My mom landed in Madrid on Tuesday, and we stayed an extra night in the city before heading out on the train to Barcelona. This meant that I had to give her the world-renowned Danny Mortimer Madrid Tour on Wednesday. It was actually pretty cool being able to show someone else around the city, because it made me realize how well I got to know it through my journalistic travels over the course of three weeks. Plus, it was a nice day and Retiro Park was looking a lot better than it did during our rainy trip there a few weeks ago.
Also, I got to check out some things I never got a chance to during our stay, including the Prado and Reina Sofia museums. We visited the Prado first, and it was incredible. There was room upon room of masterpieces in painting and sculpture from artists like Rubens, Velazquez, El Greco, Goya and Titian. There was also one Rembrandt. It really is amazing to be able to walk into a new room and be blown away by at least one painting or sculpture contained inside. It was easily the best art museum I’ve ever been to. I managed to sneak in some pictures of some of my favorite parts.
The Reina Sofia, on the other hand, was not one of my favorite museums. I will preface this paragraph by saying I know nothing about art, and its more than possible the museum’s exhibits went over my head. But, wow. The Reina Sofia held some of the creepiest, strangest and just straight up dumb pieces of art I’ve ever seen. The first floor was called the “New Playgrounds” and was filled with the sounds of little kids running and screaming, along with pictures and slideshows of playgrounds. One room literally had a pile of wood, a pile of chains, and a suspended two-by-four–that’s it. My mom and I found ourselves laughing out loud at some of the “exhibits,” including one that was just four pieces of metal in an open room. Some of the drawings on the upper floors looked like they could have been done by a four-year-old or someone in the midst of a narcoleptic episode. One room had an endless “film” playing that was one tree swaying on a loop with the word “tree” being repeated over and over again in the background. I can’t say enough how disturbing and frustrating this museum was. The one redeeming quality was Picasso’s section, especially the Guernica, which lived up to its hype and was an awe-inspiring painting. I couldn’t take a picture because it was guarded on both sides by grumpy-looking security, but here’s an image from the Internet.
Finally, we arrived in Barcelona. After being here for a day and half, I can already tell its a completely different city than Madrid. Whereas Madrid felt like a real city, sort of like the Spanish version of Boston–a few really cool sites, but not exactly a paradise–Barcelona seems tailored for tourists. There are huge open walking areas, and every street has something beautiful to look at. Its filled with monuments, and some of its more famous attractions are truly jaw-dropping. We visited La Sagrada Familia today, and it deserves its own blog post, coming tomorrow. Until then, enjoy some pictures from my first day walking around Barcelona.