I landed in Madrid at about 9:15am and proceeded to catch the Renfe express train to Apocha Renfe central station. I had heard rumours that you could store your luggage at the train station and I thought instead of lugging my 21kg bag around Madrid, I’d off load it for the day and head out for a look around the town. I found the Consignas rather fast with a little bit of dodgy Spanish and some help from a local. Then it was run the bag through security and find a big enough locker.
Madrid central station is gorgeous once you get to the top floor as it’s like a massive Howard Hughes type aircraft hanger that looks like the set of Jurassic Park. It has an amazing array of foliage and it is all enormous. Lush and inviting it took the edge off the already sky-rocketing temperature inside the building. Once my bag was stored I was off exploring Madrid for the day.
As I wandered up the street I noticed that there was not much activity and then it hit me, it was Sunday. People weren’t even awake yet…..this was Spain! Nothing will happen until 10am and then it will all stop at about 1pm until 5pm, when the night life starts to wake up. I continued to wander and saw a sign that read……Parque de la Retiro. I thought that sounds like me and I was headed off on and adventure.
I found an entrance to the park and decided to look at Google maps just in case I was way off course and then another light-bulb moment. what do you care you have all day to get to where you’re going and Fredric isn’t picking you up until about 10:30pm so who cares where you are except you.
As I wandered around the park I realised this place was very very big. So big in fact that there was a lake big enough to row pretty blue and white boats around for a very long time. I walked past three ladies who were taking happy snaps of each other and offered to take a couple of shots of the three of them and they graciously accepted. I then spotted a beautiful fountain and made my way to take a few shots and saw the fountain was in a lake in front of an old glass house. Absolutely stunning and with a bedouin display in it to boot, so I checked that out too.
The statues got bigger and so did the level of Spanish Independence information, this was the Park of Independence now and I was headed straight for an art exhibition in the main building.
I wouldn’t say I am an art fanatic by any stretch of the imagination and I am certainly not into art for arts sake. There I was looking at an assortment of beautifully placed concrete blocks in what look like three dimensional letter T’s. Then eight 12 x12 three foot lengths of cedar four upright and the other four laying on top of them.
Ok so, you just completely lost me at making a wood pile. Contemporary art really does nothing for me and I think the majority of it is contrived. Then I followed the display to some stunningly placed alloy ingots. This was getting thrilling right now. I moved on and there it was……..title: 25 stacked 25 strewn or something to that effect. Seriously……. it was a neat wood pile and a not so neat wood pile.
I moved through the park from then on and headed for an exit. I was now hungry and dehydrating rapidly even though I had water and lots of it. I found the exit and spotted a nice looking little cafe. I placed my butt of a chair right out the front and low and behold theres a couple of Kiwi’s sitting next to me. I said hello and they promptly started chatting to me asking the usual questions when travelling, where ya going? where ya bin? It was great!
They were a well dressed couple and I thought there’s a little bit of cash here and sure enough we got on to the subject of work as you do and Dennis owns the company that does all the TV coverage for the Americas Cup and the Olympic Sailing. His lovely wife Robyn travels with him as she is also a director of the company and they move around a lot so they stick together. I thought it was lovely. Do what they love and getting paid for it.
After lunch I headed back to the park and took the side road and ended up at the entrance to Musea del Prada. I parked my small backpack in the cloak room and walked in looking like a dirtbag climber and smelling pretty bad as the temperature soared to 34 celsius outside. The air-conditioning was a god send and I decided that leaving to soon would be silly as this was one of the best galleries in the world currently.
Taking my time I walked through all the 14th century religious art and them by accident stumbled into some 15th century sculptures of Nero, Caligula and Hadrian to name a few of the most famous roman emperors and centurions. The sculptures were beautiful and the detail truly incredible. I was so loving what I was seeing. I continued through and found a stair case and thought I am on an adventure so lets see where that leads, I was not using a guide to the museum, i was just going with my instincts and so far I had great success 🙂
As I came to the top of the stairway I saw an amazing bronze statue of Nero standing proud at the main entrance of the museum, I had entered through the bottom entrance initially and now found my way to the main gallery. I was standing face to face with the first Picasso I had ever seen in the flesh and it was literally in the flesh. Called “Two Boys” it was wonderful to see such a famous piece up close and personal. There were nine other Picasso’s of which my favourite was “Woman in a chair and blue dress”. This was the type of Picasso I was expecting to see. Then I moved onto the Reuben’s collection. All heavily religion based, however still stunning, then Goya and Salas. It was just so inspiring to be standing in front of works of the masters. If I never see these pieces of art again at least I can have the memory of being truly appreciative and inspired by their beauty.
a truly great day in a wonderful city.
Note** WiFi is again scarce in El Boalo and I am not loading photos until I have free WiFi.