Thursday. My first real day in Madrid. The first thing I had intended to, the walking tour, I missed as I slept in. So instead I took a wander around the local park; the Buen Retiro Park on the East side of the city.
At 350 acres, it took me quite a while to walk around the whole park and I even popped in to the galleries on site. The first one I went into, Palacio de Velázquez, had a temporary exhibition by Rémy Zaugg. I wasn’t that keen on most of his work as it’s pretty abstract but I did come across one bit that was pretty interesting. He had smeared, what I can only guess/hope was, brown paint across a canvas but not cleanly so there was a lot of dimensions to the texture of it. The next gallery I went into was the Palacio de Cristal. This housed pieces that were really captivating. There was a very large sculpture dedicated to the Titanic and captured it as it was sinking. It was made from a large fabric sack with the Titanic design drawn on in Wax and then filled with sand. The next piece was of a skyscraper, it quite resembled the Manhattan tower, upside down with sand pouring out the tip. This acted as both a pendulum and an hourglass, and portrayed a never ending task as the sand has to be collected from the base and poured back in when necessary.
One of my favourite parts of the garden was the waterfall which you could actually walk through and see from the interior.
Having walked around for a good four hours I tried to take a walk around the centre but it seems there isn’t a particular high street as such. Instead I ended up in Plaza Mayor which is a large square filled with restaurants and has been the used for a number of things including: markets, bullfights, football games, and even public executions. Shortly after this I headed back to the hostel for a quick rest.
In the evening, I joined in an organised Tapas tour.
To start, we made a tapas which was really easy, crushed tomatoes, salt and olive oil on bread. We then headed out to the first bar; in this one, we had a very small taster that more resembled a cornish pasty. The second place was better as we had croquettes, patatas Ali-oli and hummus dip. The final place served paella, chorizo and pickled veg (olives, onions and gerkhin).
Ultimately, I was way too full and had had a lot to drink, always the sign of a good night.