It isn’t raining, but…
Sunday, March 18 in Madrid
I have good news and not-so-good news. The good news is that it did not rain on Sunday. The not-so-good news is that it continues to get colder. The temperature in the morning was in the mid-30s and it did not reach 50 during the day. Oh, and the wind was blowing pretty hard, too. It made for some chilly walking. The temperature would not normally be much of a factor for us, but we chose our clothes and jackets based on last year’s weather. It was warmer then and our light jackets this year are not up to the task of keeping us warm.
We had the Sunday brunch (they call it the New York Brunch on the menu) at the Brown Bear panaderia next door. It was good and reasonably priced–if you ignore the fact that the dollar is worth 20% less than it was at this time last year. My breakfast consisted of pancakes (panqueques), bacon (not like bacon at home) and scrambled eggs, coffee, and juice. This time “scrambled eggs” (huevos revueltos) really meant scrambled eggs, unlike the eggs in the “Disappointing Restaurant” in Seville.
We walked, in the sun, with the wind at our backs, to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza which is a terrific art museum just up the street from the Prado. The Thyssen does allow photos, and we got some good pictures. The museum is well-organized, the floor-plan brochures are clear, and the attributions for the pictures are in both Spanish and English. Those things make visiting pleasurable.
A favorite area of mine is the early Italian section. It has pictures from the 1200s through the early 1500s. It is laid out so that one can see the changes in style/material/subject matter over time. There is too much art to absorb in one visit, so we chose to move next to the Spanish painters of whom the museum has a wide variety. We like visiting the room that has several paintings by Goya. Then we jumped, figuratively, of course, to the Impressionists and post-impressionists.
The Thyssen is divided up in an interesting way. They have temporary exhibits, as do many art museums, and there is a section dedicated to those exhibits. But for the permanent collection there is a major subdivision as well. In addition to the areas I mentioned, the museum also contains the personal collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza which is quite extensive and contains several masterpieces. We did not even get to that part of the museum this time. As with the Prado, one could visit this museum many times and always discover something new. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.
We sat outside the museum in the sun, which looked warm, but wasn’t, and decided to explore the Gran Via. That is a long “shopping street.” We headed there from the museum, but kept changing our route (tacking is the sailing term, I think) to try to stay out of the cold wind. We finally ended up at the Puerta del Sol where we heard what sounded like a parade being led by a drum corps. As we got closer, we could see that the “parade” was stationary and there was a large crowd of onlookers. We discovered a group of 25 or more drummers holding an event for a women’s power group. The sound from the drums reverberated from the buildings that surround the large plaza and was at times overwhelming. I tried to take a video, but the sound was so loud that it became just a loud roar on the movie.
Since we were close to the Plaza Mayor, we decided to take a walk through it. On Sundays there are often large crowds of people strolling or sitting at the restaurants watching other people. It was far less crowded this Sunday than we remembered. I suspect that the cold wind and low temperatures had something to do with that. On the way back to the apartment I inadvertently explored a new route so we had to do some backtracking. One would think that GPS and a map would be good enough to plot a course, but that depends on one knowing where one is at the outset.
As we neared Plaza Santa Ana and the apartment, we spotted a restaurant with “Wok” in the name. When we looked through the window, we could see some pot stickers being prepared. Let’s get some to go, we thought. So we went inside and looked at a menu and I said “para llevar” (to go) at the same time Patrica said “two to eat in.” Of course we ate in and had some pretty good pot stickers, crispy fried beef and sweet and sour pork. We no longer have a good Chinese food restaurant in Santa Fe, so we were vulnerable. “Cuando estés en Madrid, come como un Madreliño.” (When in Madrid, eat like a Madreliño.)
It is Monday morning in Madrid as I write this and it is colder than ever outside. It is also raining. On the other had, the wind has died down. Today is Father’s Day in Spain.
I have added more pictures to the Madrid pictures page.
Here is a map of our walk yesterday. Interestingly, the track of our time inside the museum makes it look like we were outside but other than that, it is accurate. You can clearly see my “false start” as we left the Plaza Mayor.