We arrived in this delicious city yesterday on the high speed train from Barcelona and found our hotel, near the Plaza Mayor. A perfect location.
View from our fifth floor window. We settled in and waited for our friends to arrive. Funny thing. Months ago I was walking, as I do most mornings, with Beth, and I told her Ray and were planning a trip to Spain and Portugal in September. She stopped in her tracks and said, "Ed and I and some old friends are going to Spain and Portugal in September!" We compared itineraries and found we would be in the same city, at the same time, only once—yesterday in Madrid! We booked the same hotel and planned to meet up. We had a great evening of visiting and wandering around the neighborhood Tapas bars, then bid them farewell this morning.
Today we went to the Prado. We were there 42 years ago and have never forgotten it. Probably the greatest art museum in the world.
We spent nearly 4 hours drinking in Velasquez, Rubens, El Greco, Durer, fra Angelico, etc., etc, and, of course Goya! Oh, Goya! Lovely, shocking, powerful. Beth's friend saw Picasso's Guernica a couple days ago and called it the first anti-war painting. He hasn't yet seen Goya's Executions of the Third of May.
The Prado is hard work. Really hard work. My feet and back are still suffering, so it seemed only right to limp to the Metro, return to "our" neighborhood, find a pitcher of sangria and some tapas to share at a table on the little square across from the hotel, and indulge in some people watching.
What looks like potato salad here is potatoes with a creamy olive oil and garlic sauce. Bread. Spanish olives. So good.
Anywhere people congregate, the street musicians show up. Some are awfully good. I liked this guy's style—musical and personal.
The Spanish citizens stroll in the evening. Young couples, groups of teenagers, families—out for the air, the music, the company. I especially loved seeing the older women, so often arm in arm, properly dressed in their good clothes and earrings and necklaces, hair "done" and lipstick in place. Beautiful, they are.
Such a civilized city.