20th September 2012
Getting the calendar a bit muddled here, we actually arrived in Madrid on the 18th and are staying with a lovely Couple in Torrelodones, who have two small children. So Eva is in heaven. On the 19th we visited the Prado, Eva asking directions calls it the Prada – strange looks. I’m going to do a separate post on the Prado, as it was so overwhelming. The rail system is a bit confusing, easy enough as there are only two platforms to choose, but coming back was a bit confusing and even some of the locals didn’t seem to clear, or else they had no idea what we were talking about. Anyway we did get back intact. Today we went to Reina Sophia art centre, which is the modern art museum. Even though though we arrived in Madrid earlier, we spent some time walking the streets, up to the Plaza Mayor, which all the books say you shouldn’t miss, and I pretty much agree with that judgement. The people we are staying with have a Mexican cafe, so we go there for lunch. Eva has kind over tortilla turnover, with a Mexican cactus filling (vegetarian) and I a Molana, which is the same thing but with chicken mole(chicken, multiple dried chillis and chocolate) Yum!
Isn’t it funny how in a foreign country, when you ask for directions somewhere, it is always right in front of you?
We don’t have as much time at Reina Sophia as I would like, and because we have done quite a bit of walking in the morning and it’s hot, Eva is flagging and even I, who usually has considerable stamina for Art Galleries, am feeling a bit tired. Still, we have spent some time with the jewel of the collection, Guernica. No reproduction does it justice. We have also seen many Picasso’s, Dali’s, Joan Miro and Juan Gris, most of which are unfamiliar, even in reproduction.
We are cooking for our hosts, so need to get back at a fairly reasonable time, though they generally eat later here.
21st September 2012
Segovia was a Roman city and has one of the best preserved aqueducts in the west. It was largely abandoned in the Islamic period and gradually repopulated from the 11th century as the reconquista proceeded. It lies over the Sierra de Guardarrama, north west of Madrid. The morning is overcast and misty in the mountains, and dare I say it, a bit cool, but just as we are wishing we had brought more clothing, we are heading down into the valley of the Rio Eresina, which looks hot, and is! In fact it’s not until we return that I realise just how high the range is, with the plain of Madrid, which is already at about 650 metres.
This really is a gem of a city, from a distance it looks like a fairy tale or Sleeping Beauty sight, the old town is quite small and dominated by the Alcazar, or fortress and the Cathedral. The cathedral is bigger of course! After lots of photos and lunch of empanadas, we take a drive around the sightseeing route, after the obligatory tussle with wrong turns, no entries mad roundabouts that seem to have more exits than necessary, we get some truly magnificent views of the city. Tomorrow Toledo.