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  • Day9

    Madrid - City of Parks and Museums

    January 8, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    Madrid is a huge city with a population of 3 million (6 million in greater Madrid). It is very busy and doesn’t seem to have the same vibrancy as Barcelona. We have a one bedroom apartment in a working class neighbourhood on the fringe of the central area. The weather was a cool 6 degrees but sunny when we slowly made our way to Buen Retiro Park, a 600 acre green space in the core of the city. In the centre of the park is the Palacio de Cristal built in 1887 of glass and iron. It was intended as a greenhouse but is used for contemporary art exhibits. On the floor of the Palace the artist engraved in stone the names of all those who have drowned in the Mediterranean and Atlantic over the last 20 years in an attempt for a better life with greater freedoms. We had to wear booties over our shoes to protect the artwork. Using a complex hydraulic water system, drops of water form the names temporarily and intermittently. It was very creative but we didn’t understand it fully until I researched it afterwards.

    From the park we walked to a tapas restaurant and had a much needed break. The tapas and wine were excellent. Wine is the same price as Coke, tea, or coffee and slightly more than bottled water. So naturally I’ve been enjoying several Spanish wines that would be very expensive at home. Our next stop was the Prado Museum that has the greatest collection of paintings by the European masters, over 3000 canvases. The building was enormous and we only saw a very small portion of it, narrowing in on the more famous Spanish painters that we had read about....Goya and Velazquez. Admission was free for the last two hours before closing and that was enough time for us. Madrid has several famous museums but we only made it to this one.

    It was a long, slow walk back to the apartment. Overall we did nearly 15,000 steps or 10 km. John thought I was trying to kill him. He hates taking pills but eagerly took the Tylenol that I offered him. We stopped at a supermarket on the way home and made use of the well stocked kitchen in our apartment that evening. We bought a convenient package of fresh root vegetables that made a hearty stew. The lentils were from Canada. For about $7 we had two meals. Eating out every day is certainly a budget-killer!
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