Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 211 - Last Day in Madrid

Today was the very last full day out of the United States on this 7 month journey. I head for NYC tomorrow. I took it pretty easy today, doing some window shopping for the majority of the afternoon. The streets were filled with holiday shoppers shopping for Christmas gifts I assume, unless it's this chaotic every weekend? I steered clear of the city center and shopped on the outskirts, where you could easily find the same shops that are in the city center. In fact, I must have passed by the international stores numerous times – Zara, H&M, Pull&Bear, etc. We have tons of Starbucks and Subways at every intersection, but in Madrid, even clothing stores can be found easily and repeatedly. It was a little difficult trying to find boutiques with more unique merchandise.

In the evening, I headed to the Museo Nacional Del Prado (Prado Museum), probably the most famous museum in all of Spain, housing another extensive collection of more traditional European paintings and sculpture. Admission was free after 5:30 on Sundays. So far, Madrid has been much cheaper than Barcelona thanks to all these free museums. I definitely came at the right time of the week to see them all.

The museum, like the Reina Sofia, was huge, with numerous rooms of artwork throughout 3 floors. It took me a couple hours to skim through all the rooms on the ground floor, and by that time, the doors were ready to close. If you want to see all of the artwork and actually listen to the audioguides on selected pieces, I suggest you plan a half to whole day at the museum. Some of the more famous artists included Spain's most famed artist, Velazquez, Raphael, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, and Rubens. The most famous painting on display was Velazquez' Las Meninas, which I wrote about in my visit to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. I was lucky to be able to see both the actual art piece, and the interpretations that Picasso painted these past two weeks.

At the end of the night after packing up and preparing for my departure in the early morning, I played a drinking game with my Belgian dormmates. It seemed everyone at the hostel was planning on leaving tomorrow, with flights to various places. We were a rowdy bunch by the end of the night, but it may have been due to the various last portions of alcohol that were in each bottle. I think we may have had whiskey, vodka, tequila, beer, red wine, and sangria. Definitely a good way to end my stop in Madrid!

Prado Museum

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