Wine and Art in Madrid

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 4:04 PM
Madrid Day 2, Tuesday 29th: We spent our second day in Madrid mainly touring the Prado Museum of Art, watching the Spain-Portugal soccer game, and general lazing around. Phil tried to go back to the airport to look for his wallet, except we found out that there was an unexpected worker’s strike for the metro. Unfortunately, that means there’s no chance of us finding his wallet, and we won’t be getting devious discounts using his student card.

Drinking wine in Spain seems very common. For lunch, we ordered a bottle of wine along with our meal, which cost 5 euro! For some reason, they never charged us for it. We even saw an insurance salesman eating lunch alone, who ordered a whole bottle of red wine for himself. I remember staring at him as he finished that bottle on his own. After finishing our bottle for lunch, we went straight to another bar, and ordered a second bottle of wine, this time a red wine. In fact, people here seem to drink alcohol all the time. Just today, Richard witnessed an old man down a bottle of beer for breakfast; we were in a little restaurant with a diner bar in it. I saw a singular tap that customers were getting beer from. Furthermore, I noticed that most of the 3 course meal combos included a choice of wine, beer, or water.

After lunch wine and olives...delicious.

Back to the wine itself, I find it to be really good. As Phil describes it, it’s very mild tasting. Sweet to taste, it’s almost like a delectable juice, with a hint of alcohol, mixed in with different fruity aromas. I’m making up the part about aromas, as I can barely smell, but I’m pretty sure I’m right here. “Rioja” is for reds, “Tinted” is for pinks, and “Blanca” is for whites. I think our tastes in wine tend towards whites.

The Prado Museum was our main attraction for the date. Housing over XXXX pieces of art, mostly Spain paintings, we spent a good many hours in there. I don’t really like Spanish art all that much, compared to French or Italian works, but there were a few famous pieces there that I had learned about in art history class. It’s pretty cool to learn about masterpieces, and then to actually see them in real life later. I think my first such experience was in the DIA in Detroit, where I saw Judith with the Head of Holofernes. I remember thinking “…hey….I know that piece….” and staring in semi-awe. I still had the same feeling in the Prado Museum. Here’s a list of the more famous pieces I saw in Prado.

The Family of Charles IV – Goya

The Third of May – Goya

Self Portrait – Durer

The Garden of Earthly Delights – Bosch

Las Meninas – Velasquez

David Victorious over Goliath – Carvaggio

We haven’t been sleeping much the past few days. Including this morning (Wed 30th), the three of us have missed 3 nights of sleep the past week. After the Prado Museum, we headed to Retiro Park, which is sort of like Central Park in NYC. I think we made it about 50 meters into the park before passing out for an hour on the first park benches we saw. Funny, because after waking up and continuing our walk, we found that there were grassy areas that we could have slept on instead, just around the corner.

Retiro Park, evening nap.

Unfortunately, Tuesday night Spain defeated Portugal in soccer. You can guess how crazy the night was, with people partying until at least 5am. I was rooting for Portugal too. I guess I have a sadistic side somewhere, because I really wanted to see the people here disappointed.

That’s all for now. Not sure how long I can keep up these lengthy updates.



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