On wednesday the 27th of April , it was our turn to visit our colleagues in Spain, Bilbao. We left in the morning at Brussels airport with nice temperatures and lots of sun. We were a little bit surprised when we landed at Bilbao national airport in rainy weather and temperatures not higher than 8 degrees! This was not what we expected from Spain, where the sun always shines!
Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed by Marisa at the airport, who took us to her home for a meal and a nice chat. After that we went to visit Marisa’s clinic where we met her colleague and took a tour around the facility and also helped at the consultation of some patients that were coming to the clinic. Later in the afternoon we went to visit a local winery, where they make the typical Basque wine known as ‘Txakoli’. We were received very well there and the tasting afterwards was fantastic!
We really became fans of the ‘txakoli’ wine!
After a walk above the cliffs of Getxo, near Bilbao, we went for a nice meal in the evening to a fine and typical Basque restaurant.
The next day we drove in land to visit a veterinary first and second line clinic where 3 vets and 3 nurses worked on several small animal cases. At that clinic Frida, who lives and works near Vitoria, joined us. We assisted an operation of a dog with mamma tumors and had a nice interaction on several topics regarding client approach, different diagnostic methods, diferent therapeutic methods.
Time was going fast and we continued the talking during lunch in a local restaurant. In the late afternoon we went further up into the mountains to visit a nice medieval town on the road to Vitoria –Gasteiz.
After a long ride in the evening we went back to Urduliz, where our hotel was located and where Marisa lives.
The next morning we went by local train to the centre of Bilbao, where we visited the magnificent Guggenheim museum and afterwards followed by a nice walk through the old inner city of Bilbao with the beautiful Plaza Mayor.
We took some nice Basque pintxos (= local tapas) in a bar at the Plaza Mayor. At around 3 pm we went to the conference centre for the Avepa Veterinary congres where we were invited as guests.
It was a very interesting congress with around 300 vets coming from all around Spain, all specialized in specific topics on small animal health. We especially liked the sessions about ophthalmology, brought by an American speaker and expert on these matters
On Saturday we had to say goodbye to our Spanish colleagues and friends to go to the airport for the road back
The exchange, organized by FECAVA is a very wonderful experience, that should be something many vets could be able to do. The extra value is high and one can learn a lot from each others methods on veterinary practice, the way of dealing with some veterinary problems and clients. But above all, the cultural exchange is really a fantastic experience. With lot of thanks to FECAVA and LABOKLIN!