Madrid: Sin Para

Madrid. 6 million people. 32 JMU students and Jesús (our coordinator).

Only allowing 2 days in the Capital of Spain required us to basically jet set through everything. After the 3 hour drive to Madrid we arrived at the Museo del Prado, one of the world’s most famous museums. Our tour guide Laura, walked us through with our trusty walkie talkies detailing the history and the artists lives. We passed the through the works of Velásquez and Goya. “The Maids of Honor” was my favorite of the drawings.

In Barcelona two weeks earlier we had seen Picasso’s interpretations of this picture, he created a multitude of variations. It was truly amazing to see his inspiration after all the hype. The most disturbing drawing was “Saturn Devouring One of his Sons”. Goya created this during his black period. It definitely haunted me for a minute.

After our guided tour, my Eye Witness Spain guide book lead me to other famous images. I have 0 to no knowledge of art so reading about the pictures before my eyes really enhanced the experience. After questioning many people we arrived at “The Garden of Delights”, a beautiful strange depiction of heaven, earth and hell. Humans with pig heads, incests, horses, pink foam looking buildings and regular naked people partied in earth like something in cirque de soleil.

1:30 comes quickly and brings the rain. We dart through the rain drops back to the bus and inhale our sandwiches are madres have packed for us. The hotel doors rotate through to a colonial interior or Victorian, not really good with my periods. Showers and siestas while the Korea vs Greece World cup game flashes on the tv.

4 o’clock rolls by and we are en route to Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Although potentially a third of the size of Prado, this museum houses Dalí and Picasso’s famous “Guernica”. Jesús, never at a loss for details or years to throw at us, explains the history of the building. Reina Sofía used to house people who were crazy, windows with bars line the walls, Jesús whispers that people in straight jackets were in the basement. The rain hits the windows hard and I feel like I am about to be in a horror film. We move on to Dalí, my main man. Jesús gives us the low down on Dalí’s life, which works parallel to his works.

8pm and we are dressing elegantly for  dinner, which turns out to just be in the hotel with only our group. We looks fresh and clean, muy guapa. Only 2 glimpses of the USA vs Britain game are allowed and we cram onto the bus for Chicago, el musical. For 60 euros on a Saturday we are about 20 rows from the stage.


The voices of Spaniards singing Jazz shake the walls and I find myself singing the english versions in my head along with the performers. Finally at 12:30 our day of non stop has ended. The Cervas bus drops us off at the hotel and we all make it to our rooms only to emerge 10 minutes later with a game plan: hit the streets of Madrid. We have a 8:45 breakfast call time for the next day, but 8 hours is a long time…

Life in the fast lane was never meant so literally.

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