Madrid: Up All Night
Madrid shares its art, horse stables, and the food off their plate with Suzanne.
I know very little about Spain, so first question to satisfy my curiosity: Do they still have Bullfights?
Actually, they don’t bullfight in Barcelona anymore. They still have them in other parts of Spain since it’s still really ingrained in their culture, but it seems like people want them less and less. Madrid, where I went to, did have a bullfight while I was there, but I choose not to attend.
Sounds like I need an education on Spanish culture.
All of the people are very hip, trendy, and beautiful. They typical don’t start going out until late at night. They prefer to eat dinner around nine. You can imagine it gets busy, but everyone remained friendly and helpful. We would go to a restaurant and ask for suggestions and everyone would speak up, “Oh you have to try this” or “try that.” They get very excited about sharing and tapas are very popular there.
Where did you go, what did you see?
We did a panoramic tour of the city. Our tour guide drove us around and showed us some of the museums….Oh and he drove us to the Real Madrid Stadium.
Can’t talk about Madrid without talking about soccer, right?
Soccer is huge. The stadium is huge. I just saw the outside, but imagine three times the size of the Salt Lake Real Stadium, or maybe a full size pro-football stadium. I also looked at the jerseys, but wow, they were really expensive.
Let’s talk about the tour a little more.
We also saw Plaza de Espana where they have a monument to the author Cervantes and his character Don Quixote. Then we saw their post office, which looks like a castle. At night, we had tapas and wine at little cafés and listened to live music.
You mention tapas a lot, what are they?
So, with tapas, you pick a few things off a large menu, usually a meat, a cheese, maybe meatballs or bread, and each comes on its own plate. They bring out everyone’s tapas and you eat off yours and everyone else’s. You share them. They usually come with baguettes and wines too.
Sounds like meals are quite a social event.
Right! For example, in the Plaza Mayor (this big open plaza), restaurants will set up huge food tents and everyone will get together there and share tapas.
Oops, I keep digressing from the tour. Please continue.
Oh, we went to Toledo! It’s a town by the mountains that has this huge cathedral. It was definitely the highlight of the tour. Inside the cathedral, parts were broken into different time periods. One section called the El Transparente shows several carvings of people climbing down from an open skylight in the ceiling. Another section, called the Retable, has many different contributions from many different artists and at the top is a huge statue of Jesus.
We had dinner at a finca, which is another word for a farm. It was a beautiful place up in the mountains purchased by a famous bullfighter. We had drinks with hors d’oeuvres and were able to see a dancing pony show. The horses frothed at the mouth quite a bit, so it had me a little worried. They assured me it was just because of the bridle, but I really stopped worrying when I saw their stable, it was nicer than my garage! It is a big house that even has a fireplace. Afterwards, they showed us their wine cellar where we had a sherry tasting. They poured it right from the barrel. Boy that is some strong stuff!
So if I had to pick one thing to do in Madrid, what should I do?
Shop, because there is so much of it. You can get anything there. I got some gold bracelets and earrings…well actually on second thought; I would go back to the Reina Sophia Museum.
They house a lot of Goya art.
Yup! So, Francisco de Goya was a painter that gradually went deaf. As he started losing his hearing, it affected his paintings. They got pretty dark by the end. At the Sophia Museum, they line up his paintings starting from when he could hear to when he went deaf so you can see the change in his style.
Fun! Alright, last thing: random fun-fact, go!
They call Columbus Day, National Spain Day. They had a parade that the king attended.