A week in Madrid

posted in: Home, Spain | 1

We spent a fascinating week in Madrid. We didn’t want to see every significant sight in Madrid – no-one can in only one week – we mostly wanted to soak up the atmosphere.

Reina Sofia and the Prado

In the end we only visited two of the major art galleries and both made disturbing impressions and left me with very strong memories.

We visited the Reina Sofia, the museum of 20th century art, in order to see Picasso’s Guernica. I am sure it is a painting which affects everyone. Its juxtaposition with posters of the Spanish Civil War and the fact that I was reading C J Sansom’s A Winter in Madrid made it even more striking.

Guernica by Picasso
Guernica on Wikipedia ( http://www.picassotradicionyvanguardia.com/08R.php)
One of the Spanish Civil War posters in the Reina Sofia Museum
One of the Spanish Civil War posters in the Reina Sofia Museum

I have always admired greatly the paintings, etchings and drawings of Goya and in the Prado I wanted to see the Black Paintings and be touched by the complexity of the man.

The Lake Maja by Goya in the Prado
The Naked Maja (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_maja_desnuda)
Fantastic Vision: http://www.museodelprado.es/uploads/tx_gbobras/P00756.jpg Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2285317
Fantastic Vision: http://www.museodelprado.es/uploads/tx_gbobras/P00756.jpg Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2285317

Retiro and The Royal Botanical Gardens

Our AirBnB in Madrid was close to the art galleries and so also close to two wonderful parks in the centre of Madrid.

The Royal Botanical Gardens are wonderful and I could easily have visited daily if I had the stamina!

The Retiro is enormous, and varied, with lots of views, delights and secret corners. I could have wandered in both these gardens everyday, camera in hand.


Churches and the Cathedral

We had seen a lot of churches on our trip, most obviously in Burgos and Zamora and so in Madrid the emphasis was elsewhere. Nevertheless, we visited the Cathedral and were somewhat disappointed, and then were surprised by a 20th century church just outside the Retiro.

The Cathedral of Madrid
The Cathedral of Madrid
The Church of San Manuel and San Benito
The Church of San Manuel and San Benito

Plazas and streets

Large squares are found all over the centre of Madrid and the streets are absolutely designed for wandering and exploring. Madrid is very much a city for living in – the various neighbourhoods provide everything needed by the residents for everyday life. There was a wonderful organic bakery in our street, butcher, delicatessen and cheese shop, excellent supermarket, and a real market within a 15-minute walk.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid
Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Food!

The pictures speak for themselves!


And that was the end of our week in Madrid. It had been fascinating but sadly ended with me having contracted Covid and it wasn’t just ‘a little cold’.

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