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Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
I recently earned my Masters in History at NWMSU and am now working as a language assistant in a Spanish elementary school.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday in Madrid

I spent most of this Sunday in Madrid. I took the 11:00am train to the city and went to the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a museum of 20th-century Spanish art named after the current queen, Sofia, wife of the acting monarch, Juan Carlos. The museum is most famous for housing what is possibly Pablo Picasso's most well-known painting, Guernica. He unveiled the painting in 1937 soon after the German bombing of the town of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War. The painting is often interpreted as the chaotic aftermath of the attack with several symbols thrown in.
The museum also held several paintings by Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró.

After the museum I took the metro to the old section of Madrid and visited the Plaza Mayor, the great square where many bullfights and public executions took place in the past. Today it is full of cafes, street performers, people sitting on blankets, and fat Spider-Man. In the center is a statue of King Felipe III.
Outside the Plaza Mayor is one of Madrid's oldest covered markets, Mercado de San Miguel, which was constructed in 1915. It was very busy and included fish, meat, produce, and tapas bars.
I also found this very tranquil street nearby. Notice the slanted buildings on the right. (This reminds me of a word you often hear in Spain, "tranquilo," which means "relax" or "don't worry.")
I also returned to Gran Vía to take some pictures of the Edificio Metrópolis, a landmark building in Madrid which was covered up for renovation the last time I was in the area.
From here I walked to the area near the Plaza de Oriente where the Catedral de la Almudena and the Royal Palace are located. Here is the Cathedral:
America celebrates 12 October as Columbus Day, but in Spain, this is a larger holiday. Christopher Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag, and while he may not have actually been the first European to land in the Americas (and actually never believed he had discovered a new continent), the expedition sparked a new wave of exploration toward the Americas which Spain led. The Spanish domination of exploration increased the wealth, power, and prestige of Spain immensely. As a result, in Spain, Columbus Day is the national holiday, much like our own Independence Day.

I was lucky enough to visit the Royal Palace (or Palacio Real) on the day before this holiday and witnessed a performance of the Spanish military's bands. Several people were in attendance, watching the performance from the courtyard of the palace, which stands across from the Cathedral seen above. Here are the photos:
I was in Madrid for almost a whole day, but there is still much of the city that I haven't seen yet.


  1. Looks like you got a lot in today! Makes me feel like I'm there.

  2. I am loving the fat spiderman! So sexy!! He he!

  3. While browsing through all of these photos in your blog, I think it's a real shame you haven't come across some nice architecture, Eric. Maybe you will see some this weekend. Seriously, you must be enjoying yourself. It looks incredible! Keep up the good work. I'm getting a kick out of seeing the food pics, too!