Monday, March 5, 2007

Madrid, Street Scenes, February 2007

La Plaza Mayor, Madrid

Principal Bullring, Madrid

Royal Palace

Entrance, Bullring in popular quarter of Madrid

This bullring sits atop a ground-floor department store, El Corte Inglés:

Staircase, the Senator Hotel in Gran Via

The "Jamón" Store

Reina Sophia Museum

Fresh potato chips!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Liturgically Chic

Calle de los Bordadores, your ecclesiastical fashion street.

The Sun and the Moon return

. A view of the city looking east, and the Plaza de las Descalzas.

Amor de Chocolate

Forget Starbucks (What a pity to seem them muscling in on the delightful cafes of Madrid, BTW!). In Madrid, you can drink chocolate. It is nothing like anything experienced before. It is dark, rich, deep, thick, intense and unlike anything I've ever sampled. It must be drunk in tiny sips, and preferably with a side of sweet fried dough (chuchería? - I didn't quite get what the pastry is called). This delightful place is the Chocalateria San Gines, near the Plaza del Sol.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Madrid 29 January 2007

The sun around 8:30 am! I had no idea that Spain was like Scotland in winter. No snow in the city itself, but it's on the mountains round the Madrid. At 10:00 am the chorizo hits the grill! Meanwhile, the municipal transit system provides HDTV in the metro.

Knowing nothing specific about Madrid (except that King Juan Carlos must live here and that Garcia Llorca died combating Franco at the University), I began the day with a trip to the Reina Sofia Cultural Museum, which houses Picasso's Guernica. Having watched the bombing of Baghdad on 20 March 2003, I felt a blow to the solar plexus when I turned a corner and found myself staring at this huge painting, which, by the way, was painted in Paris. Adjacent is a small Calder in homage to Picasso for this work, which one might have never heard of in the USA.

A charming find was the work of Pablo Gargallo, whose work includes wrought iron mask of Greta Garbo. Do not judge by the photo. When you are actually looking at it, it captures the essence of this legendary beauty and nearly comes alive.

The museum also contains several Dali works. Pausing before "The Enigma of Adolph Hitler" (and it truly is confounding), I though it was high time that some American artist produce "The Enigma of Dick Cheney". Artists, take your cues. Dali's enigma of Hitler includes a saucer with five beans with a tiny vampire bat perched on the lip and a disturbing black shape, decidedly Morlockian, wrapped around a dead tree.

I think that I can make the blanket statement that everyone in Madrid is a confirmed non-conformist, at least judging from the individualistic attire and hairstyles. But more on that later...Must prepare for Prado Museum day tomorrow.

Viva España

Taking advantage of fare sale season to spend a week in the heard Madrid, on Gran Via, the theater district.

The Madrileños must have invented the yuppy custom of grazing. There seem to be no set hours for dining, it's a "whenever" experience.