and they were good. Opens early. They offer all kinds of milk, including skimmed and lactose-free.

It's actually quite difficult to walk around Casco Viejo, because the streets criss-cross each other, and you're likely to either go around in a circle or go too far out and you won't want to turn back. In any case, the streets of the old quarter look pretty similar, full of shops and restaurants. We just walked around, doing a bit of shopping, until we decided to eat because it was getting late.

Casco Viejo, Bilbao
Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo, Bilbao
Colourful shop window
Where we stopped for lunch was Hatari. You can do worse than this. It wasn't bad. We weren't very hungry and we didn't want to spend much. They were advertising their menu of the day for €10.90, which was decent. When I found out that they also offer half a menu of the day, even better. For this, you can opt for either the starter or the main course. The menu includes bread, drinks and dessert. Unfortunately, half menu doesn't mean half the price of the whole! They didn't say that nor did I ask. I guess I foolishly assumed that half would mean half the price. The starter half menu was €6.50, and the main course half menu was €7.50.

Food was nothing to shout about, but it was fine. Service was ok, too.

We carried on walking after lunch and the only interesting event was this group protesting over some thing or another. Probably against traffic would be my guess. Bilbao, in fact, has cycle lanes everywhere, so I'm not sure what they're complaining about.

Street photography, Bilbao
Bikers protesting about something