It has felt like I have been telling people that I am abstractly moving to Spain for a long time. Today I officially moved to Spain. I have moved into my small apartment on Calle Toledo near Plaza Mayor.
My room perfectly lives up to what I expected. There is a small window above the desk that looks out into our hallway. There is a twin bed that sits next to the desk with an standing closet on the other corner. It is a tight fit, but it’s an apartment in Europe it’s not like I expected a palace. I am thinking of printing some of my photos to give a little character to the room, but if I am honest decorating is least on my mind.
It’s usually said that when traveling you should stick to the normal schedule of the place you are visiting so that you can adjust to their time zone. It’s hard when you get little sleep on an overnight flight and all you want to do all day is sleep, exacerbated by the fact that you are missing your rally troops. However, I have been finding that there are some things that have made my first day in Spain special and keep me awake.
I went to a long lunch in Plaza Santa Ana. Some people fear eating alone, but here you can easily get lost in the masses of people dining in the plaza. I also don’t mind eating alone. Madrid has this great lunch option for anywhere between 9-13 euros you can get a three course lunch called menu del dia. If anyone is afraid that I got bored during my two hour lunch don’t fret I had ample entertainment – a group of 15 or so American college students here for the semester. Constant chatter about who wore what to what party and how this was going to be the most important time of their college careers rang out for me to enjoy.
My last outing of the day, The Prado, also allowed me to escape into the throngs of people although this time there was no english being yelled. The Prado is one of my favorite museums and I do not live that far from it. On weekdays it is free from 6-8 and I fully intend to use my time to explore this museum. When I got there there was a huge line of people standing around the block waiting to get in. Lines are not straight in Spain nor are they single file. I thought it might take a while to get in but the Prado has this down to a science and our thick line quickly moved into the museum. They have changed the museum from the last time that I was here, which is not a surprise, but I really liked the change to put the portrait of Charles V across from Las Meninas. In between these two grand paintings are all of the other royal portraits of men on horseback. It gave a unique impression of the court at this point in time and also this is one of the largest galleries so these oversized paintings fit in well. The Prado has photographed many of their works in High Def so you can zoom in and see the strokes of paint. I am going to include the link there so you can enjoy the museum with me!
(This link takes you to the paintings they have the other arts on the site if those are what you want.)