Thursday, June 23, 2022

Madrid ---> Barcelona

Breakfast buffet at the hotel, checked out of our room, checked our luggage at the front desk, and then off to the Prado. There was a line to endorse our online reservations, another to enter the museum, and another to be checked by security... but I'd do twenty more lines if I needed to for the Prado. 

There's no way to see and appreciate everything, so we made a list of essentials and started checking them off. We started off with Las Meninas (brilliant!), The Garden of Earthly Delights (fascinating and much smaller than I imagined), and a host of Rubens and Goyas. On the way, serendipity brought us sculpture gardens, Rafael, del Sartos, and so on.

Nu began to flag so we decided that Big A and Nu would head for the train station where they could rest and snack while I got another hour and a half to wander around. That was lovely of them and lovely for me. I found El Grecos, the Goya "Black Paintings," and then was blown away by this random find where I could see that A Portrait of a Girl with a Pigeon was the same model--only more grown up in Time Defeated by Hope and Beauty

Then I was wandering down the main hallway again and passed by the Las Meninas room again and spied the painting through two doorways--and it was absolutely breathtaking.The angles and light were so amplified, the dwarf's face the most defined of them all, the whole scene so chaotically domestic, and for a moment, it was like I was a part of that tableau--symmetrically contrapuntal to the courtier in the stairway who's also two doorways away. I just stood there for a while.

But I began to get some plaintive texts, so I headed to the train station to meet the fam--I didn't even stop by the gift shop. Got to the train station, drank the orange juice Big A had saved for me (they served the most amazing, freshly-squeezed juice everywhere!), went through security, got on our train, and traveled at 300kms/hour to Barcelona.

We ended the day with tapas in a lively city square filled with toddlers making friends, dogs ditto, fireworks (feast of St. John the Baptist), second-hand cannabis smoke, sangria, many plates of food, gelato from a nearby stand, and then off to bed.


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