Published: June 13th 2011June 13th 2011
It was my last day in Madrid and it was going to be just a relaxing day to get the last few things done before I leave tomorrow. Although I would have loved to see Segovia and Avila, I certainly do not regret my choice of just staying in town and enjoying what Madrid has to offer. I have had a great time here.
The day started with an attempt to visit the Museo Joaquin Sorolla, a Spanish painter. The website said that the museum was opened on Mondays (many museums are not) but the sign outside (and the security guard outside) seemed to say the opposite. Disappointing but not that big of a deal either.
I then hopped back on the metro and headed towards the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, the large bullfighting ring here in Madrid. I had seen it last time but it was in late afternoon so I had not realized that there was the possibility to actually get a guided tour. I got my ticket and the tour was a combined Spanish-English tour. I actually understood some large parts of it when she was going on in Spanish and then there were
To bull fighter "El Yiyo" who died in 1985 with only one minute left to the end of the bullfight
parts that she totally lost me.
I did not know much about bullfighting so it was interesting to learn about this incredibly popular sport in Spain. The 20,000 season ticket holders of Madrid attest to that fact. An interesting fact ... once the bull is dead, the meat is sold and the proceeds are donated to charity. I guess that it is a small way to make a bit of good karma. The bullfighteres definitely have to be in amazing shape. The pink and yellow cape that they wave in front of the bull weighs about 8 kg and the red one is about 5 kg. The tour guide actually had one and passed it around for us to hold.
We were also allowed to go in the ring where you can see the traces of the bullfight that actually took place the day before (there is one every Sunday). You could still see the hoof prints in the sand and little splatter of blood. The side panels and doors have nicks that have been done by the bull. They are made of wood from olive trees which is considered one of the strongest wood. There are also
many security measures, especially to make sure that not only is the public safe but that the bull does not escape into the streets of Madrid. It is definitely a sport that leaves me torn .... to see one must be quite something. The energy and showmanship of it must be out of this world. But hurting a poor animal for showmanship just leaves me ... ugh
So back on the metro I went and headed toward the Parque del Buen Retiro. I was there for a short bit yesterday but definitely wanted to spend more time there. The weather was hot, sunny and just what I had imagined the weather to be at this point of the trip. I walked around for a bit and came upon the first building (I think that it is called the Palacio de Velasquez) which is essentially an extension of the Museo Reina Sofia (which I went to the first day I was here) so I went to see the short exhibit there. Just across from there is the Palacio de Cristal which was closed last time I was here. It was nice to be able to see if from the inside.
There was an art installation which included a music and video installation (surprisingly not creepy!) and part of the installation included a slide. There were some takers. I also took the time sit and do a bit more drawing (I'm working on a drawing of my Buddha) and also do some Spanish lessons.
Leaving the park left me close to the Museo del Prado and just across the street is the Caixa Forum. This is the building that looks like it is floating and with the huge mural made entirely of plants. I had walked by it a couple of days ago and had looked up the exhibitions on the internet and I knew that I had to squeeze this in at one point during my stay here. The entrance is free so even if you hate it all you have lost is a bit of time! There was one photography exhibit that focused on Russian architecture and this was paired with artworks by Russian artist. It was interesting but it was not the reason I was there. The other exhibit was on the photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue. Born in 1894, he was given a camera by his
parents at the age of 8 and he documented his life. He almost had this irrational fear of forgetting memories or his life and he documented everything in his life meticulously. Amazing amazing amazing!
And that would end my time in Madrid. Tomorrow I leave for Granada. It is a four and half hour train ride so I am thinking that tomorrow is going to be a slow one!
There are more photos below