Leaving the country side, and saying good bye to this Hotel is not easy. We are sad to leave. We enjoyed one last amazing breakfast and view.
Today we are heading back to the city of Bilbao, with a small detour to a mountain town called Axpe, Spain. For lunch we are going to Etxebarri. The grill master. Finding this place was no easy task. This was the first and only time we got lost the whole trip. The restaurant is tucked back in a mountain town, so small it seems even the locals don’t know it exists.
Ryan absolutely LOVED this place! He ordered the tasting menu, and fortunately I didn’t have to they split some dishes so I could sample too. I watched him indulge in course after course of grilled deliciousness. We ate fresh, grilled sardines, bone in beef, octopus, homemade goat milk butter on grilled bread, whole prawns, cod, sea cucumber, house made chorizo on polenta. Every dish had a perfect combination of char, oil and salt with a subtle, spot on accompaniment.
The bone-in beef is the highlight here and was sweet and charred on the outside and decadent on the inside. It was almost like a desert. The actual desert was cheese ice cream with a fresh berry sauce, flawless. Ryan felt this was the most impressive meal we had. I had a huge filet that was grilled on an open flame and sampled many of Ryan’s dishes.
After our meal we continued on, to make it to the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Disappointingly, a good majority of the exhibits were closed for new installs. The grounds and the building itself were worth every penny. Our hotel Gran Hotel Domine was a rock throw away from the museum. It made it really convenient for the short time we were there to take in as much of the museum as we could. Some of the installations were very impressive. The permanent exhibits complimented the architecture and abundance of modern designs.
When we checked into our hotel for the evening the bell man taking us to our room, asked if “we like football?” “Yeah, we like football” He let us in on a little secret that the Real Madrid soccer team was staying at our hotel and will be arriving shortly. The anticipation of the most famous soccer team arrival had everyone excited. The hotel closed down the lobby and had everything roped off. Police and security lined the streets and all the entrances to the hotel. Since we were staying at the hotel we and a few others were the only ones in the lobby. It was so fun to join in the fans cheering on the team when they arrived.