Madrid hadn't been totally on my radar before, but Zoe wanted to go, so I thought, why not? I remember going there once when I was 20 and spending only a day, but I had only vaguely remembered walking around a large city park--it hadn't made much of an impression. But it turned out to be a very cool city! I think that Barcelona is more elegant, and Madrid is more hip. It has fantastic restaurants and nightlife, lots of groovy (and cheap) shopping and excellent museums. We shopped for shoes, ate a lot of tapas, and walked all over the place for 2 days. My feet are still aching.
It reminded me of the USA. I decided this was because 1) seeing signs in Spanish reminds me of Washington Heights; 2) Unlike those in France, Spain has people wearing loud, unflattering clothing; 3) Also unlike France, the Spanish are not all thin.
Unfortunately, I also realized that whatever Spanish I once spoke has now been completely and absolutely crushed by my focus on French. Why can't I keep more than one language in my head?
On the first night we had tapas along the Calle de Cava Baja. Here are some examples of the restaurants there. Remember, no eating dinner before 10 PM! It was el cheapo-- dinner came to about 8 euros, including drinks!
This little mural is outside a restaurant. I just liked it so I took a picture.
Madrid has elegant architecture.And lots of statuary-- this is in the Plaza Mayor.
Madrid also has the most amazing elaborate street signs. Each one pictures whatever the street is named for. We stayed in a pension on this street, Calle de Zorrilla. And another one, outside a place we had stopped for sangria.
I bought some zapatos that seemed straight out of Almodovar.Here is Zoe with the delicious spread we had at a restaurant called La Taperia. We had a cheese plate, a dish with marinated wild mushrooms, and an omelette. And here, enjoying some sangria.Can you tell we spent a lot of time in outdoor cafes-- along with everyone else in Madrid? The weather was perfect.
We also soaked up lots of Picasso, Velázquez, Dalí , Goya, and Miró, among others. Here I am outside of the Reina Sofia museum, where we saw Guernica, which is about the horrors of war. Interestingly, the museum also has a room of artwork that was a response to Guernica.
Here is a Miró sculpture in the courtyard of the Reina Sofia.I think you could spend a lifetime at the Prado museum, but I only had an afternoon there. My mind was spinning with all of the portraits of Felipe III, Felipe IV, Carlos X, Reina this, Marquesa that, etc. The stuff there is just stunning. This statue of Goya stands outside.