Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rising to the Snakes and Incredible Impressionists and All the Other Art of Madrid

Rising slowly after the initial first day and the City Plaza and noise below us till two a.m., we started with coffee and left over sandwiches for breakfast.  The bars below our apartment were now closed and the banging of bottles into the recycling bins had stopped around two thirty. Staying close to city center on a busy plaza certainly has benefits of proximity, but the European hours differ very much from the US get up and go to work early hours.  Although, I can tell you that honking and truck roaring and garbage removal was in full swing by ten a.m.

Our windows look over the block connecting to the plaza and the Navidad lights are beautiful.  The little Navidad mercados are everywhere and lights on all buildings along with wreaths.  It is amazing to see so many people out and about on foot.  Doesn't happen in Tallahassee Florida unless you are near the stadium after an FSU Footbal game.  Of course, there are 3.3 million people in Madrid.

Our cute apartment is called the blue room and is quite well appointed with cutlery and kitchen and all things comfortable except English subtitles on the tv.  We have wifi though, so we have a general feeling of the news in US.

We returned to the Paseo Del Prado side of town.  Yesterday touring the Museo Del Prado, today the El Museo Naval and the Museo Thyssen Borremisza.

The Naval museum was fascinating with replicas of ships and canons and maps of america oh so long ago.  The display of knots and canon balls, and the elaborate quarters of Admiral Jose
Gonzalez is  amazing. On a ship, the ones that had, had a lot.  And the ones that made the canon balls and fired the weapons on the Brits had short lives.  I hasten to really understand that hard of a life.

I have to say that I do not remember looking at a painting and starting to cry. until today  The Impressionist of America were on display as well as Renoir, Degas, Cassat, and then of course the floor for Andrew Wyeth and did I mention Picasso and Dali and Goya? Oh my goodness, it is so moving to see the real thing.  Smaller or sometimes larger, never disappointing.  So many rooms.  No wonder that Anthony Ham said to pace yourself.  He has plans in his Madrid book and is very specific.  While I prefer to wander through museums and surprise myself at every step and glance, his guides to parks and locations and maps are fabulous.  Thanks Anthony!

The days start out crisp and bright but by four pm they are waning with cloud cover and very cool winds.  At one point Charles wrapped his head to keep his ears warm and he looked sort of like a Spanish Conquistador with a scarf.  Only the ladies stared at him, and many approached.

We discovered our differences in the museo of art: he likes dark Dutch and German 1300's work, I like impressionists and the romance era...  at least both were there to see.  I apologize in advance for no photos of the artwork.  The signs ask you not to take the photos, and I did not have a phone to be stealth with, only my daughter's 35 mm.  So. it would be too obvious, not to mention unwieldy in a museum.  So, we will have to adjust to the outside photos.

Then off to El Retiro to see the fallen angel, sometimes referred to as Lucifer.

Charles says I did not capture his best side.  Does Lucifer have one?  I think he wanted to more clearly see the snakes holding his feet and arm.  Figures that Charles would seek out the only snake in Madrid...

The sunlight on the city was wonderful on the walk back to our apartment.  Night two and we have adapted to stopping by the market and picking up food and wine for the night.  We have had the local squash, onion, cabbage and root stew with chicken broth, cumin, garlic and a few other ingredients.  It is the local dish, except that they add chicken backs or guts for flavor and a little meat.  We ate the jamon in a paper cup for protein and skipped the chicken backs.  Charles was ready for bed by nine and that left me time to write and put up photos.  So far, I can tell you most people do not speak English, why would they in their normal lives.  But cashiers and other who have to interact with tourists try to have a few lines down in several languages.  My experience is that if you try, they will too.  Just give it a whirl with a smile and shrug if all fails.

Wonderful day with lots of walking!  Think it was a ten mile day.

Buenos Noches and Feliz Navidad