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Published: April 24th 2010
Saturday, April 17
We arrived in Madrid and it was raining. Rain. Rain. It seemed to be everywhere these days! At the station we met Payardo, Cyntia's mom's cousin. He took us to El Corte Ingles for breakfast which was a lovely treat! Corte Ingles, for those who don't know, is a big deal in Spain. It's a huge department store, and usually there are several in a large city. Inside they have EVERYTHING: seven floor department store with clothes, super market, bakery, post office, travel agency, tailor, bank, and more! For breakfast I ordered a tortita, which sounded interesting, but it was a pancake with a fried egg and some ham on top.
Afterwards, Payardo took us to our hostel where Cyntia and I dropped our stuff off. Because PJ had booked everything later than us, he had to take another hostel not to far away because there wasn't enough room in ours. We met up and headed to the Prado!
The Prado was the one thing I knew I wanted to do in Madrid. They have a world class collection of works before the 19th century. Allow me to be an art history nerd
and share with you some of the famous works on display:
"Las Meninas" Velasquez
"Third of May, 1808" Goya
"The Annunciation" Fra Angelico
"Descent from the Cross" Van der Weyden
"The Garden of Earthly Delights" Bosch
"The Triumph of Death" Brueghel the Elder
and a bunch of El Greco.....
COOL HUH?! Yes. It was VERY cool. PJ was a true sport and let me tell him about the pieces we saw. He even asked questions and impressed me when he told me that Fra Angelico's piece must be Italian because it was an outdoor annunciation scene (I'd told him earlier that the Flemish painters always did this particular scene in a domestic setting)!
After this wonderful experience, we had tapas for lunch! I had two bocadillos (a small sandwich on baguette bread) one with a tortilla espanola and the other with manchego cheese, tomato, and oil. We then went to the CaixaForum, a contemporary art museum. We saw the Miguel Barcelo exhibit, which I enjoyed. Then we saw a documentary photography exhibit that was really emotionally intense. All of the photos were from places in the world experiencing crisis. The one that were most affecting to me
was a collection of portraits of Pakistani women who'd had acid thrown on them by husbands or jealous men. Their faces were melted and disfigured beyond recognition. We said good night to Payardo and looked for dinner.
That night we ate tapas at a bar! Big surprise, right? Our waiter was an ex-bull fighter ex-comedian, and he kept us well entertained! We split four tapas: meatballs, Iberian ham (smoked), patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy red sauce, YUM), and manchego cheese (Spain's favorite)--all eaten with bread. For dinner for three it came out to 14 euro!!! I've said it before and I'll say it again: I.love.Spain.
It wasn't until after our filling dinner that we caught news of the volcano eruption in Iceland that was disrupting flights. Back at the hostel, Cyntia and I found out that our flight on the 19th was canceled. We stayed up until 2am doing research on how else we could get back.
We had planned on visiting Toledo the next day, but it looked like instead we would be sorting out our return to France.
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