Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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24 hours in Bilbao


When I first brought up visiting the Spanish city of Bilbao, most people’s reactions were a bit ‘eh’, after all it was unfairly nicknamed ‘el boxto’ the hole. Best known for the Guggenheim museum pictured above, but yet it really shouldn’t be. There is a lot more to this fascinating town from the cool ‘pod-like’ Metro entrances to the delicious pinxtos that I was obsessed with, and though I might have only spent 24 hours there during our #winteroadtrip from the south of France to portugal and back, it definitely impressed me enough to want to write about it.

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We arrived in the late afternoon from Lisbon, Portugal without a clue or a map on what to do. We were staying at the Hotel Miro in front of the Guggenheim museum, a really interesting boutique modern hotel designed by Spanish designer Antonio Miró in a great location in town – the ‘golden mile’. Not to mention the awesome eye-popping view of the museum from our window, and our awesome free slippers that I of course still wear today ;-).

Hotel Miro

Address: Alameda Mazarredo, 77, 48009 Bilbao, Vizcaya, Bizkaia, Spain
Phone:+34 946 61 18 80



We left our things in haste so to see as much of Bilbao as fast as humanly possible and headed towards the Casco Viejo (old town center) about 30 minutes walking. I highly recommend moving around this town on foot because this city is a visual feast (at least to me). Modern shops everywhere in sight, the atmospheric was pretty electric just a few days after the new year when we were there – people having fun, taking walks and eating out. I liked the feeling of a city that just feels alive, modern and young – and that Bilbao is.

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The mission that night was to show Nico just how amazing pinxtos are (tapas in the Basque country), these tiny bites of heaven are the kind of food that you dream about – or at least I dream about them. A variable gastronomic success and something that makes ‘tasting’ an art form.


The combinations of flavors, mousses, attractively arranged on a plate are just remarkable. We stopped at Bilbao’s Plaza Nueva and ordered a few choices each accompanied with Txakoli {pronounced Chacolí} a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine that they pour from above, really fun to watch! The best idea is to go to a few different places and do a sort of mini-food-tour, it’s cheap and a great way to get to know local cuisine — and the city!


The vibe in Plaza Nueva the night we were there was fantastic, a real festive atmosphere and it looked like gift giving was still in full force even though it was well past Christmas. There is just something about the Basque country that I really really love, I can’t really explain it but it’s without a doubt a region so full of culture & art, and happy people who know how to live, plus their fab affordable food. We slowly made our way back to Hotel Miro for a good nights rest before visiting the Guggenheim the next morning.

Of course breakfast was absolutely amazing, guests can make their own mimosas and eat churros {which of course I did}.


Visiting Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum was somewhat of a pivotal moment. I had been to the Basque country before, but I really was bummed not to visit Bilbao and this museum at that time. Now a few year’s later – I finally was able to make it happen.

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This museum is the kind of place that you can’t take your eyes off of. The curves of this building is entrancing, it really is like a drug. I knew about this place from working at an architectural media firm that produced a really cool film series meant to make you examine the way modern architecture is used in daily life. The film titled Gehry’s Vertigo touches on the cleaning crew who bravely navigates the Guggenheim’s tall curved and long slopes to clean this difficult work of architectural art. The series is really quite fascinating and I recommend checking it out if you get the chance. Here is the link. 


We actually spent a lot of time looking at the building, outside there was a really neat smoke installation that carried onto some of the public pavilions surrounding the museum. Plus who doesn’t love a gigantic looming spider?

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While I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the art, I did sneakily snap this one on my phone of Richard Serra’s exhibit ‘A Matter of Time’ using curved sheets of steel, not easy to say the least! It’s easy to get lost and/or confused in this exhibit.


While a lot of the permanent art was a bit out of our realm of understanding, I did enjoy this museum. I think of it as the kind of place you go with an open mind, and at least in my case, the building itself served as a much more interesting protagonist than I could have ever imagined.

Guggeheim Museum, Avenida Abandoibarra, 2 48009 Bilbao. 10am – 8pm (closed on Monday). Adults: 13 € admission.

Places I wish I could have seen: I heard the El Museo de Bellas Artes has many impressive artworks by Spanish artists, the Apetit Gallery hosts contemporary & street art. Also the Alhóndiga Bilbao, Philippe Starck’s transformation of an early twentieth-century wine warehouse into a cultural centre with a swimming pool that boasts a transparent floor. So cool! 

*Disclaimer – My partner and I were guests of Hotel Miro in Bilbao but trust that all opinions and thoughts 100% are my own. 

Ps. even leaving Bilbao is cool, this place is a modern architecture lover’s heaven!

Also, being the curious gal that I am – have you been to Bilbao? I’d love to know what you think about this city? 


Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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  • Avatar
    Lulu Abruzzo 25.03.2014 at 10:46

    I haven’t been to Bilbao before, but it looks brilliant fun. All the things I like in a place are there.

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 25.03.2014 at 10:54

      I think people give this a hard time because they really don’t know anything about it, but it’s actually pretty awesome. Plus you can combine this with a trip to San Sebastian quite easily!!

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    Gil 25.03.2014 at 23:38

    never been there, but your post made it feel like I was traveling along with you. Everything looks so clean!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 26.03.2014 at 9:38

      Thanks Gil, and you’re right! It was a very clean city!

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    Delicious Europe Travels 27.03.2014 at 3:12

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve always wanted to go to the Basque region of Spain because I hear it is a food lovers paradise and now I want to go ever more after looking at your pictures! How did you find the weather? I hear that it rains more often compared to the rest of Spain.

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 29.03.2014 at 12:55

      I highly recommend visiting Bilbao, we got lucky with the rain during our trip, it was just a few days after January and it was rain free!

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    Victoria 30.03.2014 at 19:40

    I lived in Bilbao last year and this has brought back so many amazing memories, El Museo de Bellas Artes is really good as well and free on Wednesday afternoons which is a bonus. The Alhóndiga is really cool, it’s a shame you didn’t have the time to see more. If you get the chance to go back there’s so much more that The Basque Country has to offer, I’ve written about a lot of it on my blog.

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 31.03.2014 at 20:11

      Thanks for the tips, I really wish I could have stayed longer as well! I spent some time in the Basque Country as well (the French part as well as San Sebastián) and I adore it. I am sure I will find my way back there again and I will certainly check your blog out 🙂

  • Avatar

    I love architecture and have always wanted to see the Bilbao museum building. It looks very cool from your photos, but I love that there are so many other interesting architectural details in the city.

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      GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 8:53

      The city is an architectual dream if you ask me :), the Guggenheim just being one. I wish I could have spent more time exploring every nook and cranny but at least I know to come back the next time we head over to the Basque country.

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    Christine 28.09.2014 at 12:40

    If you can fall in love with Bilbao on a wet, rainy day, imagine how beautiful it is in the sun! I’ve been living there the past 2 years and the city never ceases to amaze me. I hope you’ll be back to explore it in more depth, as well as the beautiful Basque towns.

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 28.09.2014 at 13:00
        Christine, I know I would love it even more and I really want to come back and experience the city a bit more slowly. I loved wandering the old town and just marveling at these cities that so many people have really never thought of visiting. Are you based permanently from there now? Perhaps we can meet up the next time I’m in town!

    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!


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