El_Txe_A takes us around the northern Spanish city of Bilbao to show us the best place to eat and drink and where he likes to go shopping.
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We're back in Spain for this weeks My City Guide, travelling to the mountain city of Bilbao, one of the largest metropolitan areas in Northern Spain. Our guide is musician and DJ El_Txe_A. Despite his code heavy sounding name, El_Txe_A's main purpose, when it comes to his music, is to create a sound that people can relate to.
He steers clear of the monotonous churning out of albums, instead focusing on the creativity of his music and his weekly shows around America and Europe.
Where's the best place for a first date?
I guess I would choose to go to the rooftop of the Silken Gran Hotel Domine. They have a really nice brunch and the views of the Guggenheim museum are something special.
Where's your preferred place to chill and clear your head?
Not so far from Bilbao there's Urdaibai. It's a biosphere reserve and where I grew up. I'm originally from Gernika and if I'm not involved on a long tour every week I go with my dad for a long walk through the mountains and the look at the ocean.
It's very peaceful and beautiful. The mountains end at the sea and the other way round. It's needed when you live in a city or you travel and live the fast life.
Where serves the best breakfast?
People may think that they can find me having breakfast at fancy hipster cupcake place, but the truth is that I love going to Pentxo’s Restaurante. I was working with a Mexican musician here in Bibao and we used to go every morning. He'd freak out, going, “Man this is the cosmic breakfast. Orange juice, coffee and squid?".
Yes I know it's kind of weird, but I love that mix. They also make the best Spanish omelet in town. But the best thing is that you don’t need to wait till 11.am to have cooked food.
Where's your favourite place to have a quiet drink?
There is a place with a classic touch called the Sir Winston Churchill pub. It's not in the area I usually hang out in, but it's so classy. During the week it's perfect to forget your day-to-day routine.
It feels like you're time traveling when you see the leather sofas and the classic carpet. Definitely the perfect place for a deep conversation and they make very good cocktails with a lot of passion.
Where's your favourite place to have a messier night?
In Bilbao we love to have messy nights, and definitely my favourite place to have one is at the Ander Etxea. It's a small and classic family bar where they serve the best vermouth I have ever tasted. It’s funny because everyone that enters the Ander Etxea orders a vermouth - it's like they don’t have any other drinks.
Everyone takes their drink and goes outside to hang out and buys some seafood like sea snails. It's like a Basque brunch.
How would you describe your city's style?
Bilbao has a very elegant and refined style. It's also atemporal when it comes to fashion. Nowadays it's so 'in' to dress black, but in Bilbao we're wearing clothes inspired by so many decades.
There's also a big punk - rave background that sometimes reminds me of the UK rave style. Talking about the city in general it's extremely clean. When I walk around with people from other cities like Barcelona or Madrid, they freak out about the good condition of the city.
It's true that back in the day, not so far like in the 80’s, Bilbao was so industrial, grey and dirty. The river was a nightmare. We had some good changes though like the introduction of the Guggenheim Museum, but the city hasn't lost its essence and is so damn beautiful nowadays.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Definitely the Alde Zaharra or Casco Viejo. The old town of Bilbao is the place for shopping. You have a lot of small boutiques, and of course, you can stop for a break and a proper red wine if you get bored.
There are a lot of new local designers regenerating the city and it's so important for the culture as well as fashion I think. On the other side of the river there's Bilbao la Vieja where you can find so many multicultural shops, which I love.
What song sums up your city?
This is definitely the mood of the city.