After a quiet flight of about 90 minutes the plane lands in Bilbao, Spain. It looks a bit rainy, or foggy, hard to say. Since I’m in a seat way at the front, I can exit the plane pretty efficiently and, admiring the design of the building, make my way to the luggage carrousels and then to the bus stop. This is a pretty looking building no matter from where you stand, designed by Santiago Calatrava (he of the impressive train station in Luik, Belgium) and built in 2000. People overlook airports and train stations because they’re focused on getting somewhere, but the size requirements often make for grand architecture. I order a bus ticket in my best bad Spanish and then join the crowd. All seats taken, but I don’t mind, I prefer standing smack in the middle and focusing on the road ahead, to avoid getting nauseated. Google says it’s about half an hour and I get off at the first stop.
A bit hungry, I haven’t eaten much before the flight, it’s a tricky balance. I get nauseous either way, but just how much depends on the stomach and I’ve determined the ideal filling rate through experiments over the years. Hence: always hungry after flights. I stop at one of the many bars in the center and have a tiny but tasty sandwich for 2,5 €. I amazed at how many people are on the terraces having wine, but then I realize that right now, 2 pm, is actually lunch time and they’re all getting ready to eat.
When I call my mom for a status update, she’s still an hour or so out, ready to ride down to the center from the surrounding hills. We decide to meet at the bicycle store so that we can get started on organizing the bike shipment for later this week. I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I get there, the store is closed on its lunch break from 13:30 to 16:00. I turn on my heels and ask for a table on the nearest terrace. Mom arrives 20 minutes later, coasting in on her loaded bike, looking surprisingly chipper for somebody who did 961 elevation meters today alone! We sit down for a relaxed lunch, sharing a delicious Wagyu T-bone steak (1,3 kg) and some delicious wine: a red Rioja blend and a small bottle of Txakoli sweet wine. I love this corner of Spain, the people are friendly, the hills green and the food is just so.. delicious! Will need more synonyms soon.
We spend the rest of the day getting organized. The bike store has a box and is willing to play pick-up point. We take the metro to a stationary store to buy two packing boxes and sturdy tape, stop at a grocery store for some essentials and then sit down at our Airbnb kitchen table to do paperwork. Send out the form for the DHL pick-up, write the blog post, sort the pictures.