After an exhausted sleep on a surprisingly comfortable inflatable mattress (which managed not to deflate too much overnight), I was ready to hit the streets of Madrid once more. We decided to head to the Museo del Prado to begin with, so after a nourishing breakfast of bread and butter (my brother’s supplies were running low…), we set off into the sunshine for a bit of aesthetic culture.
We arrived about mid-morning and were lucky enough to get our tickets straight away. However, lengthy queues are possible, as the photo below shows, so be prepared to wait if you manage to time things wrong.
The Prado is an absolutely ENORMOUS house of art, and it is very easy to become incredibly lost. Initially, my brother and I missed the wing housing most of the collections and accidentally found ourselves in the special Goya exhibit before our time slot. Fortune was still favouring us, however, so we marched straight in.
I previously had little knowledge of Francisco Goya, so I’m afraid I looked upon these works with a naïve eye. The exhibit was divided into different subject matters such as ‘pastimes’ and ‘seasons’, and I’m sure if you are a Goya fan, then this will be the exhibit for you. Personally, I found his ‘dark paintings’ in another gallery more engrossing.
After filling our eyes here, we eventually wound up among the permanent exhibits. The Prado prides itself on its selection of religious artwork and portraits, and it houses hundreds and hundreds of the most incredible pieces. Featured artists include Rubens, Rogier van der Weydon and David Roberts, and there were even some examples of Picasso’s work when we visited. The gallery is so vast, however, that I would recommend looking at the Prado’s website beforehand and making a plan of action so that you get to see your favourite artists. My brother and I just plunged right in, and I think it is telling that we never, ever found room one (or Rembrandt!).
When our feet began to ache and my head was so full of pictures that they began to blur into one another, we ventured back out into the sunshine. Admiring art tends to make one peckish, so we then headed off into what my brother tells me is the more bohemian area of Madrid, formerly a very working class area. We went to a lovely called Alma and eventually managed to figure out how to order two coffees and two slices of an incredibly moist chocolate stout cake. I highly recommend!
Bellies full, we were now in need of a rest – and a drink. There are plenty of sunny plazas playing host to streetside bars in Madrid, so we picked one with a spare table and relaxed in the sun with several glasses of sangria. Kicking back in my sunglasses and my fruity drink in my hand, I decided that it wouldn’t be too hard to get used to this sort of life. Not too hard at all…