May 2017, I wrote her:
At my hostel there are a group of Canadian theology students who, with their two university professors, are touring around Spain visiting churches for two weeks. They are a warm and erudite group, and I particularly like their professor, Jesus (yes, the irony isn’t lost on me!). One evening over some wine we talked at length about Bilbao, he had actually grown up one hour away from here. We discussed the Guggenheim and the way galleries have almost replaced churches. He suggested that the Guggenheim’s design, with its grand leading staircase, high ceilings, magnificent windows, and mythical archeticutral status, transforms it into site of pilgrimage. Going to see the art is often a ‘must’: not necessarily for the art itself, but just to say you have been there. To not visit it when in Bilbao is ‘sacrilege’.