BILBAO: A BASQUE COUNTRY STORY
Our next journey to Bilbao was long but we needed a rest, so those hours of sleep were received as a blessing. When we arrived to Bilbao we were very much surprised with the beauty and spaciousness of the city, nobody expected to find so much charm in a place other than Barcelona! We arrived to our hotel and then went straight to the Deusto University to have lunch and enjoy a siesta on the grass as authentic Spanish lizards would.
After that however, it was time for a debate with representatives of different political parties as PP and PSOE (finally present at our debates after a long series of previous cancellations), Recortes Cero, and for the first time in our odissey, regional nationalist political parties: PNV (Nationalist Basque Party) and the Bildu coalition. It was a heated debate and unfortunately, at times the European Elections topic gave way to local tensions between the centrist and the separatist opinions among politicians. It required quite some effort to take this issue off the table, but we managed to direct the debate towards more relevant topics after all.
After the debate we went to the city-centre with posters, balloons and flyers, to spread awareness among Basque citizens on the European elections. We expected them to be more receptive, but faced a barrier of indifference instead. We often wondered if that was owed to the obvious wealth of the Basque inhabitants, which seemed less affected by the crisis, than their other peers. The impression some of us shared was that people were quite well-off and didn’t care about what happened beyond the Country’s border. Dangerous as it is to generalise or draw conclusions based on impressions, though, we agreed these are pure hypothesis which might well turn out to be wrong. On a more optimistic note, despite the hardships, we did register some success in convincing citizens of the importance the EP elections have. Some voices say it has something to do with the flower wand that a mysterious creature called the European Union Fairy carries around Spain… who knows…
The evening – and later the night – in Bilbao were impressive, the city has endless places to discover and we enjoyed it very much as we kept on with our street actions. Work hard, play hard! And sleep hard if you can. The bus tour continues!
Julia Ramos, Barcelona (non-AEGEE member) – participant