Hola Espana

callealcalaMadrid is a good place to start an adventure.  Mucho civilized.  The central neighborhoods are walkable, clean and historic. The museums and parks are amazing. My hotel is chic and cheap.  The food is meat-heavy and carb-focused, but I found a good vegetarian restaurant today and loaded up on green stuff.

A few non-statistically-valid observations about Madrid… People like to give directions to people who speak tourist Spanish poorly and some will walk blocks to make sure those kinds of tourists don’t head off in the wrong direction again. Corner markets sell surprisingly good Rioja right next to the chips and cheap chocolate. Dogs and cats seem to be in short supply.  And the City doesn’t seem to have a signature sound.  Istanbul has the call to prayer. Buenos Aires has barking dogs. San Francisco has fog horns. Rome has church bells.  Madrid has quiet.

I spent the morning at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which has a very diverse collection of art work from the 15th through mid-20th centuries.  Someone (ok, it was Rick Steves) described it as having minor works of major artists and major works of minor artists. I decided to focus my viewing on the varied portrayals of women and there were many. Here are the ones that were most moving to me:

Retrato de una mujer joven llamada

I think she is more mysterious and more compelling than the Mona Lisa (Palma El Viejo, 16th century)

If you look carefully you can see a woman with a parasol (Delaunay, 19th Century)

I want to be her. She is so cool. (Beckman, 20th Century(

I am fighting the impulse to keep moving all the time, and in disbelief at the amount of freedom I will have for the next few months.  Maybe that explains why I am still a little disoriented.

8 comments

  1. I think your adjustment to having such freedom of time will be among the most interesting and revealing aspects of the trip. I wonder how you will handle it. “Kim just hanging out” has been a rarely reported phenomena.

    Maybe you can try a short afternoon siesta on for size?

    Nah, that’s too radical.

    🙂

  2. I thought I could NEVER afternoon nap and then eat dinner at 10pm! But when in Rome—er— Madrid, Cuenca, Seville, Toledo… it is truly scrumptious. Just fall into the arms of la siesta. Hasta pronto.

  3. I, too, can’t picture you just “hanging out” – – -but I think you will get the hang of it. I wanted to take a siesta when I was in Barcelona, but I was only there for seven days, so I felt like I was pulled to take everything in. My “siesta” was just walking, walking, walking aimlessly around Barcelona and soaking it all up. I envy your freedom of time!

  4. BTW, I absolutely love the pictures of the women. In particular, I find the colors are striking. But tell me why the woman in the first one is carrying her full grown red poodle rather than letting it walk down Las Rambles like a regular doggie???

    🙂

  5. Fabuloso! You’ll find your rhythm. Try hanging out in parks tower older women- that’ll give you a window into the culture…

  6. I can’ find the parasol! I’m sure that means I’m too up tight and need to vacation in foreign lands. Hope you’ve found your rhythm and your serenity and your siestas in what sounds like a wonderful city! Looking forward to more and more….Love you!

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