While I’m sure that there are lots of neat things to do there, Madrid was pretty much just a stopover between Granada and Pamplona. This was made worse by having lost our guidebook. But there was one thing that we did want to do, visit the Prado museum (it’s name in Spanish is Museo del Prado – the Prado Museum, but it’s really an art gallery). So we put our things in a locker at the bus station and then made our way to the museum.
The Prado is a renowned gallery and houses lots of great works. Here’s a link with some of the more famous ones. Sadly, the first thing we did when we got there was use their washrooms (so much better than the one at the bus station), and then had some breakfast in the gallery cafe.
But after that we got serious about art. Half-way through we realized that there was a simultaneous Picasso exhibition going on and that we really wanted to see it. The exhibition was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the repatriation of Guernica and was actually split between the Prado and Reina Sofia museums. Sadly to see it, we had to re-enter the museum (but didn’t have to pay extra). So we took in the half at the Prado and then gave ourselves a lunch break.
Whenever we eat out we spend far too long deciding on where to go. Basically we veto everything we see until we are far too hungry, tired and/or angry to look any more and then settle on the first thing we see. This was no exception. We happened upon a restaurant that was having a really cheap lunch special and decided to give it a go.
The food was really good. We decided to get gazpacho for our appetizers (it was our first time having it) and were hooked. I miss gazpacho. The main was tasty and filling, and then came dessert. I ordered something called a Crema Catalan in the hope that it would be similar to crème brûlée. It was :) and was sooo good.
After that we made our way to the Reina Sofia museum, but on the way I gave a euro to a really shady dude with some made-up story of woe because he spoke English. Tomoko was pissed off at me about that for a long time after. Checked out the museum, saw the regular collections as well. The Reina Sofia houses all the 20th century art while the Prado has the older works. Between the Reina Sofia and the Tate Modern, I’ve got to say that I like modern art more than the classical stuff.
After a few more hours of art we both had enough and wanted to see a bit of Madrid, so we made our way to Puerta del Sol, because hey it’s the centre of both Madrid and Spain (in that all distances were measured from there) so why not? From the museum to the metro we walked through one of the coolest train station ever.
Train station + jungle = all kinds of amazing
Tomoko was less than impressed (although the humidity in there may have had something to do with it).
Lots of people hanging out there, lots of shops too. We did some shopping. We also made use of the bookstores by looking through their guidebooks to get information on accommodation for the remaining legs of our trip.
After the shops were all closed we went off in search of food. This took a very, very long time (I guess we weren’t exhausted enough yet), but eventually we found somewhere that was just too compelling to not go to – Kono Pizza.
Pizza in a cone, what could go wrong?
The guys working the counter were quite friendly and helpful in explaining our menu options to us. Tomoko thinks they were gay (I guess we’ll never know). After finally deciding on our order we sat down and waited for the pizzas to be made (they use a conveyor oven deal similar to the Quizno’s sub-toasting set-up).
Then came the moment of truth.
It was pretty good. After eating it I was still hungry, so I had a salad pizza (ie not cooked) with basil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella which was even better. If and when they make it to Canada I recommend giving it a try.
We made our way back to the bus station to get the overnight bus to Pamplona.