On July 8, we opened a new cycle of guided visits to shops with the history of Bilbao. They have been organizing weekly visits to establishments with tradition for more than 11 years in an experience that is as original as it is enriching. Unfortunately, there are less and less left, but you can still visit and shop in stores that opened their doors more than 100 years ago. In some cases, those who currently run them are the direct heirs who opened their businesses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And logically, with so many years behind him, his career is marked by anecdotes, experiences and experiences in step with the evolution that the city of Bilbao itself has been experiencing. In the image, the visitors of the aforementioned July 8, who visited such emblematic shops as Loterías Azkarreta, from 1911, Ultramarinos Gregorio Martín, a shop that opened its doors to the public in 1931, Cestería Alonso, from 1900. In Azkarreta, Cristina worked as hostess and told us a thousand and one anecdotes related to the lottery and the most bizarre requests of some clients. From there, we moved to the establishment run by Luis, who illustrated us about why cod is so closely linked to Bilbao’s gastronomy, as well as many other anecdotes about his business.
And in Cestería Alonso, Itxaso discovered the secrets of his wicker world and its evolution over the years. As in each store they kindly spend a good time telling us a thousand adventures, almost two hours had passed since we started the visit, so we finally crossed the Arenal bridge and stopped at the legendary Café Iruña, a classic from 1903 and unique. current survivor of that Bilbao of coffees and long after-hours and social gatherings. At the Iruña, delicious pintxos and a glass of Bilbao water helped us recharge our batteries, before saying goodbye and ending the appointment. And speaking of appointments, we cannot forget the great Xabier Lexartza, our guide, who accompanies us from the beginning of the visit until it ends. With its magnificent explanations, it welcomes us at the beginning of each visit, it contextualizes the city with the environment in which we will immerse ourselves (the Old Quarter of Bilbao) and it narrates the history of its streets and its people from time immemorial. Xabier takes advantage of wonderfully the space that separates us from one shop to the next to visit to enlighten us about the history of Bilbao and its old town, all accompanied by anecdotes and the most picturesque passages, which make the more than two hours that each lasts visit will pass us in a sigh. More visits, on July 15, July 22 and July 29. And, how could it be otherwise when things are going so well, practically thanks to word of mouth all the places are already covered.