Madrid, SpainAfter our Vaughan Town experience we returned to Madrid for a week. We were tired and quite sick with a bad cold and so the first night we stayed in a hotel, resting. On the Saturday we moved to Empajores where we had booked a room on AirBnB that was quite central to what we wanted to experience in Madrid, but still spent most of the day resting and trying to get healthy for the party that night.

At Vaughan Town we had become fast friends with Soledad, a wonderful Interior Designer, who had invited us to her home for a dinner party. The party was attended by a quite a few of our new friends and we also met some of Soledad’s. That night we ate beautiful food, drank excellent wine and enjoyed the company of wonderful people. We also learned that Spanish women are brilliant dancers as we all danced the night away.

Madrid, SpainMadrid, Spain

On the Sunday, there was a street market 50 metres from where we were staying that our new friends had told us was great to visit. The Market stretched up Calle de Ribera de Curtidores to the Plaza Cascorro and filled out several side streets down to Puerta de Toledo. The market offered a range of wares from souvenirs to clothes to homewares with people flowing in every direction.

Madrid is home to the exceptional Museo National Del Prado. The Prado is one of the most densely populated galleries I have been to with almost every wall covered. There were a number of special exhibits including ‘La Biblioteca del Greco’ a reconstruction of Greco’s personal library and includes several books annotated by Greco as well a letter and five paintings. Another was ‘Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist’ and featured four of his Eucharist tapestries commissioned by Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia, the elder daughter of Philip II and Elizabeth of Valois, alongside six modelli (sketched panels for the tapestries) and same oil sketches. The modelli have been restored and the restoration notes also form part of the exhibit. The exhibit that thrilled me the most though was ‘The Furias: Political Allegory & Artistic Challenge’ which presented a number of pieces of Tityus (whose liver was pecked at by vultures), Tantalus (who served up his son at a banquet of the gods), Sisyphus (punished for revealing Zeus’ infidelities), and Ixion (who seduced Hera). The Furies, and Graeco-Roman mythology, were a popular source of inspiration for artists and this exhibit displayed some exquisite pieces that can be used to compare the theme as interpreted over the centuries and artistic movements. The rest of the Prado is literally packed with art covering eight centuries and dozens of different artistic movements as well as art from different regions of Europe. The Prado has art by Greco, Goya, Raphael, Rembrandt, Tiziano and more, and provides for a sensory overload. To truly appreciate the Prado, you need to visit several times and take it slow. We went through it in a day and were completely overloaded by the experience.

Toledo, SpainOn Tuesday we went to Toledo with another friend who had to travel there for work, and spent a morning walking the cobblestoned streets trying to find various museums and galleries. Toledo is a maze with dozens of switchbacks and alleys creating a maddening experience when you want something specific that isn’t immediately around the central cathedral due to the amount of construction and road blocks throughout the city. The most frustrating thing with trying to navigate Toledo was the tourism office and the poor service provided. They were unable to provide accurate information regarding any of the locations we wanted to visit. Toledo is a beautiful walled city, and according to the guide books has much to offer, and it is unfortunate that we weren’t able to visit more of it.

On Wednesday we caught up with another of our new friends and meandered the streets of Madrid with her, delighting in her company and that of the city.

We met another friend, Vicent, that evening for a home cooked meal and authentic Flamenco show featuring Juan Ramírez,  It was an impressive performance with singing, guitar, and dancing culminating in Juan Ramírez’s impassioned dance of such rapidity and precision that I felt sure the stage would collapse from the effort. Watch the video at the bottom of the article to enjoy some of the show for yourselves (Juan Ramírez starts half way through).

Madrid was a fun place to visit, and I look forward to exploring it further when in better health, but the true reason I enjoy the city, and actually Spain as a whole, is the people. In Spain I have met many wonderful and warm people that it is easy to enjoy.

Other stories from Spain:

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Australia FlagVaughan Town

Australia FlagYecla - Our Month Living in Spain

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Yecla - Nuestro Mes de la vida en España

Australia FlagYecla - Gastronomy

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Yecla - Gastronomía

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Spain Flag Yecla -Voluntariado



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