Dec 22-An evening low of -173 C…

by Amoeba December. 22, 2008 2935 views

Day 2 as an impromptu tour guide…our group has now expanded again, this time with Judy. Sometimes the world just seems so small. When I was chatting with Judy in the morning, she mentioned that she was on a year’s exchange program from University of California at Irvine. Funny thing…I used to work there. Bizarro…at least this gave us some common ground…

First up was the Reina Sofía, and I cannot say enough great things about this place. It is truly magnificent. Having spent well over 2 hours in there, I could easily have gone back for more. Photography was of course not allowed and the main garden was also closed. No matter though, there was certainly enough to keep me occupied and completely overwhelmed at times. Works from Joan Miró, Dali, photographs from Robert Capa (including “The Fallen Soldier”), Nancy Spero and many, many others was just phenomenal!

One of the most notable pieces was of course Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. This pretty much blew my socks off. It was on par with seeing Les Demoiselles d'Avignon at MoMA in NYC a couple of years ago. What made it even more impressive was the room of pre-Guernica sketches that eventually led up to the final piece. If I recall correctly, there were a few soft “oohs” and “aahhs” in the room. I would have been pretty content just sitting there the entire day observing the masses viewing this piece. But a bright and sunny day was beckoning outside and eventually I led the group out of the museum.

What followed was a long and random walking tour covering the following:

Cine Doré-A theatre built in the 1930’s just has a beautiful exterior

Food Market-I have no idea what this was called but I am certain I can find it again…just a food market with the full range of goods from meats to vegetables to fruits. I am always drawn to markets as they are fabulous places to watch people go at their daily routines and also to seek out any tasty treats

La Corrala-I confess…I don’t get it with this place. Supposedly a national monument that represents Madrid’s 19th century architecture, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be observing here. Perhaps I had to actually go inside to fully appreciate the architecture.

El Rastro-Like market places, I have an intense fascination with flea markets. But after observing the throngs of humanity over the past few days, I am glad that I didn’t go to the Sunday flea market…I’m not sure I would have lived to tell about it. Instead, we walked through the still busy area where the flea market would normally have taken place. It was still an interesting place for me, as there were murals on walls of buildings and also on newsstands. As well, there were some interesting shops along the way for window shopping.

After taking a break, we actually braved the area around Plaza Puerta Del Sol. In the evenings, there were many performers setting up for the shoppers still milling about. Some were dressed to depict a nativity scene, there was flamenco, mariachi band, statues, etc. Flamenco was by far the most interesting. The only hazard with watching any of these performers was that occasionally cars would drive onto the street where the performances were happening.

Eventually we moved away from the crowds and walked along Calle de Alcalá, Paseo del Prado to see the night lights, then back up Calle de Atocha. Nothing like a good walk in the evening to end the day!

Looking up as the elevator descends at the Reina Sofía

(Top to Bottom, L to R) Just outside the Reina Sofía; Barbershop along Calle de Santa Isabel; Graffiti of Madrid skyline; Fruit stall in food market; Cine Doré; Mural on building in El Rastro; Policia on Calle Del Arenal in Plaza Puerta Del Sol; A performer dressed as Mary from the nativity scene

Mural painted on newspaper/magazine stand in El Rastro

Flamenco on Calle Del Arenal

Some lovely, lovely lights in downtown Madrid at night…and somehow, it felt much, much warmer than the -173 C that was indicated…

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Eric J H Joyce 12 years, 3 months ago

Very good post.

12 years, 3 months ago Edited