TravelHoundz spain

Bilbao (10/16)

October 16th, 2006 · No Comments

With friends all over the world, I guess it’s only natural that we might be attending a wedding in Bilbao, Spain….but I never would have guessed it! Read below about our quick weekend Spanish getaway.


For photos, click here.


I never would have guessed that I would be attending a wedding in Bilbao, Spain. And I certainly never would have imagined that 20 of my classmates (or their significant others) from the Stanford GSB would also be there with me. But I guess this is what happens when you go to business school, join a ski house where you are the only student from the U.S., and attend Jazz Fest in New Orleans with a Dutchman, Israeli, Japanese, and Spaniard. And that is where I got to know Jaime Rodriguez. To be fair, we actually met during the “Global Exchange” program during our first quarter at the GSB. We were matched up to meet for coffee and exchange perspectives. But we really got to know each other over the two years, most especially while touring the French Quarter of New Orleans and listening to some great Jazz at the festival.

The wedding was so beautiful, and a completely different experience (dinner wasn’t served until 11pm…dancing started at 1am…and the night finished at 4:30am…) The wedding was held at the Casa de Misericordia and was a pretty traditional Catholic ceremony…except it was in Spanish, so who knows what we missed! And the reception was wonderful and held in a beautiful historical building called the Sociedad Bilbaina. Most of all though, it was so wonderful to have a mini-reunion with so many GSB classmates. All in told, there were 20 GSBers (and SOs) there from all over the world. (I’m not sure if Rio or Max wins the award for most miles flown to get to the wedding, from Tokyo v. Mexico City, respectively). Being with so many of our classmates made me realize how much I really miss the excitement of being around GSBers…I always knew it was a special experience, but I don’t think I really appreciated how amazing it is when you put a group of us in the same room…something really magical happens.

Of course, we did a little sightseeing while we were in Bilbao. I mean, we couldn’t possibly visit the city and not see the famous Guggenheim museum. I expected to hate the museum…really I did. But I found it incredibly intriguing and actually quite beautiful. The architecture really is something completely astonishing…and the art inside, well, lets just say that for modern art, it’s actually not that bad.

We also wandered around the Casco Viejo, the old neighborhood of the city. We met a big group of GSB classmates for tapas is the Plaza Nueva…and then afterward, Dan and I decided we were still hungry, so we went for Jamon Iberico at Victor Montez. It was superb!

We got really lucky and snagged a last minute deal on Expedia to stay at the Hotel Carlton. It’s still a place to see and be seen: Today you are likely to see such celebrities as Chelsea Clinton or Pierce Brosnan. In days of yore, it was Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, or Ava Gardner. In the Civil War, the hotel was the seat of the Basque government.

The best part was that the hotel was apparently overbooked, so they upgraded us to a two-room suite! (Don’t ask why they didn’t upgrade someone else who was paying the rack rate…I’m not complaining!) And it made up for the fact that we had to pay twice for our plane tickets…yes, you read that correctly. Important tip for anyone flying in Europe: almost all airplane tickets are completely non-changeable. This means no standby too! So if you miss your flight (because you overslept and the RER was having mechanical problems), too bad for you. You must purchase an entirely new ticket…at the walk-up full-fare rate. (That is unless you cry and explain the situation…then they might let you buy entirely new tickets at a discounted rate…which will still be more than what you probably paid for your tickets in the first place.) Yes, I am dead serious. Be careful about this one!

Tags: Spain

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