29 April 2009

The Prado + Parque del Retiro

After trekking for twenty-four hours, LB + I slept in today. Though simple + almost staid, our little room has charm. Part of it is our balcony on the third floor that gives a stunning view of Sol, a swarming, hip barrio in Madrid. After taking our sweet-ass time, we got dressed, went to a café to jump on the wifi train for a couple of hours + drink possibly the most delicious juice cocktail I’d ever had, freshly squeezed pineapple, banana, strawberry + orange juice in this large glass goblet large enough to satiate every member of the Spanish Academy.

Finally, after realizing that Spaniards can—and do—smoke anyplace they damn well please, we decided to leave the café + walk to the Parque del Retiro, eat some bread + olives, and drink a caribe drink that tasted exactly like a virgin piña colada. Then we strolled around the lake as clusters of koi formed pockets of red-orange gelatin underneath the water. Then, we took some pictures of the memorial for King Felipe IV, bought a Lime-Pineapple popsicle + sat down on another bench, marveling at how clean the park was. Compared to most parks in Buenos Aires where dog shit + piss forms a protective barrier over the topsoil, + garbage + cigarette butts are littered everywhere on the lawn + sidewalk, Parque del Retiro was insanely clean + well-maintained in comparison. I saw no less than two sanitation workers emptying + collecting errant garbage in the two hours we were there (which is two more than I ever saw in an Argentine park, hate to say it).

Finally, we were ready to hit the Prado. Even though the security guard harassed me for having a mate bombilla in my satchel (I forgot to unpack it when we were in Chicago for those six tiny hours), a fact that’s even more ironic considering that LB was carrying a fucking Swiss Army Knife in her purse, even so, the Prado was impressive. I admit, I’m not a huge fan of art before the 19th century. Even so, the Prado had a small + excellent collection of paintings by Goya, Velázquez, Rubens, El Greco + Carvaggio. I’m not a huge fan of blood’n’guts Catholicism + portraits of European aristocrats tend to bore the living hell out of me, but that said, I thought the collection was extensive + fairly impressive. And despite the fact that the security guards (and some stared at my tattoos (this happened every time I went into Coto in Buenos Aires too, for reasons I never really understood), LB + I saw some of the most famous Spanish art in the world, which was rad. Afterwards, we were mad hungry so we went to a supercheap Thai restaurant + then walked around Sol for an hour, taking multiple shots of Madrid to get that perfect slow-shutter speed shot that makes you feel—no matter how impermanently—like a professional.

Streets 1
Streets 2
Streets 3
Streets 4
Entrance to Museo del Prado
Tribute to Goya
Second Entrance to the Museum
An Old Church Across from the Prado
Topiary
Sign for Parque del Retiro
Entrance to the Park, Formerly Known as El Parque de Madrid
Strolling through the Park
Beautiful, Sculptured Trees
Sidewalk
Architectural Tribute to One of the Great Spanish Reyes
Front View
Part of Me Wanted to Believe this Was a Commemoration for the Importance of the Patata in Spanish Cuisine, but No
Lake + Koi in the Distance
Back When It Was Parque de Madrid
LB in Front of the Prado
Metro Map
Sol Metro Entrance
Streets 5
I Love the Neon
Graffiti 1
Streets 6
Sign for Gran Vía
Streets 7
Instituto Cervantes
Palacio de Telecommunicaciones--Madrid's City Hall
Palacio de Telecommunicaciones 2
Palacio de Telecommunicaciones 3
Spanish Flags
Streets 8
Chilling in Our Hotel Room
Kiss Kiss

6 comments:

Lety said...

Cool pics! I will be in Madrid next week! Can't wait!

Lety

Fernanda Ibañez said...

buenos aires tiene dog shit pero no la gripe porcina

me siento ofendida

no, en realidad no porque yo tambien me quejo de eso... pero estas comparando dos cosas totalmente diferentes,en buenos aires no hay parques tan grandes y tan pensados arquitectonicamente como el parque del retiro

bueno, chau

JACKSON BLISS 水と魂 said...

Lety,

Bravo. You're going to have an awesome time. It's funny because after spending time in Madrid, I have to say that parts of Buenos Aires def look like Madrid, but make no mistake, Madrid is cleaner, older, more European + the dream just keeps going. The sidewalks are clean + don't move with you, the food is fantastic + their metro is simply great. You'll love it here. When do you leave for Middlebury? Are you stoked?

Fernanda,

Jeje. Qué boluda que sos! Es sólo una cuestión de tiempo antes que sudamérica esté infectado por la gripe porcina. . . fortunadamente, no hay tantos argentinos que viajan (pueblerinos! jeje) entonces, toma más tiempo para propagar por allí. Estuve de brome. . . en mayor parte. . . jejes.

Besos a ustedes

Lety said...

Jackson,
Paris reminded me a little bit of Buenos Aires too. But I do agree that my dear city can be a filthy place, the dog situation is unbearable, and you never know when a moving sidewalk is going to "spit" on you after it rained.

I think I am moving to Vermont in August, I am really excited about it, not sure how I'll survive my first real winter there though.
What about you? Where are you heading to after your European tour?

Lety

JACKSON BLISS 水と魂 said...

Lety,

For me, I didn't really see Paris being that much like BsAs: it was so much cleaner, and almost every single street was stunning, whereas in BsAs, you'd find beautiful streets right next to piles of rubble, and then, maybe ten blocks later, there would be another block that was gorgeous, only to be quickly engulfed by another street with dog poop battle fields everywhere. Then there's the metro, the less sexxed up women, less tit jobs, real chocolate, real croissants. . . but maybe I'm be overlycritical. Still, I have plenty of love for BsAs, but I'm I'm glad to be moving on, that's the truth.

You'll figure out Vermont. It's not that bad, just buy a really really warm down jacket (northface?), and remember to layer, not only for the cold, but so that you can undress in layers too.

I'm headed to LA after a summer in Chicago. I got accepted to my first choice (USC) for Literature + Creative Writing, so I'm hella stoked. Stay in touch. I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures in the East Coast--it's awesome there, but totally + fundamentally different than the West Coast.

Besos.

Lety said...

Congrats! I am glad you got in your first choice, it's a tough year as scores of students choose to go back to school. Feel even more special!

About Paris, I said "parts of Paris" reminded of BA. However, I may have a very romantic memory of my dear city (I haven't been there in 3 years) and distance only makes the heart grow fonder.

I am really excited about moving to New England, the historian in me loves places with deep historical roots.

Keep in touch!

Lety