With moving on in mind, our first stop today was beautiful Atocha Renfe (train) Station, an under 2km walk from the apartment.
A very helpful agent printed me the schedules for various destinations and kindly ensured I knew which station each departed from. Having found ourselves at the wrong station in a city in China last year, this detail was very much appreciated. I didn’t even know there was a second renfe station in Madrid.
From Atocha station we simply crossed the street to visit the Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia. A massive former hospital, this gallery houses a permanent collection by modern artists including Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and temporary exhibits - Russian Dada-ism being featured at the moment.
Most famous among the artworks at the Sofia is Pablo Picasso’s mural Guernica. He’d been commissioned by Spain to do a piece for the 1937 World Expo in Paris well before the bombing of civilians that drove him to create the masterpiece that drew the world’s attention to the dire situation of the Spanish Civil War.
A truly moving master piece on the shock, horror and pain of war, the Guernica exhibit includes many of his sketches and a series of photos of the work in progress. Worth a visit to the Sofia for it alone, I’d say.
Expecting high prices in the high rent museum district, we were very happy to find another well-priced menu del dia; chicken scallopini, salad, potatoes, beverage and postre for €12.5
After lunch we meandered over to Puerta del Sol, intending to show Duncan the area I had stayed in with Vicki & Anil in 2009.
We happily hung out watching live performances as part of the Fiesta de la Musica, Cultura y el Ocio. It seemed as though each band had a four-song set and we heard a variety of rock, jazz, blues and latin-ish music. Of particular note was a flamenco singer accompanied by a pianist and violinist. They were most enjoyable, so we were very pleasantly surprized when they were joined on stage by a large troupe of flamenco dancers. This lengthy performance was not even the end of the show; next up was The Shaken Bakers, a four-piece band that sounded both Beatle-esqe and Stray Cats-ish. Mucho fiesta!
Back at the apartment we enjoyed the sunny patio and spend a couple hours selecting from the myriad of options available as our next stop. Comparing destinations, routes, transportation options and finding accommodations is time consuming.
So, just as the street below starts to get noisy at 11pm we are off to bed. Not to sleep...
At 2:45 the noise from the street was operatic. While some yahoos were shouting yahoos, it was largely just excited voices, which reverberate off the stone roads, sidewalks and buildings. Makes me feel grateful for the muffling effects of other building materials, and the sound barrier built along my house.