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Hola from Madrid

Posted by on June 17, 2012


Las Meninas

Las Meninas, Diego Velazquez at the Prado Museum, Madrid

I am in Madrid and the only sightseeing I seem to be doing is of the gastronomic and retail kind. Am here to visit my Venezuelan friend Carmen, who recently relocated to Madrid from Caracas. Her family is not very different from Indians in their sense of hospitality and since I arrived here with my kids, three days ago, we have had the pleasure to dine at some of the best restaurants in Madrid.

On my first day here the first thing I wanted to do was to take my kids to the Museum del Prado that houses works of artists like Goya, Raphael, Diego Velazquez and Reubens to name a few.  In hindsight, taking the kids along was not such a good idea as walking through a museum with a 4-year-old (of considerable height) on your hip isn’t the best way to admire art.

Carmen collects art and has a bewildering collection from all over the globe including a few personally commissioned works of Andy Warhol. She lives a lane away from the museum and insisted on giving me a personally conducted tour at Pradp. I cannot handle large museums and get overwhelmed by the works of so many great masters on display under one roof. Which is why it was fantastic to be shown around by someone who was so focused on saving my time by taking me right away to what most needed to be seen. The  ‘Las Meninas’ by Velazquez and ‘The Naked Maja’ by Goya were among the several ‘must-see’ works of art that Carmen took me to within minutes of entering Prado. I did feel bad for the other artists whose works my eyes were not allowed to linger over, as I followed Carmen-on-a-mission around Prado. My heart goes out to these dead masters as they must turn in their graves each time some tourist like me by-passes their works and heads straight to the paintings of other more famous artists than themselves. Oh well, what was I to do? Life is not fair anyway.

The next two days was spent dining and walking in and out of stores with seven wonderful Venezuelan women, all of whom seemed to be hell bent on helping the Spanish economy by making charitable purchases for themselves at Bottega Veneta, Missoni, and Jimmy Choo.

In midst of all this I managed to pop by at Carmen’s house to throw brief albeit loving glances in the direction of my children, lest they should feel left out of all the bonhomie.

My kids don’t get fooled easy however and they managed to extract their pound of flesh by making me take them to the amusement park the next day in the insufferable heat of Madrid. It was so hot that I felt my body parts vaporizing along with my patience. To my relief, my kids were too scared to try most of the rides thereby reminding me yet again that there indeed was a God above. A loving, patient and compassionate God, who understands pigmentation and the other damaging effects harsh sunlight and heat can have on skin and hair.

The husband will disapprove of this ‘wuss’ like behaviour of our kids but I am not so much into building character. In any case I do not feel get scared out of your wits on a roller coaster builds character. I am sure there are other things in Madrid that can help build their character. Maybe I should leave this blogging for another time and find out what those ‘things’ are.

Until then, adios. Hasta luego.


3 Responses to Hola from Madrid

  1. paritosh

    Visited your blog thanks to @rajcheerful’s tweet and enjoyed the visit. Why don’t you write a bit about the food experiences too please?

  2. subhash

    very interesting. crisp and witty.

  3. Penny Kontakos

    Wow! Looks like one day we shall surely meet at some airport in the world haha! Today, I just departed Alicante which was not so hot as I expected after what my daughter kept saying about the heat in Spain, unless I am immune being a Greek southerner. Yes, I agree with you, Madrid is a beautiful city and a shame I have never truly experienced it like you as I only used it sometimes as a means to go to Murcia and be picked up by my Spanish son in law. Same as you, I love art and truly believe there is no age to begin with it and am sure even your youngest would have enjoyed the colours. (Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future. Sophocles, Greek Poet).

    I don’t know about Madrid, but in the region of Murcia they have a lot of festivities relating to Medieval times and the battle between the Moors and the Christians and a lot of costumes from both sides worn and beautiful jewellery and wares from the east being sold. My son in law knows how much I love exotic and historical events and every year enjoys taking me to places where there are festivities, what more can I ask.

    I too believe southern people are warmer and more family wise, and it is world known of Greek hospitality from ancient times so I fully understand how you must be enjoying yourself, and even a couple of days ago my daughter was saying how happy she is living in Spain and never regretted remarrying and resettling there with her son from her first marriage. I feel indebted to the Spaniards for welcoming my daughter and grandson as one of their own.

    By the way, this short 5 day stay was to attend my 8 month old grandson being baptised as a Christian Orthodox which surprised the Catholics as it is so different as the whole baby is completely dipped from head to toe in the metal basin in church with a long ceremony well over half an hour and the next morning receives communion by drinking church wine which he loved haha

    Well, today as I mentioned am back with my 8 year old grandson whom according to the British Court Order must live with his dad for 8 weeks in the U.K. every summer and the reason I am here still in cold Manchester. Then in August I will be off with him to Greece to return him to my daughter and at the same time have an opportunity to see my husband who sees him once a year for a short time.

    I truly hope you have a beautiful time and am sure the kids will enjoy it as much as you and of course try and relax as remember if the British kids can be under the sun without thinking of the consequences of the harsh sun then yours will be more fortunate as being born in a hot country Nature will protect them.

    Bless you and your family
    Penny Aunty

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