It was the end of our trip. We were exhausted. I had reached the point where I was fighting off heat exhaustion (it was 100 and cloudless every day) by dreaming about the trip I would take Up North the following weekend.
Yes, there’s something sort of demented about that.
I think I would really like Madrid in the Spring or the Fall.
But coming down from the insanity of the Encierro, it was wonderful to be able to action a breakfasts in bed of Jamon Iberico and cheese while we watched ¡Viva Pamplona!
We were so pleased with the way our walking tour of Prague went, that we booked a free SANDEMANs NEW Europe tour here as well. That allowed us to see things like La Cibeles, Edificio de Correos and other Madrid landmarks. It was even moreso useful as a history lecture since neither Marcus nor I are well-versed in Spanish history.
Based on when we arrived in Madrid, a kind stranger on the bus informed us that from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM twice per week, entry to the Prado was free and Thursday happened to be one of those nights.
We probably could have spent an entire day at the museum, but we all know that sometimes a paucity of time is better. So it can be summarized as this: I Saw My First Works By Raphael And I Had No Idea That Was Going To Happen Until We Were Inside The Museum And I Practically Cried I Was So Happy.
I can’t remember why they let us in for free here (maybe because it was a slow day?) but the Museo Sorolla is a collection of paintings by Sorolla in his house. So kind of like Giverny en espanol.
There’s a really great private collection here that if I may be so blunt, is organized in a manner that is best described as Horrific.
But that’s water under the bridge since we were able to start out with a visit to the temporary Pisarro exhibition (you know, because I did not see enough of that while we were in Paris) that was just gorgeous.
The Universe has a sense of irony. That is the only possible way to explain how before seeing Picasso’s Guernica in the flesh, I was able to see all of his studies leading up to the work on display at the Guggenheim New York in January before I jetted off to Israel.
There was also a massive temporary Dali exhibit, so we were able to distract ourselves with melting clocks and other surrealist shenanigans.
We probably would not have made it here, had the walking tour not dropped us off directly in front of the palace. Our tour guide did not have very nice things to say about the tour, which turned out to be wholly unfounded.
If you had never visited a palace before, this would be a lovely introduction. If you have visited palaces before, what made this visit So Spectacular was the fact that one of the rooms was completely walled in ceramic. As in: Instead of wallpaper or paint, it was glass. It was dazzling.
In the same way that I am collecting Guggenheim visits, I am collecting Egyptian temples that were rescued when the Aswan High Dam was built.
What made this one So Much Better than the one that I saw at The Met? YOU COULD GO INSIDE. I almost died, y’all. I almost died. Someday, Cairo. Until then, we’ll just continue with this little charade.
Fabulous charcuterie plate (even though we were pretty much snow blind where cured meats were concerned at this point). Really phenomenal olives. Delightful sangria.
We came here because…Trip Advisor. It was touted as cheap. With honest to God free tapas. And a braised oxtail that we had to try because why not?
This churro shop was the designated snack-stop on our walking tour. The churros were just about what I expected. The chocolate for dipping? Well, Marcus and I were eating that stuff with a spoon.
If you have ever been to one of the Public Markets (Milwaukee, Napa, etc.) or the World Market in downtown Minneapolis, then you would adore this. We ended up doing lunch here both days because it was just so fun to be able to browse around and sample with a glass of wine. Most memorably, I got to eat a baseball-sized ball of burrata. And I would do that again in a heartbeat.
The portions were ridiculously large in comparison to what we were accustomed to at that point in the trip so there was that. Scorched peppers. Seafood paella. I don’t know that I would travel across the city to visit, but since it was near us, we were happy to have a proper Spanish feast.