After spending the week soaking up Catalan culture it was time to head inland to the very centre point of Spain, the capital city Madrid. A place where bull fights are just a traditional Sunday evening, the dance for flamenco is practiced and endless plates of tapas are come free with just one simple drink order. It is a place of true Spanish living.
Madrid is an extremely arty city which meant I couldn't wait to delve into its galleries and museums. Against James' own will I took him to 'suffer' through The Reina Sophia, a four level contemporary art museum. As per usual James mind was exploding as he tried to come to terms with how a wooden box making drill sounds could be considered 'art'. For me the pieces where so empowering as most were made in the dark time of Dictator Franco. The people of Spain could not express who they truly were so instead artists expressed their individuality through art pieces, which became more and more evident with every passing piece. The major attraction is Picassos piece Guernica. A painting he made depicting the terror and horror that tore through Spain's Basque Country in the time of Franco. To read about history is one thing but to see and feel it through the eyes of one of its victims is truly something else.
Madrid's city centre houses a beautiful wide stretched park that is the perfect spot to escape the Spanish summer heat. The park has a great lake where you can take out little row boats and drift around aimlessly. Although we preferred to use the park to have our sneaky daily siesta. My favourite monument in the grounds is Madrid's statue of The Falling Angel, in other words The Devil. Theres something so sweet yet so sinister about it that I quite enjoyed, James as per usual just thought there was something deeply wrong with me.
One of the nights we had the opportunity to catch up with Nathan and Ali our two friends from back home once again. After what went down in Barcelona we opted for a quite night at a local tapas bar El Tigre. Run by a lovely old typical Spanish man we found ourselves amongst the locals. It is Spanish law that a small serve of food must be served with any alcoholic beverage served. Ordering a couple beers and a sangria to get the ball rolling we were gob smacked when our little old Spanish friend bought over five dinner plates heaped like a mountain with every Spanish delight you could imagine. Patatas bravas, rabbit paella, spanish tortilla, chicken wings, croquettes, chorizo, bread, cheeses and salami. From that point it was game on. Drinking by the bucket load grande beers and sangria the plates began rolling out non stop surrounding us all and caging us in. It seemed that everyone else used El Tigre to have a small quite drink with there one plate of food and move on, not us! What a surprise that our quite night of tapas turned out into a heavy drinking session. We were greeted by the crowds within the bar with "Judging by the size of your beer you must all be Australians". By the end we were begging for no more plates with every order. Our Spanish friend laughed rather hysterically pleased with himself as he bought out more grande drinks and of course more and more endless plates of food. In the end we were giving them out to everyone and anyone until we had scared them all off and we were the only ones remaining. It is good manners in Spanish culture to throw your dirty used napkins on the floor. However we had perhaps had taken it a bit to far with any left over food begin smeared all over each others faces or thrown across the room. El Tigre certainly had one up on us as we all stumbled out looking like Spanish messes. It was another great night with great mates that we will remember for a life time. A lot of love was going around as we said our final goodbyes until we would be reunited once again back home in Australia.
Madrid was a great splash of Spanish culture and life. A lot of travellers say your either a lover of Barcelona or a lover of Madrid. I don't think that is true at all. For me I can appreciate that they are both different and enjoy them both in there own special way.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx