September 13, 2015.
“A foreign student’s life in Bilbao”
After a week in Bilbao I have been learning many things about the Spanish culture. Therefore, I have been trying to use their slang and other verbs. Many things I’m used to say in Spanish are not often used here in Spain, so I would like to get used to while I’m living here. For example: instead of saying “caminar”, I started to say “andar” in order to say “to walk”, and this is just a sneak peak.
Despite I love traveling, I can’t do it every week due to homework. Traveling so far to study here in Spain wasn’t easy, and I want to give my best of this lifetime opportunity. However, to have a break from classes I decided to visit near places from Bilbao. That’s why I started attending the ESN Bilbao meetings and events as great chance to meet new people either locals or foreign students.
Nonetheless, I do need time alone to re charge and travel solo. That’s why last Friday I decided to travel to a city called Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital city of the Basque Autonomous Community. Why did I choose this city? First, because I needed to travel somewhere close to home because I had homework due on Moday; second, because I heard someone saying that Vitoria wasn’t worth it to visit. Every time I hear someone saying they didn’t like the city for superficial reasons, I become more curious to test the argument. That Friday, I finished class around 1:30 p.m, and I literarily run to get my bus and food (well, sweets I admitted).
When I got off from the bus, I got a bit lost. Being lost is not a problem for me, you just ask people where is the center, they are not going to eat you just for asking. Then, try to memorize how to get back at time to get the bus for your way back. If you don’t trust your brain, take a few pictures and notes on your phone.
Vitoria has a very small city center, which is a great opportunity to discover it. My favorite part was the Old Town; it has medieval streets merged with contemporary graffiti. First, if you arrived by bus you are likely to explore the city from la Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, where you have an invitation to relax and to have a peaceful walk. Cozy cafe-bars, and white-vintage balconies surround the Plaza; if you walk cross, you can go straight to the Iglesia de San Miguel, where you can start a journey into time, all the way back to the enamoring streets from the medieval age.
My jaunt was like this:
- First I stopped at the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca.
- Then I walked through the Plaza de España, where you can find the Town Hall and Tourist Office, they will provide you maps and important information.
- As you go up toward the stairs your journey to the Medieval Streets has just started, The Old Town is located up from the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, therefore you will find a marvelous view of this plaza. Then, keep walking towards Los Arquillos, a great architecture piece.
- After that, you can go to the Iglesia de San Vicente, there’s a nice promenade around it, I enjoyed so far.
- Then, I walked to El Portalón, one of my favorite buildings with a medieval and gothic touch, for me this characteristic makes it so divergent from the other buildings.
- The city wall, yes the Old Town of Vitoria is also surrounded by a wall; therefore, you can take another perspective of the city from above.
- Finally, after visiting all these places, I decided to walk around without specific directions. This route took me to Correría, Zapatería and Herrería streets. The alluring fact about them is the graffiti art in the cozy narrow streets, some of these interconnected with hills, so you won’t see cars inside the Old Town.
- If you are looking for: a small town, medieval architecture, cozy streets, green parks, good bars and restaurants, Vitoria will suit you.
Don’t over stress to plan in advance a trip to Vitoria, just set the date and get amazed by the town. Vitoria was worth the visit, a one-day trip was enough to chill out and relax, so AUPA Vitoria!