“…porque siempre la afición se astremece con pasión…”

5/15/10 – 12:48 AM – El Hotel Beatriz, Toledo, España

I haven’t been able to blog too much because the NH Nacional Hotel in Madrid has free internet, but only in the lobby, and in increments of 30 minutes. That sort of stifled my uploading process. However, in Toledo, there is free WiFi [pronounced wee-fee] and I’m able to catch up on what happened in the past two days. As a forewarning, this will be split up into two gigantic posts.

Our second and final day in Madrid started with buffet breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty amazing. After years of band trips and crappy hotel continental breakfasts, my expectations for free breakfast at a hotel got dragged down mighty low. However, I forget this is Spain and was pleasantly surprised by a full array of fresh fruits, types of thin-sliced ham, cheeses, breads, and these awesome bocadillos which had like. potatoes in them. It sounds really strange, but those potato sandwiches sort of made my life. You know what other awesomeness they provided? Freshly made KIWI JUICE. I get excited over the smallest things, no?

::prepare to get art bombarded::

We headed out on guided tours of the museums. The first was El Museo del Prado which houses some of the most famous paintings in the world. I only know this because they’re the only ones I remember from doing Gio’s AP Art History course for her [haw.] The guide went over three major spanish artists: El Greco, Velazquez, and Goya. I enjoyed Velazquez the most. The way he paints bodies and faces is just so striking to me. One painting in particular: “La Fragua de Vulcano” really spoke to me. I don’t know why. You know that one scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Where that one guy just connects with that little girl in the Seurat painting? I had the same type deal with the guy second from the right in Velazquez’s painting. Er… I’m odd. Don’t judge me.

We had twenty minutes to go wander at the end, and I ran into some amazing paintings, but there’s this altarpiece [triptych?] called the Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch [cool name, huh]. Feckin’ trippy as hell. Has bird headed demons eating people, and pairs of ears with knives and… people having sex and dancing in flowers and oversized fruits. Way to break the 15th century mold, Bosch.

Oh btw: Lady Gaga totally ripped off Doña Mariana de Austria. Just sayin.


Next was Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. This is a modern museum most visited for its Picasso and Dalí exhibits. I don’t get modern art, really, so I didn’t enjoy this one quite so much. But I do love Dalí. Pretty cool stuff. I feel like I was still jet-lagged a bit because I got tired as hell around 11 or noon and I sorta felt like this:

I powered through, though, and wanted to make the best of my time in Madrid. I went out with some people to a tapas place, which was a really good value. I ended up getting bocadillos [Spaniards are really fond of sandwiches] and Fanta Limón. Which is now my new favorite fanta. I wish they sold it in the states.

We were still tuckered out, but we decided to go to the Palacio Real and check stuff out around there. We took the metro over and did the whole tourist shindig, taking pictures and what not. We were about to enter this Cathedral when it sort of started HAILING. Yes. Hailing. It hurt. Everyone ran to seek shelter on the porch of the cathedral. First time being caught in hail. Life experiences, let me tell ya. [There’s one more coming up later. >_>]

We started walking back to the hotel and went through a lot of plazas along the way. So much great architecture. So many pictures. It’d take forever to upload on the slow Spanish interwebz. Sorry, guys.

We ended up taking the even more scenic route, and I’m glad we did. We went into el Parque del Buen Retiro, which is this gigantic park in the middle of Madrid. The King turned his hunting grounds into a park for the city and the Parque is what resulted. It was so peaceful and awesome and GREEN.

We were walking through the park when we passed by some trees that were growing a strange fruit-looking thing. We wanted to know if we could eat them and we saw some elderly lady and her friend walking through the park, picking the fruit. She explained to us that they were raw almonds and that, yes, we could eat them. We weren’t too fond of them, they were sour and tasted like plants. But this lady totally grabbed handfuls and hoarded them in her purse. Crazy old woman.

There was also el Palacio Cristál, which was basically a huge greenhouse originally built to house exotic species from the Philippines [woop woop!]. And a huge rose garden called La Rosaleda which smelled and looked amazing. Apparently people get married here. I don’t blame them. It’s gorgeous.

We were even more tired when we got back to the hotel, but Madrid just never stops. We saw a whole bunch of people decked out in red and white just swarming on the streets and we found out they had closed the entire Paseo del Prado [one of the main thoroughfares in Madrid] so these people could celebrate. What were they rioting about? Well. Remember the screaming in the streets I heard the previous day? Apparently one of Spain’s football teams, Atlético de Madrid, won the Europe Cup or something and they were having the players gather in a plaza to present the trophy to their fans. No offense or anything, but these people just may be even more die-hard than what I’ve seen at Gator games on campus. I mean. It’s the same deal. Everybody gets crazy, a lot of people get drunk, and everyone chants together excitedly. But this was some crazy shit. 70 year olds, 2 year olds, and everyone in between were out and screaming. And there were so many people just squeezed into this one plaza. People were hanging from trees and getting on top of newspaper stands just to see. Madrid just got up in arms. And while I was walking around around 2 or 3 in the morning, people were STILL blowing horns, waving flags, and partying.

The other kids in the group went to a crazy 7-story club that night, but I decided to go hit up the clubbing district of Chueca by myself. I started walking over there and I got hooted at by a group of hookers by Gran Vía. I was like. No way. Ok. I need a drink. So I ducked into a 24 hour mart where there was also a bar and suddenly this girl just grabs my arm. “Espérate un momento por favor.” And she tried selling herself to me. In spanish, then in English. I was sort of freaked out and just wanted her off of my arm. I bought her a coke, and myself a beer from the bar and she left. And just like that, I can now say I’ve paid off a hooker in a major city. I was a little weirded out, but I made my way to Chueca regardless. It’s pretty ballin’. Clubs and bars everywhere. I got hooted at there, too. This time by a guy, lawl. This one wasn’t a prostitute though.

I ducked into a bar and stayed there for a while, made small talk with some of the patrons and the bar owner. Cool stuff. I got out and started heading back around 2:30-ish. And I totally got lost in the tangle of streets up there. It was pretty much 45 degrees and all I had was this partial map of Madrid. It took me a while walking these sketch-ass side streets, but I finally made it and passed out around 3 or 3:15. I woke up six hours later for another amazing breakfast and our trip to El Escorial.

6 Responses to ““…porque siempre la afición se astremece con pasión…””
  1. Lauren says:

    When we were in Spain, some hookers called out to my dad. The best part? He was with three women (my mom, my sister, and myself) AND it was 10:00 in the morning. WTH? At least now you can say you had the experience. :P

  2. gracealicious says:

    lol the hieronymous bosch thing was done at the turn of the century when they all thought the world was going to end, so he showed that humans live in pleasure too much and that therefore we would all BURN IN HELL!!1! when the world ended. he drew himself in hell, too. XD his head is on the left, under like…a branch or something, i can’t remember.

    did you see the giant guernica? everyone says picasso is better up close & personal, and i’ve heard lots of praise for the irl guernica.

    wow um i’ll stop geeking out about art now. XD

    • ochancoco191 says:

      Damn. Hieronymous bosch is ma boy.

      Yeah! I saw guernica. I always saw it in textbooks and I´m like. wtf. that doesn´t look like anything. But it´s actually gigantic irl. And now I “get it”. It’s pretty cool.

      • gracealicious says:

        i once spent an hour trying to remember his name and his stupid triptych so i could write about it in an essay, AND I MANAGED TO REMEMBER, so now i will never forget it. XD he’s like…the only one. >>;

        ;; i want to see~ mitai~

  3. Doss says:

    the tortillas de patata are a staple of madrileno desayuno (or anytime) and so yummy! that’s funny you liked the prado more than reina sofia. I lurvved reina sofia cause i love modern art. The Guernica was incredible (did you see the fotos of the stages in painting the Guernica?) also, Dali and Miro are faves of mine.
    When you were in parque del buen retiro did you see el Trocadero? (thats the pond with the boats and the roman-looking pillar semicircle. very cool) awe yay you made it to Chueca!!! Awesome eh? hehe I went to the 7-story club, near Atocha Renfe, right? It’s kinda cool cause its from an old converted theatre, did your friends like it? I forget its name….
    I was there when Real Madrid won La Liga against Barc and it was also Beckham’s last game with Madrid. They know how to party for sports dont they, lol. It was very similar to your experience. I’m so glad you could see them during a big win!

    • ochancoco191 says:

      Omggggg yes. My host mother actually just made us tortillas de patata for dinner and it was so. good. Mostly because I just love potatoes. :P
      Yeah! I saw the stages of the Guernica. It was cool beans. And that painting is sort of GIGANTIC.
      People were actually kayaking in that huge pond pretty crazy stuff.
      The club was there, yeah. They said it got pretty ridic and they had tons of fun. It was just a tad expensive, though. :x I don’t know the name either, actually >_>

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