BILBAO BIZKAIA Be Basque
Having basked in summer sunshine, Jacinta from Travelbiz attended an exclusive presentation by Bilbao Bizkaia, supported by the Spanish Tourism Office of Dublin, headed up by indefatigable Manager Ruben Lopez and his team. Held in EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum on Dublin’s CHQ, Custom House Quay where we were treated to the first ever opportunity to explore the fascinating region of the Basque Country with a sensorial tour of the sights sounds and flavours of the area. A colourful and vibrant presentation of Bilbao – the city, urban experiences, the surroundings, surprising landscapes, the culture and food were all portrayed in tantalising fashion. Bilbao is capital of the Bizkaia Province and its byline is: Be Basque. Having its own unique language, the region is also immensely proud of its association with the Camino (the Northern Pilgrim’s Way). In addition, what they term ‘nanogastronomy’ has made pintxos (akin to Tapas) world famous, so foodies are guaranteed heavenly bites. Avant-garde architecture and its most shining beacon, the stunning Guggenheim Museum, designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, is indisputably Bilbao’s most iconic edifice. Galleries, museums and contemporary artistic pursuits are everywhere though, so Bilbao has seen an explosion of art endeavours. Amazing nightlife, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, wonderful coastline, endless festivals and proximity to Rioja for wonderful wines, Bilbao really does seem to have it all. The trade Workshop in EPIC showcased great accommodation options from super 5 star hotels to delightful rustic properties, aimed at the high end traveller or rustic hiker. Connectivity to Bilbao is excellent with Aer Lingus operating direct flights from Dublin and Suzanne Meade from Brittany Ferries advised me that they operate the only seaborne service between Ireland and Spain connecting Rosslare with Bilbao. Des Abbott won the perfect prize of the night with return flights to Bilbao Bizkaia, fabulous hotel and dinner in a Michelin star restaurant. He’ll be basking in summer sunshine in Bilbao.