Four Day Weekend On A Budget In Madrid
Four Day Weekend: After a month and a half of paperwork, beginning a new job, and getting settled, four days to rejuvenate my spirit is definitely needed.
October 12th (El Dia de la Hispanidad), is a national holiday in Spain. There is a parade, and the Spaniards commemorate the day that Christopher Columbus sailed for the Americas. Scarlett and I didn’t find out about the parade until right before it started, and since I’m not a fan of Christopher Columbus’s history no matter what country I’m currently living in, this was no great loss. However, the museums were free for the day, and since money has been tight these first couple of months in Madrid, I decided to pounce on this amazing opportunity!
Museo Reina Sofia: The Reina Sofia Museum has an abundance of art with themes of surrealism. It houses Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” which was a protest of the Spanish Civil War, and I was breathless being in the presence of such a great work of art. It was definitely a moment where I was completely in awe at the grandeur of the painting.
I kept saying, “This is a Picasso original!”
There were several people taking photos, but when I attempted to take a picture, I was kindly asked to put my phone away and shown a sign stating that no photos were allowed in that particular room. When Scarlett and I went out of viewing area, she was apparently able to sneak a quick photo. I didn’t realize she had done this, but she whispered the fact that she was able to get a photo after we left the area. I probably shouldn’t be proud of her, but I really am! We don’t have a complete photo of the painting since her view was blocked by other viewers and museum staff, but I figured this would have to suffice since I didn’t want to get kicked out.
Picasso’s “Monument aux espagnols morts pour la France (Monument to the Spaniards Who Died for France)” was also amazing. We were also able to see works by Salvador Dali.
We easily spent three hours at the museum and didn’t even realize how long it had been.
The Arzábal Restaurant, located inside the Reina Sofia, is well worth the visit. We ordered a smoked salmon sandwich to share. (It ended up being salmon on toast and not a full sandwich, but it did the job!) Anytime I have opted to get a quick bite to eat at an art gallery restaurant, I have never been disappointed. Scarlett and I used to eat at the Frist in Nashville as well and always enjoyed it.
The Prado Museum: Our next stop was the Prado Museum since entrance was also free on October 12th. The Prado Museum is home to neoclassical works featuring several different depictions of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The detailed images of the beheading of John the Baptist, purgatory, sin, and grace kept us fairly busy up until closing time. Some of the art was fairly disturbing, but incredible at the same time. The opportunity to see the works of Rembrandt escaped me since time got away and the museum was closing, but I will have to find the exhibit during our next visit.
Museo de San Isidro: The Museum of San Isidro is an archaeological museum that is a five minute walk from our apartment, and it has free admission every day.
When you first walk in, you see several different fossils of different animals, and teeth of human remains. It was very interesting to me that the basic necessities for human life during the “caveman” days in Spain weren’t different than those I have seen depicted in several different museums in the United States. There didn’t seem to be many differences in culture during this time period. Survival was universal. This isn’t that important an observation I suppose, but nonetheless, I wanted to wrap my head around the simplicity of it.
One of my favorite exhibits at this museum was one of a well. There is a story of a baby that falls into a well and the parents prayed for him to be returned. He was found in the risen water splashing around and playing.
Since we visited this museum last weekend, we didn’t go yesterday. The Reina Sofia and Prado Museum took up most of our day, and we spent about eight hours total between the two museums. We still have two floors to explore at the Reina Sofia on our next trip since we weren’t able to get those. Racing through each exhibit wasn’t really an option for us. What would be the point of that?
I’m thrilled that we were finally able to experience some of the culture that Madrid is known for, and the fact that we were able to get in free makes it even better!