Around 10 we met up with another friend from our program and walked the city streets. Madrid is has all the best parts of a big city from the endless architecture to every shop you can imagine. The best part, however, is that it is cleaner and much more calmer than New York and Chicago. We stopped in a Starbucks to eat sandwiches from our senora, refuel on coffee, and listen to a great band of street performers. After we had regained our energy, we visited the Prado museum, one of the most famous Baroque art museums in Europe and the most important in Spain. It was obviously stunning to see not only beautiful art but also take in the history of them art and artists as well. We spent about two hours wandering the floors. After lunch we all headed back to take naps and grab some dinner and then experience some of the night life.
Mallory and I were up early at 9:00. Our hostel had free breakfast which was great (especially because our room was so cheap!) so we grabbed some food and headed for the royal palace. The palace had about twenty rooms open to the public and the rooms were breathtakingly lavish. Each room had been redecorated to the taste of each royal to inhabit the palace and my favorite was the royal dining room with a chair available for at least 400 hundred royal guests. I'm working on getting an invite to the next dinner :) Next we stopped into the cathedral which had a much more modern decor than we have seen yet. For a snack we visited the best tapas market in Madrid and it was so much fun! The place was packed with every type of fresh made tapa you could imagine and it was almost impossible to choose just one! Finally we decided on a pesto lasagna and a cheese and rice croquette which turned out to be even more delicious than they looked. After another round of coffee we walked to the other side of Madrid to visit the Reina Sofia, another art museum. This museum was completely different than the Prado and held several exhibitions of current day artists. One artist had several pieces dedicated to nature and the sound of running water and another happened to be an photographer from the United States. His exhibit was filled with beautiful photos of the west. The most EXCITING part of the Reina Sofia is La Guernica by Picasso, one of his most moving works. The piece takes up an entire wall and was guarded by two people. After a quick nap we went out in downtown Madrid and danced until six am.
Sunday morning we were out of the room by nine and in the streets with our luggage. We basically sat like hobos in various cafes until it was time to catch our bus at three. Overall, it was an amazing and life changing weekend!
Inside the Cathedral
In front the the Palace