Friday, July 13, 2007

Day 2

We woke up about 3:00, but it was so dang early and no one else was awake, so I went back to sleep and got up at 6:45 AM. I was a little surprised that I was able to sleep for 12 hours, but then again, it was like sleeping for two days... We had breakfast at 7:15 downstairs (cereal, fruit cocktail from a can--super sick, juice, bread, and these AMAZING chocolate pastries that are like my new best friend). We left about 8:30 for the Museo del Prado, finally found a public parkig garage, and walked to the Museum. We walked through the museum, which is huge, and it was cool to be in a famous museum that I had actually heard of before. I even saw a painting that I remembered from a Spanish textbook or something--Familia de Felipe IV, by Velazuez--

Info on the painting that I looked up on the Prado site when we got home:
Of the many paintings by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez that so distinguish the Prado by their presence, Las Meninas is what most people come to see. Completed in 1656, it is more properly known as La Família de Felipe IV (The Family of Felipe IV). It depicts Velàzquez himself on the left and, in the centre, the infant Margarita. There is more to it than that: the artist in fact portrays himself painting the king and queen, whose images appear, according to some experts, in mirrors behind Velàzquez. His mastery of light and colour is never more apparent than here. An interesting detail of the painting, aside from the extraordinary cheek of painting himself in royal company, is the presence of the cross of the Order of Santiago on his vest. The artist was apparently obsessed with being given a noble title. He got it shortly before his death, but in this oil painting, he has awarded himself the order years before it would in fact be his!

We walked through the Parque de Recuerdo after the Prado and looked at the fountains and the Crystal Palace. It was pretty cool. We got back to the hotel around 4:30 PM and I was hungry! Then there is the fact that they don't eat until 10 PM, so almost nothing was open when we tried to eat at 7. Not even open! I was amazed. We found an American style restaurant, VIPS, that was open, and we ate there. I think we all died of sticker shock when we got the bill after eating food that was not so great (Mandy's "five cheese pizza" was disgusting...). It was like 75 euros, which is like $100. We learned how to eat more cheaply after that. We went back to the hotel and all crashed.

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