Long time ago El Arenal was a sandy shore were waters moved freely up and down. Fishermen who lived there sometimes found themselves surrounded by the ria. The thing they most feared then were the pirates that could came sailing up to the very doors of their houses. As centuries passed, the city grew seizing land from this natural landscape and trees were planted to consolidate the soil under their roots. It is said there were a great many of them even when the harbour was fully formed. William Bowles described the place as beautifull and magnificent in 1762. He also found great similarity between the basque folk and the people of Ireland, his homeland. The Nineteenth Century changed the Arenal into a port where steam ships would come and go carrying mineral ore and bringing in all kinds of goods and a nearby Boulevard where the local gentry would meet for business and pleasure.
At one edge of the Puente del Arenal, the Arenal Bridge, stands the Art Decó facade of the railway station called Station of the North (Estación del Norte)
This building was opened in 1913 for the Bilbao Society (Sociedad Bilbaina) who moved then from the Plaza Nueva in the Old Quarter where it had it's former seat.
Walking along the Arenal Bridge towards the Old Quartier, this is what we leave behind (up) and this what we see to our right (down)
The next photographt shows the left side of the bridge from our position. The Town Hall is at the bottom.
Now we are at the other side of the river moving around the Arriaga Theatre.
That's the back of the Arriaga Theatre we can see from this point
Next we'll move towards the Paseo del Arenal wih the theatre at our left
This is Saint Nicholas Church. It dates back to the Eighteenth Century.
And that thing up there is the lift that connects the Old Quarter to the upper neighbourhood of Begoña