A Travellerspoint blog

Free entry into the National Museum El Prado

sunny 17 °C
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Sundays entry is always free at El Prado.
It was completely amazing; I got in at 9:30am (it opens at 9am and the line was already very long), and I loved every painting.
I rented an audioguide to efficiently use my time through the Museum, and it worked perfectly.
I got goosebumps when I naively entered the room where "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch was placed. Wow! I listened to the tape three times and walked back to it to observe it several more!
Las Pinturas Negras de Goya impressed me a lot, because of the contrast of those against his old colorful style.
The stories and morals behind each were very interesting, but mostly I liked El Coloso

Well I must run!
I am leaving to Valencia in an hour.

Good luck to everyone,
a warm hug, Bye!

Posted by atrabuccoc 07:47 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Afternoon in the city

the air in Madrid is charging for San Isidro

overcast 19 °C
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today there were a lot of people in the street. Well it's saturday and we are very close to the (one of the) biggest event in Madrid: San Isidro.
I slept until late and at late afternoon decided to join my aunt and her boyfriend for a stroll around the city centre.
I decided to bring my camera along and maybe take a couple of pictures along the way.
We walked a lot, even stopped at a place called "Lefties", where all the leftovers from Zara (a store) are put on massive sales, and tried out a couple of shirts, none of them I liked. German (my aunt's boyfriend) bought some nice sandals for six euros.
I mentioned that the streets were overflowing with people, well when that happens the Musícos overflow as well (and all the other artists). These days must be their luckiest! [and their smiles seem pretty genuine for them to fake happyiness].
I wished I had more money, so that I could give each one of those clusters of artists a minimal part of the happyiness they bring me. Even when it's the seventh time I hear an interpretation of the same piece!

Well anyway, we went into an Andaluz bar, and had a couple of cañas (biers in small glasses) accompanied by the very Spanish tapas (small -varies- tasters/appetizers), and enjoyed the Real Madrid game, in which el Real won by a hair and a couple of miracles here and there.
The place was nicely decorated and the music not so good. It was some Andaluz music that definitely clashed with the all-eyes-on-screen mood there was among the people inside the bar. But the service was awesome.

We headed back home, I snapped a couple of more pics, and promised myself I would go back and see (through my lens) the city at night; this time with a tripod.

Best wishes to everyone,
thank for your time,

Posted by atrabuccoc 18:04 Archived in Spain Tagged photography Comments (1)


aventura inesperada

sunny 27 °C
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Waking up on time I was able to get out at a decent time, reach the metro station and head towards the Estación Sur from where I could catch the bus to Toledo.
The only problem was the unexpected closure of the Metro station where I had to get off, Mendez Álvaro. Being able to stop a station before was the best I could do and walk off the distance seemed like the best option at the time.
It was.
If only had I walked the right way. I completely went off the opposite direction from the Estación Sur. Disgrace.
Although, I met a Madrid I would not have know otherwise. A Madrid on its feet and very poor. I was in the south of Madrid, the industrial zone ("nothing to see there" said my aunt's friend the night before "you should take the train").
Turned out there was a lot to see.
Since I was scared as hell I didn't dare to take out my camera, an amateur's mystake. I should have captured what my memory will not delete. Only those image can serve as description to themselves.

Anyway after a good hour by foot I reached the station and after five minutes I was on the bus, and fifty minutes later in Toledo.

Toledo is beautiful. But to be honest I was not impressed. It brought back to me memories of other Italian cities, especially of Assisi (although in my opinion Assisi is more beautiful).
Though, at every angle there seemed to be a good picture and I took many, but for some disgrace I deleted almost half a few hours ago [involuntary].
I want to be back, but certainly far more knowledgeable about the city and el Greco and his masterpiece.
The cathedral was beautiful, and large crowds of turists were all over.

I came back on early evening, after hours of sweat.
On the bus I could feel my smell by the weight on people's looks.
The way back home was perfect and it was nice to rest for a while.

Posted by atrabuccoc 04:39 Archived in Spain Tagged foot Comments (0)

Breathing with a big green lung

Parque del Buen Retiro en Madrid.

sunny 25 °C
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Today I unexpectedly picked up a paper where I had written the suggestions by the great cuban anthropologist Mercedes Sandoval to visit the best places in Madrid & around. I decided to go to the beautiful monastery at San Lorenzo de El Escorial (just an hour away in bus ), so for time reasons I agreed to go and eat with my aunt and her boyfriend. I specified the fact that I wanted something that would fill me up, and surprise surprise, it isn't very hard to get such results around here.
After a delicious Paella, an astonishing Salmon with fruits, and a breathtaking Orange (I mean it, breathtaking–I was really shoving it down), I walked out as soon as I could so that we could get started on our way back home, just so I would walk a little bit –you know to digest.
Well, I realized that it was already 4pm so I decided to go home and pick up my photo equipment, give up on the Escorial plan (they close at 6pm), and instead head down to “El Parque del Buen Retiro”, founded by the King Felipe IV during the late 1600.
What an amazing idea, on top of that I took the risk to bring my tripod along, which I had never done before.
It turned out that the park was big as described, but was far more beautiful than anything written on the piece of paper consulted by me that same morning.
Green all over —and Madrid has a lot of green overall, and the beautiful blue sky helped make this a very relaxing place. Everything slowed down in here, with such a stark contrast of a few feet away, where the noise crashes every single activity attempted.
It is a green labyrinth though, full of false exits played by the stark contrasts of light falling down through the trees' leaves —who themselves are blissfully playing with the gods of wind.
The park has many sculptures planted in it and every single one of them seems to have life of its own and a long long story to tell. The names on the plaques could serve only as small breadcrumbs on a long path to follow in order to unveil a story, maybe the story underlying the gestures in those sculptures.
There is also a great share of fountains, different, with varied range in pressure and length. They are all beautiful, because water, even by itself, is always beautiful.
I passed by a couple of Palacios along the way and due to the growing shadows it was unpractical to capture them at that time; instead I was happy enough snapping a photograph of the lake in front of the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), where lightning, shadows and reflections all helped a lot.
On my way out a couple of Ukranians were photographing something over a wooden fence..it turned out to be a beautiful minimalistic waterfall that lent itself to be captured in a way I've been looking for in a while.
Unfortunately the whole Alfonso XII's Mausoleum's frontal view is closed to the public due to a big concert on Saturday that they happened to be setting up today. On my final way out I glanced over to the sky and there he was Alfonso XII on his proud horse, riding into the late afternoon sky.
Proud of myself of having broken those “tripod fears” I head back home, snapping a few more pictures by hand; when passing underneath a mirrored ceiling I had to force myself to walk back to it and do what was absolutely predictable..

Well I will be going to Toledo tomorrow in the morning, and will be exploring such an architeral-diverse town.
Hope everyone is better than yesterday,
and definitely enjoying yourselves,

Posted by atrabuccoc 17:14 Archived in Spain Tagged photography Comments (2)

In my last two days..

21 °C
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..I've been around town soaking up a bit of the Madrid culture, going for some tapas and seeing the main attractions just enjoying them and taking pictures.
As I said before, Madrid has a really nice vibe and it is governed by a continuous soundtrack, gypsies at every corner playing violin, viola or singing in the side of the street, and then runnin' through the passants to gather some money for their performance.
The centre is very compact and everything is extremely close, ragning from the three main museums to the main squares to the main streets: everything's right there.
There are very beautiful buildings, and yesterday (Tuesday May 8th) there was a very bright sun reigning over the city, same goes for today (Wednesday May 9th), and hopefully they call it for the same all this week.

Today I didn't do much because I woke up unexpectedly late (noon) and had just time to contact a couple of places in Morocco regarding my stay next week.
With my aunt and her boyfriend we went to unblock my american phone, so that I will be able to use it with another company and number. Tomorrow I will pick it up by the Chinese people where we left it with.

Madrid I'm just discovering little by little, but the more I look the more details and differences there are to unfoil, it is the capital and most likely contains infinite universes within itself —just like any other major city in the world.

I've been discovering that I don't really like the visited tracks so much (like Plaza Mayor, Sol, el Palacio Real, etc.) rather I like to plunge into little streets walk and walk, maybe take a couple of pictures but kind of look at those undisturbed locals: because somehow is them (not the famous sculptures) that hold the keys to the city.

Despite that, the attractions are amazing, and I've been looking forward to spend a whole afternoon inside "el Prado" and Thyssen and Reina Sofia (actually three different half-days), but I grew kind of intimidated seeing that there were to lines at el Prado's entrance: one to buy the entry ticket and the other one to enter the museum. So I decided to take a walk instead, and that didn't turn out such aad idea. Tomorrow, thursday, I'll try to rise early and catch the smaller line.

Well okay,
it definitely came out longer than I expected, but as they say once opened the jar the wine just can't wait to see the outside.
Hope everyone is well,
auf wiederhoeren!

Posted by atrabuccoc 14:58 Archived in Spain Tagged foot Comments (1)

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