This is the first part of a few about my time in the hot city of Madrid. I spent 12 unforgettable days there and I’m excited to share this part of the adventure.
I hopped my train to Madrid early on the morning of the 20th of June. I was enjoying the ride and after a few stations more cyclist got on. They where trying to figure out why there was no spot for one of the bikes. The conductor found me and let me know that I would have to put my bike in the handicap area for the time being and that if any handicap people joined the train I would be kicked off.
I know its terrible but I never wished more in my life not to see a handicap person at the train stations. Needless to say I was just a little nervous about my new predicament. Every station we stopped at made my heart palpitate. The views in between the stations helped put me at ease in at least. From rocky mountains and hills to sweeping arid fields of central Spain
Eventually the skyline of Madrid came into sight I was so relieved to have made it without having to get kicked off! I hopped on my bike and sailed to the downtown area of Madrid where my Airbnb was. Without many problems I found the address but discovered my host was still about a half hour away he let me know a few of the other guest should be home earlier. I took a quick ride around the block to find the local stores before settling in to wait to be let in.
Eventually three girls arrived at the entrance, I introduced myself and after a quick lesson from Olivia on how to unlock the door that very quickly turned into a unintentional innuendo I made it into my home for the next few weeks. After chatting with the girls for a few more minutes I retreated to my giant room and started unpacking. The flat really was one of the largest that I’ve been in during my travels, there where two rooms to the direct right and then to the left a long hall that lead to the kitchen stippled with 4 more rooms ranging in size. My host Antonio arrived after a little while. A portly jovial man with a cheerful yet exhausted look on his face. One of his arms was also impaired and smaller then the other. He always dressed in a those tropical shirts that you see older people wearing in Florida. His elderly dog Nicka was a little sweet heart whom every one loved in different amounts. She would wander the house blindly bumping into walls furnishings and usually people who would give her a pet and redirect her. Antonio gave me a key and I proceeded to bed, exhausted from the adventure of the day.
The next day I awoke early, the Prado Museum was within walking distance of the flat and I wanted to get there at the open. After quickly showering and a little breakfast I made my way to the museum. I wasn’t the only one with the bright idea to wake up and que early the line was already almost to the middle point of the building when I arrived. The heat was already intensifying and shade came closer and closer as the line moved up. I purchased my ticket and entered this grand palace of a building incredibly excited to see all of the wonders it had to offer.
The Museo Del Prado is also immense in size while not quite as big as the Lourve or the Musee d’Orsey it is still very large ranked number 23 in the worlds largest museums list. For my american compatriots its about 3 football fields in floor space. The long hall of the museum crossed the span of the building and was quite astonishing.
I made my through the Italian sections, observing the masterful works of those old masters.
Next I found myself surrounded by the works of the Spanish masters, Valasquez, Goya and El Greco. Valasquez work is a favorite of mine, his expressive brushstroke and intricate pattern work always astounds me.
Goyas range and variety shocked me. Many of his works where scattered around and it took me a second sometimes to realize that it was the same artist.
After some time I went to have a small snack at the cafeteria before finishing up my exploration. I revisited some of my favorites, The black paintings by Goya have always held some power over me. The darkness and horror of these paintings excites me and makes me afraid. Valasquez Las Mininas is just such a imposing piece and the composition that was used with the mirror was so unique
My return to the flat was a haze due to the amount of inspiration from the museum. Often I have a hard time being creative after being exposed to so much excellence. My brain takes some time to process all of the information. The freshly cut key that Antonio had given to me was not working so once again I was waiting for someone to arrive and let me in. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long before another one of my roommates a kind Columbia woman Isabella let me in. Antonio arrived shortly after and he tried the new key as well only to find that it wasn’t working. He had another spare that worked thankfully and it didn’t take me long for me to get it working.
Not to long after I was relaxing I received a invite from Rafael Garcia Marin AKA Volomir to come get drinks at a tapas bar that wasn’t to far down the road. Rafael first off is a incredibly nice guy who also happens to be an award winning artist who also runs a fantastic website showing off painting techniques and methods, interviews as well as covering shows and reviewing new kits and figures. The bar was only a short ways away so I took off on foot and before long I found the two people plus one I wasn’t familiar with sitting outside on a bar table. Of course Rafael was there as well as his lovely girlfriend Beatriz. There was one other face who I was familiar with but wasn’t sure if it was who I thought it was. Rafael introduced me to his girlfriend and then to Marc Masclans, who had no clue who I was. Rafael said “This is the Pirate Monkey Painting guy who is traveling all over Europe, Anthony”. Nothing. “He’s the guy who painted the Van Gogh Anonymous bust”. “AAAHHH” He said with a smile. “I hate you.” My heart turned to ice.”I joke! Your bust is great but I wish I would have had the idea first!” I was in shocked for a moment, quickly trying to regain my composure I thanked Marc profusely. Marc in my opinion is one of the greatest figure painters in the world and any praise from a talent like him was truly humbling. We all talked about the bust for a moment and then shifted gear to talk about Madrid and the Prado as well as Marcs home near Barcelona and of course some things I should do In Madrid. After a couple of buckets of beer, enough tapas to count as a full meal and plenty of joking we all departed. I walked with Marc as we where both heading in the same direction. We talked of work, travel, home and family. The important things in life. We came to a split in the road and shook hands wishing each other well, I went my way he went his. I wandered down the narrow dark street light lit alleyways home feeling fully content with my day.
I just wanted to take A second here at the end to thank Rafael for the drinks that night and for inviting me. It meant so much and its a unforgettable memory. I also wanted to thank Marc for the fantastic conversation. Both of you guys are incredibly inspirational not only to me but so many others in this community!
Check out Rafaels site here! http://volomir.com/en/news/
Check out Marc work here! http://www.puttyandpaint.com/mmasclans
Of course here’s all of the photos from my travels that are open to use as reference for every one!