Always wanted to see the Prado and Picasso’s Guernica. Accomplished both today. But first some comments on Madrid.
Madrid is a beautiful city. The streets are almost as clean as in Switzerland. I wish high schools were this clean. The drivers are aggressive but follow the rules unlike Italy. It gives a pedestrian a sense of security. The restaurants, snack bars and other derivations are efficient. Did I mention that the people are as friendly as the English. Not quite up to the Irish, but close. If I spoke more Spanish, they would probably be. Peggy asked some complete strangers for a taste of their tapas. They shared with both of us.
Almost forgot. The garbage men sing at 3 AM. Quite a concert. Maybe people don’t litter to keep these guys away from their,homes.
There are beggars but they know the limits. Peggy carries small coins for distribution. The place is inundated with school groups, domestic and foreign. They do clog the museums in clots. Fun to watch bored students fall asleep standing while the lady/man with the umbrella tries to entertain them. We generally time our visits to the blockbuster sights by waiting until the tour group tide recedes or beat the on rushing waves. Not bad.
Back to the museums
Naturally, the Prado deserves top billing and the energy to stay with it. It is a good one half of the AP Art History course in one place. Mentally and physically exhausting. Goya’s Black paintings were amazing. A man a century ahead of the art world. Finally met Velazquez, El Greco and Bosch in person. Books do not do the real stuff justice.
Most of the 20th century was a bummer for the Spanish. The Reina Sofia modern art Museum made that point in spades. I have to admit that I was almost as down as Peggy after a couple of hours. Guernica did not help. There were images of hope but they seemed to be accompanied by the squishing forces of oppression.
Still it was a memorable day I would repeat. Especially cool was eating breakfast Madrid style at a pastry and coffee bar sharing space with folks who have done the same thing for decades. A bit light for American tastes. Peggy warned me to not even think about the McDonalds across the street. The early afternoon lunch was massive. Now we know why the Spanish wait until late to eat.
I am going to load a few pictures without commentary. You can figure them out. Off to Segovia tomorrow.