Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cafe life, galleries, and wedding cake architecture

Madrid is a city full of open air cafes and restaurants. I'm sure it's because of the fabulous sunny weather here, as well as the MadrileƱos affection for tapas, beer, and sangria. We've been sampling all of these things in the past three days. Oh yes, coffee too. Wouldn't you like to join me here on a sunny morning?

This fellow looks like he knows how to live the good life, no?

Yesterday we did the hop-on-hop-off thing and saw some parts of the city that we might otherwise have missed. Notably the architecture of the Gran Via, built to emulate New York buildings before the turn of the last century.  Harry christened it "wedding cake architecture" and I think it's very apt.

The woman with the body of a lion could possibly be a decoration on the top of the cake....?

There are also lots of older buildings, now apartments lived in by normal people, although they pale in comparison to the rococo styles above.

Our last two days have also been filled with visits to arts galleries. Yesterday we visited the Thyssen Museum, home to the largest private art collection in Europe. Lots of treats there including a water colour by one of my most favourite artists, Paul Klee, plus paintings by Chagall, Degas and Matisse, among many others. Unlike the Prado, photographs were allowed at the Thyssen.

The Thyssen is also home to  ore contemporary artists.  Here's Harry looking around at some paintings. Sadly I can't remember the artist's name. We've probably seen too many to remember much. 

Today we visited yet another gallery. This one is the Reina Sophia, featuring historic and also contemporary art. We saw Picasso's Gurenica, truly amazing to see. The exhibit included photos of Picasso's work as the the painting progressed. It was interesting to see the changes that occurred as he worked on this piece. Photos were prohibited in that salon--but I'm sure you've seen them. It's really large, taking up the entire wall of a large room.

This afternoon we went to the old part of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor built in the 16th Century and all the wonderful buildings around it. I took a lot of nice pictures but I'm having problems downloading them to the computer so they may remain unseen. We really noticed some parallels between this part of the city and buildings in Mexico, which were built around the same time.

One amazing thing happened today. I was stopped by a couple in the elevator of the art museum, asking if I was Joanie. (It is my childhood name.) It turned out to be the sister of my ex-brother-in-law, Elizabeth West and her partner. They are visiting Spain because she was attending a conference. And somehow she recognized me--even though it has been over 30 years since we've seen each other. It baffles me how she could have identified me after such a long time and in such a different place--but she did. We had a quick visit in the gallery and promised to get together back home in Victoria.

Tomorrow will be our last day here and we'll return the old part of Madrid to visit a convent that Harry saw when he was in Spain 35 years ago.  I'm hoping to solve the photo issue so I can post more pictures for you.


  1. A magnificent city to visit, and a small world to run into someone you've known!

  2. Oh My Goodness, what a fun time you are having. When I first read this I though, they have crashed a wedding for the cake.
    How funny I like Paul Klee also, but i really do not know many people who like him. In fact none of my teachers could see any influence in my work. I agree I just enjoy his work.

    Also, I am so envious of your beautiful hair. I remember when you let it go white. You always look so put together and pretty.

    cheers, parsnip


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