Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Guggenheim: A good reason to work out

Driving in Spain was not something I would say I succeeded at. Directions, even less so. Which was a major source of stress, and inevitably wasted time, before arrival and enjoyment of any given location.

Bilbao was probably the most extreme example of this. We drove around for what felt like hours trying to figure out how to get to the city center. Bouncing off (sometimes literally) freakishly big roundabouts...some more than once. Once near the city center we did laps around the Guggenheim. Laps. Paint the Budweiser logo on the car and we could have started our own euro-style NASCAR circuit. We could see the Guggenheim but how do we get there? Better yet, where was our hotel? And where can we park this godforsaken BMW so we can walk?!

After finally checking into the hotel with the car safely stashed in and underground parking ramp we receive the dreaded news....
--the Guggenheim closes in 45 minutes and is not open tomorrow due to it being a national holiday--

Thus starts the vacation version of transition. Up the elevator, deposit suitcases, grab essential items, and head out. No time for messing around, this was potentially once-in-a-lifetime stuff. We hit the pavement and it was a full on power walk for 15 minutes. No time for chatting, or pictures. This was all business. But with 30 minutes still on the clock we stared at the information booth agent in disbelief when she informed us they were no longer selling tickets. We had missed our window of opportunity. Sort of like being at mile 24 when the Ironman clock turns hour 17. No Guggenheim for us.

But I'm hesitant to write it off as a total negative.

First and foremost, its all part of the experience of the trip. The driving, the stress, the crazy roundabouts, all leading up to a sprint to the finish. It's one of those memories that will long outlive anything we might have seen inside that building.

It was also a good little reminder of how working out has benefits that trickle over into other avenues of your life. Had I been out of shape that might have been a really miserable, low-point of the trip. Instead, we were laughing as we sailed along to our target. Laughing at how completely chaotic and ridiculous the entire day had been, and how somehow this crazy sprint-finish was just par for the course.

And anyway, we were told that "the best views are from the outside."

I agree. But then, I may have a slight bias.

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