Tag Archives: Madrid

Getting cultured at Museo del Prado

Thursday, 25 July I went to visit the Museo del Prado once again. This was my second time, the first being three weeks before. In just one visit it’s hard to see everything unless of course you plan to stay the whole day. I always time my visit for the free entrance from 6 – 8 pm.

I happened to have stumbled on this useful link.

Important masterpieces to see during a trip in Madrid’s Museo del Prado

Maria Andrea, one of my classmates from my MBA in Pamplona who recently moved to Madrid to do an internship, joined me in this quest of seeing what needs to be seen and appreciated at the Museo del Prado.

Following the recommendations on the link, we’ve seen the following obras maestras.

Tiziano “El Emperador Carlos V a caballo en Mühlberg”

José de Ribera, “El sueño de Jacob”

Murillo, “La Inmaculada”  

Rubens“Las Tres Gracias” 

El Greco“El Caballero de la mano en el pecho”  y “La Trinidad”

obras maestras de Goya“La Familia de Carlos IV” o las“Majas”

Sorolla,“Niños en la playa”

Rembrandt Harmensz, “Judit en el banquete de Holofernes

Velázquez,“Las meninas y La familia de Felipe IV”


There were also times  we were at the correct sala (room) but the painting we were looking for isn’t there anymore. They do move the paintings from time to time. This is why a curator’s help might just be needed, as we did.

We also obtained the museum’s leaflet so we can follow the floor plan and could easily go hopping from one painting to another. Masterpieces of great artists were also highlighted there. Maria and I alternately read the description on the paintings so we could know more about it.

There’s also another art installation I like which isn’t part of the museum. The rotonda nearby is called the Plaza de Neptuno which I prefer over the Plaza de Cibeles.

Of plans and staying positive

I have been missing in action, again in this blog but not in life. It’s certainly not for lack of things to write about that had this blog inactive for the past three weeks. Lack of blog activity means there’s so much going on I can’t sit still to write.

 

Shortly after my birthday, I had some change of plans that had me worrying and feeling anxious and everything in between. Plans do not always turn out the way we want them to be but in the end, everything fell into place. Fast forward to the start of March and now I’m here in Madrid. 😉

 

My first week here, which was last week, was devoted to running errands. First on the top of the list was to find a flat and fast. Mission accomplished after two days of staying at a hostel. Lucky me! Found a flat where I’m living with three other Spanish housemates in a well located area in Madrid.

Next was a series of necessary paperwork following my move to the capital. I registered in the municipality of Madrid in a process called empadronamiento. As stated in Spanish law, anyone residing in Spain has the obligation to register at the municipality of residence. This is really an easy process where you need to submit a filled out form, photocopy of your passport and copy of the flat’s contract or a flatmate’s DNI (Spanish ID). In 10 minutes tops I had my empadronamiento.

 
I also enrolled myself in a Spring Spanish course at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid which starts next month. I seriously need to get back on track with my Spanish and living with three Spanish people who hail from different parts of Spain helps. 😉

The last was the submission of documents for renewing my student visa or NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero). This is done in a police station and here in Madrid, the process takes longer as compared to a small municipality like Pamplona.

 
That’s basically what transpired during my first week here in Madrid. But something sweet happened over the weekend. Oscar and Carolina were here to do some sightseeing and stayed with me at the flat.

 

 

The two went on a tour inside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. It costs 19€ and for a non-fan like me it’s too much. I sat this one out but with the agreement that I wanna watch a game inside the stadium with them. We have it targeted for 17 May during the finals of the Copa del Rey.

 

 

Saturday night we queued for 1 hour 15 minutes for this famous tapas bar and restaurant called Lateral in Fuencarral. A friend of Oscar’s brought us there. Well it was worth the wait the tapas were superb! I loved most especially the mini hamburguesas con reducción Pedro Ximénez (mini hamburgers bathed in sauce made from Pedro Ximénez wine) and the rollito de salmón relleno de jamón york, queso y manzana caramelizada (salmon roll with york ham, cheese and caramelized apple).

Wasn’t able to take any photo since it was devoured within seconds! Yes it deserves that much credit. Didn’t like the patatas bravas though.

 

Next day we went for the Sandeman’s Europe free walking tour. This was my third time with them, the two previous ones were in Berlin and Prague (yeah yeah I know I still haven’t posted about Prague).

 

I love Retiro Park. My other option in looking for a flat was to stay near the park so I can be there most of the time. In the end I had to be practical and stay in an area close to where I’ll be going for Spanish classes at UCM.

 

 

Sunday we went to the last show of Disney on Ice in Madrid. Especially loved the Peter Pan number because they had Wendy, John and Michael in a harness flying through the streets of London and off to Neverland. Ahhhh childhood. 🙂

 

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My niece Naomi, who just turned one, loves Mickey Mouse. I tagged my sister in a photo I uploaded in Facebook telling her to bring Naomi to a Disney on Ice show.

 

My initial plan in coming to Spain was to be in Madrid and while it didn’t turn out that way, it did came to fruition after a year’s stay here.

In the next days I look forward to knowing more of my new adopted city and get to know it as close as can be to a real ciudadana.

 

Toledo and last day in Madrid (Finde Todos Los Santos)

Saturday, 3 November. Third day of the Madrid long weekend.

This is Toledo day. Would’ve been so much nicer if it wasn’t gonna be raining the whole day but there’s nothing we can do about the weather. We stepped out Santillan Hostel in Gran Vía, Madrid’s Broadway, to take the metro that would take us to Calle Fernando VI. We wanted to grab us some brunch before taking the train to Toledo. I’ve seen an online recommendation for this restaurant Mama Framboise and it said not to miss their weekend brunch. Perfect right? Not so…

 

Nice interiors. That French vibe which is what the restaurant is all about. Tempting display of pastries. It’s a sure winner for it’s ambiance but came the moment to order and we were disappointed that the brunch thing I’ve seen online was nonexistent. We ordered anyways since we’re there and came a series of more disappointments. Since they have these delectable-looking pastries, I ordered one though I don’t remember exactly what, most probably something that  has raspberry or blueberry since those are my favorites. Bad news they don’t have it. So I forego it and settled for a sandwich with queso de cabra. When it was put on my table I quickly noticed it has a tortilla inside which is something I didn’t order. The waitress got mixed up the order or something. I got irritated as she seemed out of herself. The experience could have turned out much better if the service had made up for our expectation of a “filling” brunch.

 

We arrived in Atocha train station at a little past 13:50 and the train leaving for Toledo just left. The next train leaves at 15:50 so we had a long wait in the station. There was a feria and we took our time looking at the offerings. I was able to buy me nice gloves for only 2€.

 

Toledo was just a good 30 minute train ride. I was napping on the train and suddenly we were there. That fast. And guess what, an overcast sky signalling more rain. We walked from the train station to the town proper. We’ve come across this fortress. Whattasight!

 

 

 

 

 

Going down the Alcazar, the GPS of the girls’ iPhone have gone wonky and we got a bit lost. I asked a passerby which way the town is and just about time cos it started drizzling.

 

On the threshold of the city center one must enter the Puerta de la Bisagra.

 

This is really a crappy shot but the rain drops are messing with my camera lens.

 

 

 

Sad to say that with the bad weather, the sun faded out on us fast. But if there’s one single thing we shouldn’t miss out in going to Toledo, it’s the Cathedral.

 

 

Preciosa as what the Spanish would say and it definitely is! Of all the churches I’ve seen so far here in Spain this takes the cake.

 

We got back to Madrid at 22:00 and by luck happened to pass by the flea market we saw our first day. We didn’t have luck finding it the second day. Phy and I were able to buy a scarf.

 

 

Sunday, 4 November. Last day in the Spanish capital.

 

There’s this quaint French café/restaurant we always pass by in Gran Vía called Le Pain Quotidien. We popped in to check it out and decided to have breakfast there. It always seem to have long queues but we soon find out the staff is really efficient and there’s not really a long wait for a table. If anything it was worth the wait. Their Eggs Benedict is to die for!

 

We really need breakfast that morning cos our itinerary that day is to go to the El Rastro Market. It’s the most popular open air flea market in the city.

 

 

It was raining. So what? A girl has to shop! And boy I did really. This was my haul for the day.

 

 

These two plastic bags contain 3 earrings, 2 pashminas, winter ballerina slip-ons and a trench coat. 😉

 
Hungry and tired we went back to the Puerta del Sol area in search of a good menu del día. We were served by a jolly waiter who was always cracking funny things to us, or to me since I’m the only one who could understand him. At the end of the meal, he offered us this.

 

 

 

Liquor of Love.

It says it takes effect after three hours.

 

I asked him what it is thinking it’s alcoholic. It’s actually made from three fruit juices (I forgot what they are). It was really sweet! (the liquor of love and yeah the waiter too). Now now the waiter is old enough to be my father. He isn’t flirting with us or anything he was just really nice to a bunch of tourists. He asked me if I have a boyfriend, I said I’m single. I don’t exactly remember if that conversation came before he offered us the drink or after.

 

 

After lunch we went back to the hostel. I snapped some shots of the musicals playing along Gran Vía that time.

 

Here’s a play showcasing Joaquin Sabina’s songs. The play’s title is actually a song of his which is a favorite of mine – Más de 1000 mentiras (more than a thousand lies).

 

 

And fast becoming the world’s favorite musical, The Lion King.

 

We went back to the Puerta del Sol for a challenge. We have to find Km. 0 of Madrid.

 

Before the challenge started we took some photos of the oso y madroño (the bear and the strawberry tree) which is a symbol of Madrid.

 

 

While searching for Km. 0, I took some photos of the Puerta del Sol.

 

 

 

 

A status of Venus at Puerta del Sol called La Mariblanca.

 

Actually I feel it’s so out of place there.

 

Back to the challenge. We were to whatsapp each other once we found Km. 0 and meet by the statue of Carlos III riding a horse. But time is ticking and we are still supposed to have a merienda of chocolate con churros before I leave for my 19:30 bus going to Pamplona.

So I decided to ask a cleaning lady where it is. hihi

 

And next thing I’m stepping on it.

 

I won the challenge! haha not. I told the girls I cheated but that’s because we don’t have time anymore. We were still suppose to head to Plaza Tirso de Molino and Plaza de Lavapiés.

 

Which were complete farces by the way (the things you see on the internet turning out not to be true). We got into the triangular plaza of Tirso de Molina but nothing in there but a statue of the guy.

 

And vandalism in front of the statue on an apartment building.

 

 

Next we are to go to Plaza de Lavapiés which was once a Medieval Jewish stronghold. The street leading to that plaza was full of Turkish, Moroccan and Indian restaurants. Finally arriving at the Plaza there was absolutely no any indication of Jewish history. Just a drabby looking neighborhood. Ugh. Ghetto Madrid.

 

We quickly went back the way we came. Got us take away churros and grab my stuff at the hostel and head to Avenida de America where a bus going back to Pamplona awaits.

My hand carry became two. Courtesy of all that shopping. It was a real challenge hauling them in the metro on the way to the bus station. But I made it! Just in the nick of time. I was actually queuing for the wrong bus!  I dashed to the correct bus and found out to my relief  that the driver has just let the passengers come in. Whew!

 

I’ll be back Madrid! Adiós por el momento.