Spent today in Madrid. I accidentally booked myself a ten hour layover
in Madrid but it's actually been quite nice.
Getting out of Boston was less nice-there was something wrong with
Iberia's computer system at Logan so they had to do everything by
hand. Obviously, this took forever-when they checked me in they had to
phone my information in to someplace else and then hand write a
boarding pass! Fortunately I didn't have any luggage to check (I'm
packed frighteningly light for this trip) because I totally didn't
trust their handwritten tags either. The flight ended up leaving about
an hour late. Boo!
My sad, sad excuse for a boarding pass.
Once we landed in Madrid they hooked me up with a real boarding pass
for my continuing flight, I dropped my bag off in a locker, and took
the metro into the city. The metro is very nice. How awesome would of
be if the MBTA (in Boston) joined the rest of the world and started putting up
signs to tell when the next train was coming and such? Some day.
Once I was in Madrid I spent some time walking around (I was trying to
follow the historic Madrid walking tour from my Lonely Planet chapter,
but it's terrible, very hard to follow). Then I went to the Prado,
which is actually where I'm writing this right now.
The Prado! Probably no one needs me to confirm that the Prado is, indeed, a brilliant museum. Only problem is it's a bit crowded, less crowded today at least than the Met when I've been there, but more crowded than the Museum
of Fine Arts in Boston, except maybe if the MFA were having a free
day. I saw Goya's seriously unsettling Pinturas Negros*, Bosch's
Garden of Earthly Delights (so weird and wonderful; I wanted so much
to get closer and see more of the painting, but so did everyone else
in the room).
I think my favorite painting, though, was Las Meninas, the big
Velasquez picture with the little princess and the royal household
around her. It reminded me of Sargent's painting of the daughters of
Edward Darley Boit. They similar in size and they both feature small
girls, but they also both have a lot of shadows, and things going on
in the shadows, and people looking at things not visible to the viewer
of the picture. I don't know if Sargent is known or assumed to have
been influenced by the Velasquez painting but it seemed that way to me.
Anyway, then I lost my jacket at the airport, which was decidedly frustrating. I will check at the Lost and Found when I go back through the airport on my way home. Oh and then the flight was delayed, though only a half-hour but still! It was supposed to arrive at 11PM and I was annoyed to arrive even later.
*in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susannah Clarke has Goya paint
Strange surrounded by the dead Neapolitan soldiers he has revived; now
I really understand what she as talking about.