Madrid, Spain

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The "four towers" were observed from Air France flight 1600 from Paris to Madrid. These towers (Espacio, de Cristal, Sacyr Vallehermoso, and Caja Madrid) occur in Madrid's business district.

Waiting for luggage in the Madrid Airport

A traveler in front of a Spanish pharmacy. Note that it's spelled with an "F", which is phonetically closer to the mark.

In front of the Hotel Preciados

A traveler in front of the Madrid Opera House, which is near the Hotel Preciados.

A traveler waiting to cross a street. The car drivers and pedestrians in Madrid follow general traffic rules better than any other city taken on these summer travels except for Honolulu. In all other cities, crossing streets was a worrisome process because drivers, motor cyclists, or bicylists were unpredictable. 

Breakfast at the hotel In the lobby

On the way to the Prado Museum by subway. Note that the subway lacks graffiti and is not crowded. 

A traveler in front of McDonalds in Madrid. I forgot to post photos of the Paris subway or a Paris McDonalds, as pointed out by Pattie Koss, so I didn't want to omit them in Madrid.

The relative quiet of a Madrid subway.

Near the entrance of the Prado Museum. Unfortunately photography of Objets D'Art is forbidden. Not surprisingly, this museum contains a bevy of masterpieces by Spanish painters including Velazquez, Goya, Ribera, and Murillo. It contains more than a dozen El Greco paintings (who lived and painted in Toledo Spain for many years). Surprisingly, it contains more paintings by the Flemish Peter Paul Rubens than any museum in the world. The museum contains a single Rembrandt, but with so many other great paintings, this is not a major setback.

A street entertainer outside of the museum. A statue of Goya near the main entrance
A statue of  Velazquez near the Prado Museum A traveler and a "modern" statue near the Prado Museum
At the hotel foyer with a model of an oyster shell containing a pearl

Soap in the hotel patterned after a golf ball. With so many golf courses and golfers in Hendersonville, the hotels and motels there should adopt this as the soap standard.

A salad in Madrid. We've not had a good "garden" salad since we were in Honolulu (seven weeks ago). This includes Southeast Asia, Sydney, Rome, and Paris. We are not sure why such salads are lacking in these countries despite ordering what was called a "large salad". However, we've had great salads in the two days that we've been in Madrid. Let's hope that such salads continue.

A Spanish traditional dish - paella. We certainly enjoyed this one; the first that we've had in since we were in Madrid in 1994. This dish is so good that we have to try to make it when we return to Hendersonville.

An excellent and happy server dishing out our paella. 

This 17 oz of Spanish beer costs the equivalent of $1.00, which is certainly competitive with thirsty Thursday's at the Asheville Tourists ball park.

On the way to the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. This museum is across the street from the Prado, which we visited yesterday. The Thyssen-Bornemisza has a Rembrant self-portrait, and several impressionist paintings by Monet, Manet, Renoir, van Gogh, and Degas. It also possesses more modern art including Picasso, George Braque, Piet Mondrian, and one by Jean Miro. 

All cities in our summer travels had a Starbucks, including this one in Madrid

The Organization of Spanish Medical Colleges is near the Museums.

The Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza had a special exhibit with the paintings of the American Edward Hopper. Many of the exhibited paintings belong to the Whitney Museum in New York, NY, which specializes in Hopper art.

A traveler at the entrance of the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid. This museum contains art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

A traveler in front of two Juan Miro paintings, an artist favored by Jim and Sherryn Trescott of Macedonia

Two more Miro paintings. Altogether this museum possesses dozens of Miro paintings.

A Piccasso. The museum also contains Piccasso's Guernica, one of the most famous paintings of the 20th century. It hung in the Museum of Modern Art in New York for many years, and the travelers have seen it there dozens of times. It has been in this museum since 1992, but photographing it is forbidden.

Relaxing in the garden of the Queen Sofia museum In the garden

This museum was formerly a hospital. The above of a corridor gives you an indication of its large size.

The travelers in front of an Alexander Calder mobile in the garden. Calder is one of the travelers' favorites.

Ouside of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid

This guitar was donated to the museum by the wife of the guitarist Andre Segovia.

Near the entrance of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The museum occupies the former home of Don Juan de Goyeneche which was built in 1720. It houses more than 1400 paintings and 600 scuptures.

The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando possesses 13 paintings by Goya including that shown above.

A Velazquez self portrait

There is an unusual juxtaposition of portraits in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. On the far left is a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte (not known for his democratic ways) painted by an unnamed artist and on the far right is a portrait of George Washington (who is known for his democratic ideals) painted by Jose Perovani.

A newly found favorite of the travelers is the Spanish painter Fernando Labrada who painted the above portrait of his wife shown above.

A traveler in front of the La Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, which is next to the Royal Palace.

A view of the Royal Palace in Madrid. Unfortunately photography inside was forbidden.

Sipping some sangria back at the hotel after a rigorous day of touring

While in Madrid, the travelers took a detour to Metropolis, shown above. We didn't see Superman, but we had coffee with Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy, the cub reporter and Daily Planet photographer, was kind enough to take the next photo.

The travelers thank Jimmy (Henry James) Olsen for taking the above photo.

Having dinner at La Bolo. Cocido (various meats cooked in rich broth) is the highlight of this 19th-century restaurant, which the travelers enjoyed.

The travelers had dinner at the El Cucurucho del Mar, which is a seafood restaurant. Although Madrid is hundreds of miles from the sea, seafood is flown in daily to the restaurants. The supermarkets also have a large selection of fresh seafood that surpasses that which is available in most of the United States. The above dinner contained oysters, clams, prawns, shrimp, and other crustaceans. 

A traveler at an entrance to the Parque del Retiro in Madrid. This park of 350 acres is next to the Prado Museum. The original park was the idea of King Phillip II (1556-1598). Numerous Spanish royalty made changes over the years. The term "retiro" is translated as "retreat."

The park contains beautiful gardens as shown above. 

The park also contains numerous fountains and a lake with boats for hire.
The travelers at a fountain outside of the Retiro Park

The park contains wildlife including the brown squirrel shown above. We have a bevy of squirrels in Hendersonville including white squirrels, but none that resemble this creature (maybe we haven't looked carefully enough). In contrast to our squeamish Hendersonville squirrels, this one relished human contact.

Independence Gate, one of 18 gates that lead into Retiro Park A garden in Retiro Park

A fortune teller in Retiro Park. Note the crystal ball on the table. The client is the one with sun glasses. 

Another fortune teller, the one with the sun glasses, in the Park. This fortune teller reads the cards. It is probably a coincidence that both fortune tellers are wearing orange blouses. However, fortune tellers don't believe in coincidences. 

Sunday morning at the El Rastro flea market, which has been in existence for more than 100 years. The stalls go on for several city blocks, and it can be so crowded that it's impossible to move.

More action at the flea market

The market contains a large variety of items including leather goods (purses, wallets, luggage), all kinds of clothes, kitchen items, hardware, tee-shirts, music CDs, flags, and toy animals (shown above). After purchasing two red tee-shirts with bulls on them for ourselves, we went to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and then to Ritiro Park, which is shown next.

Relaxing in Ritiro Park after a rigorous day of touring while also resting up for tomorrow's return to Hendersonville

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Created 23 July 2012; updated 29 July 2012

Robert Roskoski Jr. Laura Roskoski