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Published: December 4th 2017
Today we are determined not to be defeated by the DMC and decide to have another crack at the Museo Arqueologico Nacional, but first we successfully find a patisserie which caters exclusively for Spain's shift workers and seems to open before 10.30. The streets are filled with old people unable to sleep beyond 6.30am due to insomnia. In fact the old lady beside us in the café has gotten up early to make a very loud and excited phone call in the privacy of the early morning café.
Given that Constance was clearly trying harder and we could see improvement in her last two reviews we allowed her to take on navigation again. We walk up to the museum in trepidation and lo and behold it is open. I love a good archeological museum and some of my favourites are in Athens and Cairo, however this is seriously fantastic. The other guys are mere amateurs tossing a bunch of old stuff into a big building, but in Madrid it is meticulously laid out in (would you believe it) chronological order! Then it was off to the Prado Museum which was also open so I bought the family a lotteria ticket
for tonight's super draw. Perhaps the DMC was closed. Lotteries in Southern European countries intrigue me. Would you really buy a lottery ticket from a bloke wandering round with 500 sheets of lottery tickets, which look like he just printed them on his computer printer, who moonlights selling fake Gucci handbags in Plaza Mayor at night? When we got to the Prado there was a massive queue it snaked down the street, round the block, doubled back on itself and ended outside our apartment. We decided this needed a strategy. We hit Chocolat, a great churros joint just around the corner from the Prado and started on the strategy. As with many of these museums it is possible to buy tickets in advance and skip the queue. Problem solved, all we needed to do was find the secret entrance which according to the ticket website was clearly marked. Back at the queue, Gus made the observation that there were a lot of police looking after the Prado queue, so I asked one of them where the secret entrance was and he directed me about three blocks away from the Prado. Clearly he had no idea! We walked around the building
to find the entrance. Gus, who is a true capitalist and watches the Bolt Report with me every afternoon, wanted to know why it wasn't the art gallery's responsibility to provide security and felt the sub machine guns were a little over the top. At this point Constance broke in to tears and confessed yet again that this was not the Prado. Clearly this was serious and we scheduled a team meeting and possibly an offsite.
About three blocks away, from whatever popular public building that was, was the Prado. The Prado is a magnificent museum, but it is rather large. Becs and Constance got audio guides and started the tour. Gus and I got Masterpiece Spotto sheets which give you a little photo of the masterpiece and a room number. It's moments like these when you need to rely on you knowledge of the bible (and not the King James version) that you realise the value of a private catholic school education. Me "OK Gus here's room 57B we are looking for Goya's Madonna and Child": Gus "What's a Madonna?". I kid you not. About half way through Masterpiece Spotto in room 473B we were joined by Becs and Constance who had given up on their audio guides.
On the way back towards the apartment we had a quick look at the Puerta de Alcala and the Palacio de Comunicaciones which is a seriously beautiful building.
Late Saturday afternoon in Madrid and the joint is heaving. This city is a great advertisement for density. Every man and his dog is out walking, drinking and eating, in fact they eat and drink so much I can't understand why they are all so skinny, could be the cigarettes. Unfortunately we can't fit into any of our recommended tapas bars so we need to go into one on spec. But there is something missing. In Sydney I'd be constantly bombarded by car horns aimed at slow pedestrians, slow cars, people blocking intersections, but here it doesn't happen. How the times have changed. We have a beer and a tapas and then head back to the apartment for a rest.
Tonight we have dinner at Lateral at the Plaza Santa Ana. The bar was heaving and we had to wait for a table. Fortunately they had a downstairs tourist area where they sat us beside the dorkiest table of Canadians you've ever seen. Gus and I bought beers at the local convenience store and drank them on our little balcony in 6 degrees watching the locals heading out. It was a noisy night with revellers heading home very early shouting and singing.
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