Guernica, at last

23.03.09 — Arrival in Madrid 12:15pm

After 14 hours on the Francisco de Goya, literally flying through the southern French and northern Spanish countryside, we arrived in a dry and bright Madrid. This leg of the journey took us through some stunning countryside, with snow capped mountains and grand retreats in the distance. I’ve not had much time to appreciate Madrid as yet, but the coffee and pastries are delicious.

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23.03.09 — Madrid 6:30pm

Madrid is a slightly odd city — it seems on first impressions to be very small. It just doesn’t feel big like other cities. I don’t have enough time here to prove this either way, so it’ll have to wait for another visit. Visit of the day was the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a glorious example of the architectural old and new coming together in harmony — why can we never get this right in the UK?

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This was primarily an excuse for me to finally see Guernica, but the centre houses many other excellent works and a few temporary exhibitions. The Paul Thek exhibit was at first disappointing and thereafter intriguing — I’ve never heard of him and yet his importance to 60s and 70s art is obvious. Another show, Dependencias by Eulalia Valldosera, was great fun with some interesting audience participation. Everyone had a play and we left the Museo, after a visit to their ultra cool café, happy people.

23.03.09 — Madrid 11:30pm

Narrow streets, cool bars, tasty tapas, beers, rude waitresses, lovely hotel, rose sellers everywhere. We hit a nice tapas joint for some tasty Galacian treats in the evening, delightful food but the moodiest of service, the locals seemed to love it and we were lucky to get a table. From there we settled in to Bar Populart for some Cuban jazz, nice crisp beers, and enough smoke to make me feel as though I’d gone back to twenty a day! It all made for an awesome atmosphere. Great music, and I got some nice photos as well. A great end to our short stay in Madrid.

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