Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 5 in Madrid, Walking around the City, Dali at Reina Sofia Art Museum and Retiro Park

I got up late this morning, made it to breakfast at 10:15 am .  The hostel's free breakfast was basic, two pieces of toast, butter, jelly and half a glass of orange juice.  I could have upgraded to the 3 euro breakfast, but I figured toast was good enough, I would have something more to eat at lunch.

I explored the city with my Australian hostel mate again today, we left the hostel a little after noon and took the metro to Puerta Del Sol, the center of Madrid.  Our first destination was souvenir shopping on our way to the market for lunch.  I was not buying any souvenirs, on a trip this long, it is impossible to buy much of anything, my goal is to travel lightly.  My preference is to get rid of things I am not using, and avoid adding new things to my luggage.  I was happy to help my hostel mate pick out souvenirs for people back home.

We went to Mercado de San Migual for lunch, the area was less crowded this Sunday afternoon.  I bought the vegetable Paella bowl for lunch, it was delicious, well-seasoned.  I was tempted to buy the croquettes I had yesterday at dinner, but I was full, decided to wait until the next time I went to the market to have the croquettes again.

Lynnae at entrance to Plaza Mayor
After lunch we slowly made our way towards the Reina Sofia National Art Museum.  We passed through the center of Madrid, took a few pictures next to the bear statue, Madrid's symbol, and checked our maps to be sure we were headed in the right direction.  I had already taken photos in Madrid's center but took a few more today anyways, I was there.  We took a break at Starbucks on our way to the Reina Sofia, the heat had tired us both out, I did not have much energy, still recovering from being sick.

Fuente de Neptuno 
We left Starbucks and walked the short distance to the Reina Sofia Art Museum, we arrived just after 3pm and there was already a long line for entrance to the museum.  Today, the Sofia was free from 3 pm to 7 pm, so there was a long line of people waiting to enter to see Dali, Picasso and the other art in the museum.  We waited in line about half an hour, we were surprised how quickly the line moved.  There were tickets for the Dali exhibit, groups could enter every half hour, we were assigned the 4pm time slot.  We decided to go see Picasso's Guernica while we waited for our 4 pm Dali slot.

Reina Sofia featuring Dali Exhibit 

Lynnae inside Reina Sofia next to Metronome 
We saw Picasso's Guernica while waiting for our time slot for the Dali exhibit, there was a crowd and photography was prohibited.  Picasso painted the Guernica at the request of the Spanish government after the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. There was a crowd to see the Guernica, we looked at it for several minutes, it is a large work, with a lot going on, depicts the horror of the bombing. We walked around and saw some other Picasso works, about 5 minutes before 4 pm we started looking for the entrance to the Dali exhibit.

The Dali exhibit was extensive, I have never seen that much Dali in one place, the Australian said they had a similar exhibit in Melbourne.  I enjoyed the exhibit, we were at the Reina Sofia for over three hours, most of it spent in the Dali exhibit.  The exhibit also gave an overview of Dali's life, his inspiration, it discussed his admiration for Sigmund Freud, and there was a section on his collaboration with Walt Disney. The exhibit peaked my interest in Dali, I would like to read some of his written work, including the Secret Life of Dali. The exhibit quoted Dali as saying he was a better writer than artist.  I was exhausted by the time we completed the Dali exhibit, my brain had all the Dali it could take for the day.  

Lynnae near Bull at Reina Sofia 
After the Reina Sofia we walked to the Retiro Park, according to our hostel's map, this is the most popular park in Madrid, it is also the largest.  Retiro Park is huge, we started by walking uphill, then we moved into the park's green area, we had no idea where we were, we wanted to find the park's lake.  We finally found a lake with a fountain and an enclosed area that resembled a greenhouse.  The Greenhouse looking structure is Crystal Palace, we went inside, it was warm, we took a few pictures, then went outside and relaxed on the grass. 

Lynnae in front of the Crystal Palace in Retiro Park
After relaxing near the lake for about an hour, we decided to head back to our hostel.  We walked through Retiro Park and found another lake, a lake where you can rent boats or go on a boat ride.  This area was much mroe crowded then the other parts of the park.  Sunday evening seems to be park time in Madrid, there were families, young and old people, dogs, everyone seemed to be at Retiro Park.  After leaving the park we caught a cab back to our hostel, it was only 5 euros and we split the cost.  

Lynnae at lake in Retiro Park 
We went to dinner after we got back to the hostel, a third hostel mate from London joined us.  We had Tapas at a restaurant around the block from our hostel, my hostel mates check out of the hostel early tomorrow morning and wanted to eat close so they could get back, pack, and sleep early.  The Tapas were good, my first Tapas in Spain.  I had been eating cheap, had not gone out with a group in Barcelona, Tapas are for sharing, and tonight I shared them with hostel mates. We made a few mistakes ordering, nobody in our group spoke Spanish, Italian was the closest language we had among us.  Everything was good, we headed back to the hostel, it was probably after 10pm by then.  Dinner starts late in Spain, everything seems to start late.  Tomorrow, will be another free museum day at the Prado for me.

Day 5 in Madrid Photo Album

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