Keen motorcyclist Cllr Rooney got on his bike for his holidays by riding to the Basque country where his visit prompted a sharing of history and culture.
The two places share much in common, being in the north of their respective countries, being industrialised, having a world class modern art gallery and at the heart of both stands a transporter bridge.
As a gesture Cllr Rooney packed up some mementoes of the Tees Transporter Bridge for the team at the Vizcaya/Puente Colgente Bridge in Bilbao.
During his visit, commemorations were ongoing to mark the 80th anniversary of the bridge being blown up during the Spanish Civil War in 1937.
The Vizcaya is 18 years older than the Transporter, having been built in 1893 with the Tees crossing following in 1911.
Cllr Rooney was invited onto the radio to speak about the similarities between the two regions and their bridges.
He said: “It was a great trip and wonderful to see another fine transporter bridge. Our Spanish friends were really interested in Middlesbrough and the history of our own great bridge. One of them had been here before and loved it and others were keen on making the return journey.”