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Old 27 Feb 19, 08:17 PM  
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CrispyA
Imagineer
 
Join Date: Oct 11
Hola Madrid! 2019 Day Two: Classical Art, Sunshine and more Tapas

After yesterday's lie in, we set the alarms this morning so we could make it to the Prado for opening time or thereabouts.

Paul made scrambled eggs with Spanish ham for breakfast and also experimented with the Nespresso machine in the apartment - which was okay. He made a coffee for Evan and put what he thought was sugar in it but when Evan took his first mouthful, it turned out to have been salt! Yum, salty coffee!

Once Evan had recovered from this trauma, we set off out for the day. We tried the other Metro line to avoid the closures at Sol and were soon at the Prado with barely any queue.



We picked up a map that told us where all the masterpieces were and set off to find them. It is a huge museum and we knew we wouldn't be able to look at absolutely everything but wanted to see the most famous paintings.

We all found that we much preferred the art in the Prado - we were very taken with El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Hieronymous Bosch, Titan and Velazquez. Paul had learned about Goya as part of Spanish History - how he had been a court painter but had been deeply affected by war with Napoleon and his paintings had become much darker. The Black paintings are all very different, including Saturn eating one of his children and a very sad one called the Drowning Dog. They are such a contrast to the light and cheery paintings he did earlier in his life.

Once the art fatigue had set in, we went back out into the sunshine feeling that we had properly seen art on this trip.



We said "hi" to Goya as well.



And spotted this little fellow hanging out with the pigeons.



After being so cultured, we were ready for some lunch. We went back to 100 Montaditos, much better prepared this time and ordered 2 sandwiches each, along with sides. Paul and I spotted one that had "calamares" in the filling and both picked that, assuming it would be coated and fried squid . . . Imagine our horror when the sandwiches arrived and 2 of them had a black and squidgy filling. Must have been squid in its own ink.

Being brave (and hungry) souls, we still ate them but it was a challenge. Rather than the nice crispy squid we were expecting, we got a cold salty squishy fishy sandwich and the last couple of mouthfuls were quite a struggle. Fortunately everything else was nice!



On the whole, it was a thumbs up.

There is a park behind the Prado, El Retiro, so we headed there next. It is a lovely green space and we enjoyed walking through it. It was also really busy, considering it was early afternoon on a Tuesday and we were beginning to wonder when anybody in Madrid actually goes to work! Guess lunch and then siesta time is a bigger deal than we thought.

There is a lake in the centre of the park and we paused there for ice cream. The weather was lovely and made it really nice to be outside. We would have enjoyed ourselves in Madrid in the rain but the sunshine made it all the nicer.





We also found Madrid's oldest tree.



We would happily have settled down in the sun for a nap but decided to go back to the apartment for a proper siesta, feeling like real Spaniards now!



On the way back to the Metro, we passed this rather cool roundabout.



Back at Malasana, we all went for a sleep, apart from Evan who did more homework. (We resisted the urge to say "Who are you and what have you done with our son?")

After a good rest, it was still too early to go out so we had a drink and some snacks and played cards for a while. Once I had lost enough times and had been crowned the Poohead (readers of a certain age will surely know this game?) we got ready to go out.

Our guidebook had recommended a bar for tapas but it was too busy to get a seat when we got there. There was another place with seats available a few doors down, so we went there instead. It was really nice to order a glass of wine and for the server to bring a bottle to the table and just pour it, rather than start faffing about with measures etc. The red wine was very nice and also quite reasonably priced. We were also given a small dish of olives with our drinks which was lovely touch. Feeling bolder, we also ordered some tapas - a plate of serrano ham and a plate of manchego cheese.

It was all very tasty and a nice snack with a drink. We wondered what the difference was between Serrano and Iberico ham, other than 5 Euros? They sliced the ham from a large ham hanging up behind the bar and it all felt very authentically Spanish.

Once we felt ready to eat more, we wandered back down the street and found a bar that did reasonable sounding larger plates of tapas. We had some more red wine, learned the Spanish for jug of water "jarra de agua", and had some very nice food, including croquettas, more patatas bravas, a mango salad and some chicken tacos.

We ate very well and enjoyed our evening. We did ask Evan if he was learning anything at school, as he appeared to have as much difficulty deciphering the menu as we did, but he explained that they didn't really do "useful Spanish", eg food items, checking into a hotel etc. He had learned instead how to describe his ideal house and holiday, and also the very useful, Estoy preocupado por las emisiones, así que uso el transporte público which translates as I am worried about emissions so I use public transport. Topical, but not especially helpful, unless we wanted to get into a conversation about the Metro. Still, we were hoping he would get an opportunity to use it at some point!
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