We stayed in Madrid for only three days. I had wanted to see Picasso’s picture Guernica, and we did, and it was as moving as I had expected. The room at the Reina Sofia museum is set up to allow the viewer to see the studies he did for the completed painting. A film running continuously in an alcove depicts the horror of the Spanish civil war, and the events which led Picasso to paint Guernica. Most of the people who were there the day we saw it were Spanish. I can only imagine the impact the painting and the film had on them.

There was a general strike called during the time we were in Madrid.I understand that the media reported clashes with police and other violence. Didn’t happen where we were, near the Congress of Deputies. The night before there was a concert in support of the strike action in Plaza Sant Ana outside our hotel. We sat in the plaza, drank wine, ate tapas, sang along with the familiar protest songs, watched the children play. The only evidence of any official concern was a brief visit by three police. The next day there was heavy police presence, including helicopters flying constantly over the city, continuing into the evening.

We saw the Prado- including Las Meninas,Velasquez’s painting, called one of the, if not the most, important paintings in the history of Western art; Goya’s Third of May, 1808 and Second of May, 1808, the first having more impact for me than Guernica, because of the realistic depiction of the executions; and the Clothed and the Naked Maja.

Cleaning Plaza del Angel

The picture at left is of an amazing and amusing bronze in the neighbourhood of our hotel.

I  loved Madrid, its beauty, its museums, its vibe. I wish we had stayed longer.

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