Four must-do winter plans in Bilbao
This is something not to be missed.
A meal of good beans, the museum of the Dolomites in Karrantza, the final round of the mano parejas and the choirs of Santa Águeda.
Evert land offers travellers its own personal gifts in the form of experiences.
Certain winter pleasures hidden in Bizkaia, however, are difficult to find elsewhere.
Among them, the bean with the Euskal Babarruna denomination of origin. They are the main protagonists of the winter pots and pans. Small, kidney-shaped and shiny red beans, with a flavoursome texture. They were brought from America, and have been cultivated for centuries, often together with corn.
They even appear in the earliest recipe books. From November on, it is common to gather around a stew of delicious beans accompanied by a tray of sacramentos consisting of chorizo, bacon, vegetable blood sausage and pork rib.
Good wine, good talk. Maybe some piparras. And the whole world can come to a standstill.
2. Museum of the Dolomites
Visitors have a good excuse to discover the ever-vigorous landscapes of Enkarterri, to visit the Armañon Nature Reserve and to explore the unique Pozalagua cave.
The unloading station of the former Dolomite factory was declared Cultural Asset in 2002. The visit give you the chance to go back in tie to the moment when the factory played a very important role in Bizkaia’s industry and to get to know the Industrial Heritage in a different way. Barrio Ambasaguas, unnumbered KARRANTZA (Bizkaia).
T. 696 44 63 01. Call in advance.
The entrance fee is very cheap.
3. Final round of the mano parejas
Although cesta punta is the most globalised pelota vasca modality, and even the pala and paleta have crossed more borders, the modality that drives the frontons of Bizkaia crazy is the mano.
And, within the 22-goal non-tool matches, it is the pair matches, over and above the singles and the dazzling variety of the cuatro y medio, that bring the spectators to boiling point. Classification rounds start in autumn, however, during the winter months, the final stages of the championship that matches the best professional pelotaris are played. Most of the matches are played in fronton courts in Bizkaia.
At least two of the play-off clashes will take place in February in Amorebieta-Etxano and Bilbao, the latter also hosting one of the semi-finals in March.
All the big frontons are surprising, especially the Bizkaia, in Bilbao.
4. The choirs of Santa Águeda
Every 4th February, from dawn until late at night, whether it is a public holiday or a working day, groups of singers in traditional dress go out to perform, grouped in more or less wide circles, the songs in honour of Saint Agatha. They do it in Basque and while they keep the rhythm by banging thick wooden sticks on the floor.
Follow one of them and enjoy the songs and percussion, often accompanied by bells. Leave your coins in the wallet shown to you, the waistpouch: all proceeds are donated to charity.
Gastronomy and art associated in a unique atmosphere for your senses.
A Michelin star in the center of Bilbao.
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