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Unread 23 Feb 19, 02:48 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Hola Madrid! 2019 Day One: Modern Art, Flamenco and Tapas

After such a late night, we all slept really well, not waking up until after 9.30 which is almost unheard of - well, for me and Paul at least! Having 2 bathrooms was very handy and meant that we didn't have long shower queues.

We had some very nice coffee and tangerines with some not so nice donuts for breakfast. Evan had found a football channel on the TV so we ate to the background of commentators being very excited about some upcoming game or other. We had a look at the books on the shelves and were amused and also horrified to find one that was a load of cartoons of people with vegetables for genitals. Erm . . .



We did like the shelves though!



Once we had managed to get our stuff together, we set off for the Metro. Today's plan was to visit the Prado Museum of Art. The station wasn't too far away but the line was closed at Sol station due to roadworks. The signs said that there were free buses but once we got up into Puerta del Sol we could see that the traffic was bumper to bumper and it didn't look that far to walk to the museums.

The walk was fine, even if we did have to pick our way around all the construction that was going on - presumably the reason for closing that section of Metro. We were quite excited to spot the Museo do Jamon (Museum of Ham) which is actually a shop rather than a museum.

As we approached the Prado, we could see that the queues to get in were stretching all down the road. Our guidebook had advised to get here for opening due to the crowds and we could see why. Time for a quick change of plan. The Modern Art Museum (Museo Reina Sofia) is just down the road so we decided to go there instead.

Fortunately the queue here was much shorter so we paid our entrance fee (Evan was free as he is under 18) and headed in, aiming to visit the loo first. The boys were fine but the ladies had one cubicle and a huge queue of very small children on a school trip. Fantastico.

Legs crossed, we hurried to the lifts to find the toilets on the upper floors. The lifts are pretty impressive - they are on the outside of the building and are made of glass so you get great views of Madrid.

The upstairs loo had a shorter queue but still only one cubicle. Why? Loo visited, we could finally get on with looking at some Art.

The main exhibit here is Picasso's Guernica, created in response to the bombing of Guernica by Nazi forces, at the request of Franco and the Spanish Nationalists. It's a very powerful and moving image of destruction and takes up an entire wall in the gallery.

Having seen Guernica, we had a good look around the rest of the gallery. We watched some of Un Chien Andalou (chiefly meaningful to Paul and me because of the Pixies song Debaser which makes reference to it.). We watched ants crawl out of a man's hand and a woman poking a severed hand with a stick for a bit then we had had enough and went to look at more paintings. There are a number of Salvador Dali (including the Great Masturbator ) and Picasso paintings, as well as works by Miro, Gris and other Spanish artists.

It's a huge collection but we had started to get art fatigue after a while. Downstairs I saw a sign pointing to something called Equal-Parallel/Bengazi-Guernica which I thought sounded interesting, so dragged the rest of the family to go and have a look. We were all slightly underwhelmed to find a room with some rusty metal blocks in it which was the art in question. Apparently it is a comparison of the bombing of Bengazi in Libya and the bombing of Guernica but you wouldn't have known that unless it was explained.

The museum has a nice garden and we spent a bit of time in the fresh air before finishing.







Once we had all had enough, we left in search of some food. We agreed that while some modern art is okay, we are not big fans of random shapes and splodges on canvas. We prefer our pictures of things to actually look like things!

It's a lovely building though and you can see the glass lifts on either side of it.



There was an intriguing looking cafe nearby called 100 Montaditos which looked like very good value, so we stopped there. The sandwiches or montaditos were very cheap - 1 or 1.5 Euros, so we ordered one each, along with some side dishes and a couple of beers. You write your order down and give it to the staff, then wait for them to call our your name.

When our order arrived, we could see why the food was so cheap - the sandwiches were pretty tiny and most people were ordering whole plates of them! It was a good job we had ordered some sides as well. Still, they tasty and it was a good place to stop and people watch.

Sufficiently refuelled, we headed for the Metro to go back to Malasana for a siesta. Despite the late morning start we were all still quite tired and a nap sounded like a good idea. We stopped off a supermarket to get some snacks and some more substantial breakfast items, before heading back to our apartment.

After coffee and pastries, me Paul and Hannah went for a siesta while Evan did some GCSE revision (yes, I know!).

Once nap time was over, we got ready to walk to the Flamenco bar we had booked, called Las Tablas. We had just booked for the show, rather than the meal, and had gone for the 7.00pm showing so we could eat after. There are a number of Flamenco shows but we had picked this one as it is very small and intimate, but attracts some of the best performers.

It didn't take long to walk there, even if Paul did add a detour to his navigation. That technique of navigating by not actually checking with the map isn't always the most successful ...

Our tickets included a free drink and Hannah and I went for Sangria, while Paul had beer. We had checked the drinking age in Spain and thought Evan would be okay to have a beer as it was 16 but Las Tablas was 18 and over only, so he had a soft drink instead.

We had a great table, very close to the stage and it was a small and very atmospheric venue. The show itself is very simple, with a guitarist and singer and three dancers. One of them, Miguel Tellez, was guesting there for the week and is, by all accounts, a big deal in the world of Flamenco. One of the female dancers was Marisol Navarro, who is also a well known dancer. The dancers danced together and then solo. Some of it is choreographed, but a lot of Flamenco is improvised and is danced with such intensity and power that we were completely absorbed. There was some intricate dancing with a shawl but the highlight was when Tellez took to the stage on his own at the end. I wish we had understood what the singer was singing about but we assume it was something pretty intense! We absolutely loved it and were sorry when it finished. The dancers looked very sweaty though, and still had another show to do!

It is really difficult to describe the experience of watching this live, and to do it justice, but
, filmed at the same venue on a different night, might give you an idea.

The dresses were very beautiful and we watched as a dressmaker arrived with a new dress for one of the dancers to try on after the show. There must be hours of work in producing them and miles of fabric.

There are other flamenco shows in Madrid, but we can thoroughly recommend this one.



After the show, we walked back through the Plaza Espana, seeing the Royal Palace lit up in the darkness.





Back in Malasana, we looked for somewhere to eat. The bars were pretty full, especially considering it was a Monday night, but we found one that had some free tables, La Taberna La Lirio.

The waiter was absolutely lovely, helping us out in English as Duolingo and Spanish GCSE aren't that helpful when it comes to deciphering a menu that doesn't just contain chicken and rice. We had a couple of glasses of Rioja and shared some plates of tapas - Patatas Bravas, which is potatoes in a spicy sauce, Huevos Rotos (chips and eggs and ham), breadcrumbs with black pudding and peppers, and another which I can't remember but was also lovely! It was all very good value and the waiter brought us a selection of free liqueurs at the end of the meal as well.

Feeling very well fed, we headed back to the apartment to reflect on our first full day in Madrid.
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 08:19 AM  
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Melbatb
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O studied Guernica for his O level History of Art oral exam - I was an expert at the end
I know what you mean about some modern art - often I just ask myself why!

The show sounds fabulous!
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 09:40 AM  
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Gunna
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Great first day, definitely liking the look of Madrid for a future trip. Really like the sound of the Flamenci show too.
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 10:07 AM  
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DisneyDaffodil
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Only just found your report, so will be following 😀 . Brilliant first day, we love an afternoon at an art museum (or a whole day in the Met in New York 😂 ) The Flamenco show looks wonderful too.

Great practice for the Spanish GCSE to actually go to Spain but, for those of us who can just manage hola, is English understood enough to get by in a restaurant etc?
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Unread 27 Feb 19, 07:23 PM  
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CrispyA
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Being a bit Goofy
 
Join Date: Oct 11
Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
O studied Guernica for his O level History of Art oral exam - I was an expert at the end
I know what you mean about some modern art - often I just ask myself why!

The show sounds fabulous!
I can imagine there is a lot to say about Guernica - it is very powerful. But some of the rest of it was just squiggles!

The show was amazing!

Originally Posted by Gunna View Post
Great first day, definitely liking the look of Madrid for a future trip. Really like the sound of the Flamenci show too.
It's a lovely city and we had a great time. The show was amazing.

Originally Posted by DisneyDaffodil View Post
Only just found your report, so will be following 😀 . Brilliant first day, we love an afternoon at an art museum (or a whole day in the Met in New York 😂 ) The Flamenco show looks wonderful too.

Great practice for the Spanish GCSE to actually go to Spain but, for those of us who can just manage hola, is English understood enough to get by in a restaurant etc?
We got by - a lot of the restaurants had English translations and there was always Google translate! Could have done with the teenager being slightly less self conscious about talking but we all managed fine.
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Unread 27 Feb 19, 09:51 PM  
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shona
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Watching with interest as we did Barcelona in the half term and thinking about Madrid for the future
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Unread 1 Mar 19, 06:24 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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Join Date: Feb 11
Great first day. Love that reading material .. erm !
Very nice and cultured with art and flamenco. I think I read a book about Guernica ( Victoria Hislop? ) , its a very movimg story. Looks a fab city. And some fabulous poses as always...
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Unread 2 Mar 19, 09:13 AM  
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The Flamenco sounds wonderful and would love to see it. Agree with you about the modern Art though and can get a bit bemusing!
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