Ahhhhh verano, cuando la lluvia finalmente parar en Pais Vasco. The weather was getting warmer, the sun was out, classes at the school were finished and I was finally coming into my own in Spain. It took me awhile to really feel confident with my Spanish, but the instant I got home from Semana Santa (Easter Break in late April), something just changed. All the sudden, I wanted to DO ALL THE THINGS. Maybe it was because I could see my time ending in Bilbao, maybe it was that I had started dating again or maybe it was simply the warmer weather, but summer in basque country was definitely the highlight of my time over there.
Once the rain stopped, Bilbao just became so much brighter to me and it seemed like there were different events and festivals happening every weekend. One of my favorite nights was Noche Blanca, where Bilbao was lit up with lights all around and the Guggenheim was free. One really cool thing the Guggenheim does is Art After Dark once a month, where the Guggenheim transforms into a discoteca for a night and is open until 2am. So usually, the younger crowd heads to the Guggenheim from 11pm-2am and then hops on the metro to go to Fever (the night club) before the metro closes at 2:30am and then just stays there until the metro opens back up around 6-7am. I did Art After Dark twice when I was in Bilbao, on weekends I wasn’t doing big trips the next week (remember, it’s all about balance!). Fever is not for everyone, but it’s something you have to experience if you are living in Bilbao!
Along with going out more, I started running and exploring Bilbao more and began realizing how absolutely beautiful daily life was in Bilbao. I used to run along The Nervión river from Duesto all the way to the coast near Algorta and stumbled across so many beautiful sights during the runs. And the best part about running along the river is that the metro runs pretty much along the river as well! So, if you end up running too far and are too tired to run back, you can easily find a metro stop and take the metro back.
I think summer in Basque Country is when I really started to appreciate being an expat. Yes, I was itching to leave Spain by the end of June and start my love affair with England; but during April, May and early June, life was good and I was adjusted. It was during that time that I realized that I liked being an expat more than I liked short term travel. Yes, doing weekend getaways is something I still love to do, but feeling a deeper connection with a place is amazing. By summer, I knew my favorite coffee spot, and my girlfriends and I had our weekly Sunday coffee chats to talk about the weekend, and I knew where to go if I wanted a quiet escape, and I went to the beach every sunny day I could to take advantage of it, and I made friends with the people at the local stores around me, etc. It was just a really good time in my life and when I really fell in love with expat life.
Do you prefer expat life or short term travel? Have you ever experienced a turning point during a time you were living abroad?