Snappy Santander

I really had a few hours to visit the city before returning to the Bilbao Airport, but you will have more time certainly than me to enjoy the seafront and the historic centre.

Practical advice to get there

If you come from Bilbao, you can take the bus to the Bilbao Intermodal station, near the San Mames stadium. The station is downstairs, so you have to go down the escalators. You can buy the bus tickets at the automatic ticket machines or by the bus company app (ALSA).

Give importance to the sign displayed with the direction of the bus and always ask for confirmation of the destination. Sometimes it happened to me the monitor in the station signalled the bus at the wrong platform.

Seats are numbered on the bus, but not often in sequence. There is a video screen and a USB port for recharging. The journey is long and lasts about 1:30 h, and I paid about 6 € each way.

The Botin Center

I had only one goal this day: to visit the Centro Botín ( contemporary art centre, built by Renzo Piano, but along the way, I came across the cathedral which I invite you to admire.

The Centro space is beautiful. The architecture overlooks the sea and reflects the light and the glitter of the waves. The ticket costs € 4 if bought online, and the exhibitions are temporary.

During my visit, only on the first floor, I admired the exhibition of Roni Horn, an American artist, with site-specific installations. You couldn’t photograph his works, but it was better that way! I always have the phone in my hands, so I was able to enjoy the exhibition made up of a few pieces, two per room, but very carefully chosen.

The works that I appreciated the most are in particular four:

  • “Still Water (The River Thames, for Example)” (1999). The 15 photos of the water of the Thames which, like a sky, is dotted with numbers which correspond to poems, phrases, and literary quotations.
  • “Th Rose Prblm” (2015). Serigraphs of words, on-set phrases, and idioms written by different people who joined together, become a composition.
  • “Untitled (“The tiniest piece of mirror is always the whole mirror”)” (2022). Installation overlooking the sea composed of cylindrical sculptures in molten glass that change colour depending on the light.
  • “Saying Water” (2001). Sound installation. Sit back, relax, and listen to the sound of the artist’s words, reflections and Horn’s associations with water.

You can take a virtual tour here:

I managed to take photos of these statues near the Centre, and then I immediately returned to Bilbao.

On the way, the landscape from the bus delighted me, very green, luxuriant, and sometimes reminiscent of the pre-Alps with forests and cows on one side, and the sea and the cliffs on the other. I will definitely come back to enjoy this city better and I will check the flights more often!


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