Friday, 2 May 2014

Days 402 to 405: Madrid

Madrid was great. Turns out I really like Goya's Black Paintings.

That was at the Museo del Prado - you can get in free between 6 and 8pm and you can bet we weren't the only people exploiting this. We also visited the Plaza Mayor and had some wine, saw an Egyptian temple (given to Spain by Egypt to say thanks for moving temples such as Abu Simbel when they built the Aswan Dam), and saw obligatory sights such as the palace and the cathedral, the latter not being terribly impressive at all for cathedral veterans such as ourselves.

But Madrid isn't a city of bombastic set pieces, it's a thoroughly delightful and exciting city just for walking around, stopping occasionally for a drink. This was my first visit - Danielle had been before - and I'd always, for some strange reason, imagined it to be a charmless urban sprawl filled with belching industrial chimneys. Why I get these notions I don't know - I remember thinking the same about Zagreb, and it remains one of the most enjoyable places I've ever visited.

On our final day, my brother Ian and his wife Katherine joined us, and we wandered with them, having drinks along the way, enjoying the sunshine. Then it was goodbye Madrid, and a cheery goodbye to Goya.


  1. I remember being disappointed at first at the Goya works in the Prado as I had strolled through all his early work first and thought it was all quite bland. Then on entering the 'black room' being presented with so many fascinating, but really quite horrific images. It was like seeing the aftermath or a car accident- you can't tear your eyes away. Saturn eating his Child struck me the most, so powerful. Apparently, he had that hanging by his dining table. Nice.

    1. I'm not really that into art, and especially not into art galleries, but I loved the Black Paintings. They were so weird, so so dark - I could have stayed there for hours. I love the story behind them too - he painted them on the walls of his house for himself only, and they were never intended for anybody else. I like the Dog one the most, but I would honestly place most of them among my favourite paintings ever, and I'd go back to Madrid especially just to see them.

      I agree with the rest of the Goya stuff - didn't do much for me.


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