Monday, 19 July 2010

Madrid 24-28 June

From the tram ride in Toledo.

Just a cool sculpture in the train station...

El Tranparente in the Cathedral in Toledo.

Sorry for the delay. Been busy…
So we left Naples early afternoon. Checked in no problem. Took our first flight to Milan. As we go to transfer flights we look at the status board and, our next flight is canceled. One counter to find out its due to the French air traffic controllers striking, one counter to find out luggage, and yes, another to re-book. Lufthansa did alright though. They put us up in a nice place and feed us a nice meal and we were on a flight first thing in the morning. Still a hassle and it was EARLY. We got into Madrid and found the apartment. Once again, the way to go.
So Friday. A trip to the Prado Museum. Another really big art museum filled with a lot of paintings. The time period covered is later in history though, 12th to early 19th centuries. I’m sure the artists on display are “famous” but they aren’t names that I’ve heard much of prior to going (I had to look up El Greco, one of the most famous ones prior to going so I would maybe have some appreciation). At the risk of sounding spoiled or ungrateful, it’s getting hard to go to museums to look at art when we’ve been to Rome, Naples, and Paris. Also on Friday we got a little oriented with the city and its metro and picked up our bull fight tickets. Then to bed early, to end our early starting day.
Saturday: Toledo. Everyone we know who has been to Madrid and Toledo has said you have to go to the Cathedral. It didn’t disappoint. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is a very large gothic cathedral. After a few periods of Catholic then Muslim then Catholic rule the cathedral, as it is now, was started in 1226. It took a couple hundred years but was all the way done in 1493. Huge alter. Huge separate choir area. Several large naves, side rooms, including a small much more enjoyable museum. The pictures here by El Greco were actually very interesting. He was born in Greece, trained in Rome, and made a living in Toledo. He is credited for starting the break from Michael Angelo Renaissance style painting and started the move toward realism. Longer features, such as faces and fingers. I’ll steal this next description from wikipedia but this was fairly amazing and they had an English narration in which the parts it was talking about were illuminated. “One of its more outstanding parts is the Baroque altar called El Transparente, several stories high, with fantastic figures of stucco, painting, bronze castings, and multiple colors of marble, a masterpiece of Baroque mixed media by Narciso Tomé enhanced by the daily effect for a few minutes of a shaft of sunlight striking it through an appropriately oriented hole in the roof, giving the impression that the whole altar is rising to heaven. The fully Baroque display makes a strong contrast with the predominant Gothic style of the cathedral. It is from the play of light that this feature of the cathedral derives its name. The cathedral also receives its light through more than 750 stained glass windows, from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, the work of some of the best artists of those times.” So yes, if you find yourself in Toledo, stop by the cathedral… Also in Toledo, we took a small tram ride around the outside of the city to take in the sites of the river and gorge that surround the city. Relaxing, easier and COOLER than walking. Pretty area.
Sunday: We started off on the hop-on hop-off bus. Our first stop was the Retiro Park. Once a royal park for a palace, it was opened to the public in 1868. Fountains, statues, ponds, trees, and a large pavillion. That morning we paused to hear the Madrid Orchestra put on a free concert in the park. Back on the bus, touring the city, it was time for lunch. Simple lunch at a sandwich shop and then we walked to another square close by. About that time is when I realized, I no longer have the hop-on hop-off tickets… Oops. We jumped on the metro and then walked over to see the outside of another palace. Nice area. Nice gardens. Again though after Versailles, and even the palace here in Caserta, its hard to go into palaces… Plus, we had a BULL FIGHT to get to!
There were six fights. The first one we all sat there and let the shock/ awe pass. I read plenty about it before going so I knew what was coming in all the different parts. I also let Carey and the kids know prior to buying the tickets. You kinda have to desensitize yourself from the repeated stabbings of the bull and then you can focus on the traditions and art of the fight. The crowd definetly gets upset when the matadore screws up and can’t put the bull down in one good shot in the end (unfortunately we saw a case of that). They also get rowdy when all the rules aren’t followed. Thanks to a man behind us who knew english we got the translation of the guy yelling at the judges. When the horses are in the arena they are supposed to get seperation between the bull and horse each time to “test the bull’s bravery” (i.e. will it keep charging the horse). That wasn’t happening all the time and the man was basicly calling the judges out. I’m glad we went, and I think even Brianna had an appreciation for the culture aspect. Having said that though, I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to see another. The bull never really has a chance…
So Monday we head back to the airport and as we are going to the terminal Austin spots a screen and says, “Its canceled.” I kid you not… I think this was a mechanical problem. Again Lufthansa came through and re-booked us on a direct flight (before we even got through the line to re-book ourselves). No time lost. A lot of rushing but we made it.
Highlights. Definetly the Cathedral and bull fight.

No comments:

Post a Comment