Thursday, November 27, 2014

Madrid: A hit and a miss

The rest of our time in Madrid was principally taken up with visits to two more museums, one of which I very much enjoyed; the other, not. The one I liked was the Thyssen-Bornemisza, the name of which is impossible to remember/spell, but which is otherwise very good. Formerly a private collection (the mind boggles), it ranges across eight centuries of (mostly) European art.

My favourite work. I noted that this was by "Chasnyk", but I now have my doubts since a Google Image search for "Chasnyk artist" just brings up hundreds of pictures of fighting troll figurines

The rest of his oeuvre?

Jesus and Mary had a bad case of elephantiasis of the head. I have a story about that, but this is a family show 

Ghost foetuses!

Portrait after portrait of the Hapsburgs, and this was the only one which properly showed the famous "Hapsburg jaw" (I think Jules was quite glad because then I finally stopped going on about it)

A twin for my Belle Ferronière!

Death's totally copping a feel

This guy is right between Jesus and another guy on the cross, but it's still all about him. He's just so dandy!

After the TB museum, we grabbed some delicious churros and hot chocolate (as featured in a Buzzfeed list of the world's best hot chocolate that I conveniently happened to see while we were in Madrid) and walked to the other side of Madrid to check out an Egyptian temple recommended by my sister's colleague. Not a reconstruction of an Egyptian temple, but an actual temple dating from the second century BC. It was gifted by Egypt to Spain to say thank you for Spanish help to preserve the temples of Abu Simbel (which are probably more impressive than the temple they gave away, I'm guessing).

Hanging out on the Gran Via. This is actually from another day, I didn't change for the stroll

Not that it's not pretty, and in a nice location, but it's quite small

The view from nearby
The line was quite long, and understandably they don't let a ton of people in at once, so we didn't go inside, but it was cool to see anyway.

The abortion expo was closed when we walked past. Pity, I'd like to have found out how to go about feeding an oddly muscular-bummed baby to a crocodile

Stop, churro time! As you can see, you get a loooot of churros for your buck
On Sunday evening, we headed to Casa 9 restaurant, which had a ton of glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, was too busy to fit us in on Saturday night, and was well worth the trip. We enquired about the menu when booking, since my sister eats fish but not meat, and were told that they couldn't tell us what was on the menu since the chef went to the market each day to get fresh ingredients, but that there would be something she could eat. A special daily menu fresh from the market? Sign us up please!
"Cow ham"
The 19.95 price you see there actually covered an entrée, main and dessert, plus water for the table, a glass of wine and coffee. *And*, since I don't drink coffee, I asked for another glass of wine at the end of the meal, assuming they'd charge for it, but they threw it in instead of the coffee. Now you might think at that price, it'd be cheap and nasty. Far from it, it was so delicious, and I think none of us got exactly the same menu, but everyone was really happy with their food. Plus the waiters were super friendly, even pointing us to another (also good) restaurant the night before when they were booked up. If you're heading to Madrid, definitely give it a go!

Pre-dinner cocktails

From a highlight to a lowlight, our last day was spent at the Reina Sofia museum. Basically we went there to see Picasso's Guernica, which is about the only half-interesting thing in the place. Every piece of art (almost all Spanish, from what I could see) we saw in there was grey and brown, it was filled with groups of LOUD children, made worse by the echoing acoustics, and the whole place is huge and maze-like even by the high standards of museums. We only did one floor before we had to meet up with my parents to say goodbye as they were heading to the airport before us (sniff) and I refused to go back in. I'm not usually one to say I hate a museum, but boy did I hate this one. Worst. Museum. Ever. It's blimming lucky it has Guernica, because otherwise I'm convinced you couldn't pay people to go inside.

It was a relief to escape back into the sunshine and stroll back to our apartment via the lovely (and huge) Buen Retiro park, home of (amongst other things), the beautiful Crystal Palace:

Looked less like a glorified greenhouse in person

Now with white van

The view from the Crystal Palace steps (you couldn't go in)

And then it was time to go home... Other than the Reina Sofia, obviously, I really enjoyed Madrid. The food was amazing, it was relatively inexpensive (especially with Mum and Dad footing the bill, haha), the weather was great and there was a ton to see and do. If you've never thought of visiting, I would put it on the list!


  1. You and your captions...

    I went to that churro place... mmm.

    1. It was good, but we actually went to some tiny back alley bar that was half the price and just as nice (it was hard finding places to eat breakfast on Sunday morning!)

  2. I love Madrid! I was actually planning on moving there before I met Gregory and then France intervened!
    Your comments about museums always crack me up.. only on your blog will I find things like, "elephantitus" and "death is copping a feel", you crack me up! :)

    1. Wow, what might have been... I think you got a pretty good deal though :)


  3. Please send me the family pic and you and Jules' one after it (I can't copy) ...

  4. Mmm... churros and hot chocolate. Now, I really want some.

    If I ever make it back to Madrid (which I'd really like to!), I must try Casa 9!


    1. Definitely, it was delish and we enjoyed the neighbourhood in general (it was right by our apartment). I've cleverly forgotten what it's called...


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