Don & Helen Spain 2010 travel blog

Caixa Forum - Madrid

Picasso's Guernica - Riena Sophia national museum

tapas and wine


Helen at the Prado


The Surrendah of Breda by Valesquez at the Prado

winner of the best shoes in Spain

Did I already mention that we all thought Toledo was a great experience, and the Parador one of the best. And so finally to Madrid, a short distance away, where our GPS girls gave us one final finger. They both knew where we wanted to go, but didn't know about all the construction work, so after keeping to the right (which we did), but not taking the service road to the hotel (which we should have done), they both kept recalculating and trying to send us into dead ends, construction sites, roads that no longer existed and whatever else. Had to hire a taxi and follow him back to the delivery site, but the good news is it was delivered without dents, and furthermore I now no longer own a Citroen,in Spain, or so the document I have says (I think; because its in French.)Overall we have been delighted with the comfort and features of the Citroen, but not easy to get the best out of it as all the manuals were in French, strange as that may sound.

We were taxied in to Plaza Vasquez de Mella to the Hotel Mate Oscar (just off Gran Via for all you Spanish experts), settled in and set out for the afternoon. Needed to keep a whole day for the Prado, so instead we walked down the Av de Prado to the Reina Sofia and took in Guernica. After we were totally over the Civil War stuff, we went to a temporary exhibition by Hans-Peter Feldman, which was very pleasant. And then after that, we had Tapas (again) and Vini de la Casa (Rioja, again).

I especially mention this because Joan had asked us to have some Rioja, and I for one was extremely happy to oblige. In point offact I have been obliging Joan on this point since September 22nd, when I bought the first bottle in the supermarket in Barcelona. For any doubters, Helen has been collecting corks, and as a result I am going to have to get a new suitcase. As a side note, whilst we have discovered the benefits of screwtops in Aus, this has been a very nostalgic trip down memory lane due to the corks. No surprise, I suppose, when all the cork comes from here anyway. We appreciated Geoff's excellent planning in bringing a cork screw with him, as not one of the Paradors or other hotels thought to provide one. This was the cause of some consternation when he broke it in Toledo, without extracting the cork. Luckily that sort of thing does not take account of Aussie ingenuity, the the cork was quickly pushed into the bottle....pity that Geoff spilled some on his trousers and had to get 'em off to wash then quick smart.

Anyway, today was the Prado, and it was fantastic. Helen realised a dream by standing in front of the Surrender of Breda, and even snapped off a piccie before "no foto" came through the ether....I got one too, but not the full bottle. I am not going to embellish the Prado. We have had a great day, and also took in the Clark Renoir temporary exhibition....started today, so we were lucky. Tomorrow is the Thyssen. And by the way Joan, we had more Tapas and more Rioja tonight.

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