9:00 am: You wake up to a sleepy Madrid. The streets aren’t nearly as teeming as they were last night. You figure that the people of Madrid have to recover from their Friday night out so you decide to take advantage of the relatively quiet streets.
But wait. It’s now 9:45 am. Not everyone is asleep. The tourists have started their days and there are even some locals out and about. You love this little intersection because of how none of the buildings are perfectly rectangular. The angles of the walls make you smile.
10 am: Make your way towards Puerta del Sol. It is certainly a different place in the broad daylight. There were people around, yes, but it seemed to be more a meeting place and shopping area as opposed to a place where the party starts.
10:30 am: Head over to Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, one of the 3 museums in Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art. Photos are forbidden unfortunately so you do your thinking in front of canvases instead of behind the camera. As always the thin, light brushstrokes of the Impressionists leave the biggest imprints in your mind. This time, you notice a plethora of paintings done of America by apparently American artists. You decide you have to learn more.
2:30 pm: After soaking in all the beautiful paintings in this former private collection (it was the one of the largest in the world), you realize that you’re famished. While your mind could happily ponder Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, and Sisley for hours at a time, your body protests. Thinking about art is tiring. So, you decide it’s time for lunch. An Argentinian lunch, as a matter of fact. This place, called Chimi Churri, was recommended to you by the same Madrid resident who suggested watching the sunset from the Egyptian temple, so you were sure it would be good. The best part of the restaurant? If you sat at the bar, you could get a drink (alcoholic or non), an amuse-bouche of Manchego cheese, a beef empanada as an appetizer, a huge steak, and a dessert for just 10.50€. I was blown away at both the price and the deliciousness of the food.
“The history of Western art is full of imagines of women who are seductive, compliant, submissive, defeated…Heroines is an anthology of strong women who are active, independent, creative, triumphant…or to use a key word at the top of the feminist agenda for the last few decades, this exhibition is interested in images which could be sources of “empowerment” for women themselves.”
4:30 pm: You decide to do some wandering of the streets of Madrid to see what you might find. And lo and behold, you stumble upon an book market along Paseo de Recoletos! It was the Feria del Libro Antiguo y de Ocasión (Secondhand Book Fair) and is held annually in April/May. Sellers from all over Spain were displaying their precious books.
5 pm: A little ways up from the library is Cafe Giron, a café famed for its literary clientele from back in the day. You stop in for a breather and order a sorbete de limon al cava, a lemon champagne sorbet. After all, you’re in Spain, and you should have a bit of cava, Spain’s answer to the French champagne.
6 pm: In keeping with the book theme, you make a quick stop into the Biblioteca y Museos Nacional – the National Library and Museum. Unfortunately the reading room was reserved only for those who wanted to work and off limits to tourists, but you managed to get some shots of the building. As always in a European city, the National Library was impressive.
7:30 pm: You’re in an artsy mood (ok, well, you’ve been in an artsy state-of-mind since you arrived to Europe) so you decide to end your Friday by going to see El Burgues Gentilhombre at the Teatros del Canal. In French, the name of the play is Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme; translated to English the title is The Bourgeois Gentleman or The Middle-Class Aristocrat or The Would-Be Noble.
You realize a little too late that that this is a five-act comedy-ballet, first presented in the late 1600s before the court of Louis XIV by Molière and his troupe of actors. The irony of seeing a Molière piece in a Spanish theater while you actually live in France does not escape you. In fact, it just makes you wish that you could understand old French or modern Spanish fluently. Just when you thought that you were beginning to truly master modern French, you had to go see The four hour spectacle was quite good and amusing, but the language barrier was occasionally hard to get past.