Lamiako to Erandio, Bilbao, the Basque Country, Spain.

Any journey on the metro from the city centre to the riverside suburbs or small towns along the coast will reveal what remains of Bilbao’s once-enviable dependence on heavy industry, heavy industry which included shipbuilding, engineering and iron and steel manufacture. Much has been done in recent years to remove evidence of the abandoned rust-bucket industrial sites, but, between Lamiako in the north and Erandio in the south, enough survives to interest people with an affection for edgelands, sacrifice zones and similar rundown, marginal and shunned places (see an earlier post entitled “Edgelands and Sacrifice Zones: Turkey, United Kingdom, etc.” for a description of what an edgeland or sacrifice zone might be).

One overcast afternoon punctuated by heavy showers, I took the metro to Lamiako and walked south to Erandio, weaving back and forth to spend time beside the river, among old factories, crossing derelict plots of land or examining drab housing which once sheltered the families of the local industrial workers. There was much to admire, even where landscaping has left sterile patches of open ground, open ground which will be developed, I am confident, once Spain’s current economic malaise is overcome.

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