Sunday, May 4, 2008
Madrid: Prado, Parqe del Retro
At the end of March and beginning of April, I took a holiday to Spain. First stop was Madrid, which continually surprised me. The first surprise was the beautiful new airport -- the second was how easy it was to get to the center via subway (and only 2 Euros!) Clean, new and fast, it quite a change from the Tube. My hotel (by careful consideration) was only a five minute walk from the Prado. Across the street from the Prado was a store with sculptures looking down at the street.
The Prado, of course, is one of the greatest museums in the world. In addition to more Goyas, El Grecos and Valesquezes than one can imagine, there's The Garden of Earthly Delights (Bosch), probably the most popular attraction, and for good reason. Seeing pictures of it doesn't quite prepare one for seeing it in person -- few paintings are this entertaining. I had to wait about twenty minutes to get into the crush to view it but then spent twenty minutes myself. What I didn't know was that the triptych folds and there are also paintings on the backside left and right panels in shades of gray. Also wonderful is a large room of Goya's dark and disturbing period. It made me think of Rod Serling's Night Gallery with tortured souls and ghouls and giants.
After the Prado, I strolled through the beautiful Parque del Retro nearby. Among its features are formal gardens, long promenades under the trees and this neo-classical collonade facing a boating lake.
One of the sculptures at the boating lake. This was my first day -- more to follow.