Spain vs France

I am falling asleep as I write this. The city is asleep as well…Leaving Loyola this morning was kinda sad. After the wonderful performances of last night, first singing during the Basque Mass, then climbing up to the dome and singing from there and then having our young organist jam the pipes in the Basilica, it was time to move on to our last stop of the tour, the port of Bilbao. 15 minutes out of Loyola and already on the highway,  Jorge merrily moved down the toll road toward Bilbao, a car was racing up behind us. Jorge recognized the driver as the manager of the Loiola Hotel. We pulled off the divided highway and found out that the manager  discovered a concert dress belonging to one of the kids (who shall remain nameless) and wanted to return it right away. The exchange was made on the highway and we were off again. This type of generosity and kindness has been shown to us twice since we crossed the border into Spain. Pretty freakin’ cool.

By 1 p.m. we were in Bilbao, the birthplace of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. and Jorge our bus driver since Paris. What a great town! Jorge our companion took us on a tour of his hometown. He drove us to a look out and we saw the entire city stretched out below us. Then he drove us around showing us the hot spots describing things in Spanish to Cecilia who translated for me who then translated for the kids sitting in the back of the bus. It was all pretty dandy.

He dropped us downtown and we had about 2 hours to find lunch and explore. Each little group went its separate way and agreed to join up at a certain time so we could make it to the Guggenheim for our afternoon tour. I hung out with Chad and the kids who had just graduated from S.I.  three weeks ago. It was a relaxing time after the hectic schedule we had kept since Venice.

Our tour guide at the 15th anniversary year of the Guggenheim was Mikel and in spite of his accent gave a pretty interesting tour of the fabulous and unique building.  His take on the David Hockney exhibition was especially intriguing. Just as an aside, did you know that Hockney in his old age is still experimenting with the painting medium by producing paintings from his iPad? Neither did I. And actually, they looked pretty good. Much has been written about the Guggenheim so any words that I can add would really fall short. It is midnight right now so I tend to ramble.

The museum is right across the river from the Jesuit college and the Arrupe Bridge spanning the river.

Off to dinner at the Casa Vasca. I thought it was great. Very classy place. What was different was the dessert, it was a Basque version of Baked Alaska…mmmm good.

Back at the hotel the kids hung out in one room to watch the end of the Spain vs. France game. It was a great way to end our last day in Spain on this tour. This is a great group of kids. They are dedicated to their music and to each other. I, for one, will miss them. But that doesn’t mean I will be going back to teaching high school any time soon. Quite frankly I’d like to stay in Spain and teach ESL. But that is another story for another time…

We fly out of here at noon tomorrow (Sunday) and should arrive at SFO around 7 p.m. There is a combination of sadness and joyous feelings happening at the same time here in Bilbao. Tomorrow’s entry will show up around 9 p.m. PDT from Menlo Park.

and so we sang and sang and sang…