Sunday, June 06, 2010

Saturday (Madrid)...

Even by 10am on a weekend, Madrid feels sleepy. This is a much more pleasant way to experience the city. The lighting is softer (yet still quite intense) and there are fewer people to contend with. Grabbed a couple of lattes and we were soon strolling down the tree-lined Paseo del Prado towards...yep you guessed it...the Prado museum.

With its strict no-photo policy, the Prado is a great place to escape being a tourist. There is no pressure to capture that "one shot" that details the visit...and equally as important, there aren't a dozen other tourists jostling you for that same shot.

The Prado is one of the great European museums with paintings from great masters and statues from ancient times. Its all a bit overwhelming, but with a trusty map and lots of English signs, we plunged in. As you would expect, the heart of the collection focuses on Spanish masters...Goya and Valazquez dominate, but El Greco's one room made the biggest impression. His distinctive style stands out amongst rooms full of his contemporaries. We felt fortunate to have seen so many other Grecos in Toledo, where he painted his masterpieces. Beyond the Spaniards, there was fair representation of Rubens and Rembrant and similiar old masters.

We quickly took in the adjacent Royal Botanical Gardens. Less of a park and more of a plant museum. An extensive collection of varieties. Not a lot in bloom this time of year, expect some just-past roses and some lovely purple something-or-others (ok...Jeff tells me they are Alliums...clearly his memory is better than mine :) Still, the cool foliage broke up an otherwise hot afternoon.

Returned to the hotel via a circuitous route under lengthening shadows. A couple of much-needed cervezas on Plaza de Chuega. And then off to dinner at Kiyo...a surprising Spanish-Itanian fusion spot. Wonderful patas bravas and a luscious goat cheese salad to start. A savory (and hint of sweet) ravioli. And a rich chocolate-drizzled crepe for dessert. Drinks and music at Liquid until almost 3.

No comments: