Saturday, March 04, 2006

February 26, 2006

Welcome to Bilbao----Basque Country

Last night when I arrived at the Renfe train station in Vizcaya, Bilbao, Spain, all I had to do to walk out to the lobby of the train station and asked the local security officer who was more than willing to help. In his attempt to help me, another lad, came by and asked where a pension might be…. the guard responded by saying, well he is looking for one too…why don’t you look together. And so once I made a successful call to the first pension on my list, we were on our way to La Estrella Pension.

Only two long flights of stairs for me and three flights from my new friend Arthur. He also likes being called Arturo. He also He had just arrived from a flight from Moscow. He barely spoke Spanish…and very little English. But he was a very nice man. After, we unpacked our bags we went for a walk around the local neighborhood, which was a bit scary. Arturo kept telling me that his grandparents used to live here, they had died and we were only six years old. Arturo’s language was a bit harsh to say the least…. I could not understand him at all. His voice and annunciation of words reminded me of count Dracula of the old Universal horror films. Arturo’s father is a prominent man. He is a counsel general for Russia in some city in Europe.

What was a bit ironic was that he was here for the same reason that I was here for. That was to find out more about our roots…I do not think it was coincidental that we met and walked over to the same Pension. Not one bit… After walking around for about an hour, we came across the property that he remembers as a child. It was just three blocks away from the place we were staying. Seeing his face was so thrilling. His twenty five year old hockey player’s face was that of a small boy. I told him that I was there too to research my family name in Bilbao and his response was to me “I was six years old when I last saw my grandparents”. “I know

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