Travel Notes 13: Gaze

A series of daily entries on being abroad for sixty days


Madrid, Spain

The last of the museums on my list in Madrid, the Museo Prado looms large in the morning. Feeling like the Louvre in many ways, it takes four hours for me to navigate it’s gargantuan halls and giant spaces that house a large range of classical art and sculptures. It is a beautiful and grand museum, but I’m also consciously aware that I have hit a fatigue point gazing at art as much as I love it.

I welcome the opportunity to break and sit at the Parque Del Retiro on a beautiful October day. Sitting by the rectangular man-made lake I watch as boats circle the water and a number of confused passenger-drivers try to work out how their oars are used.

At one point I’m tempted to shout out at a particularly uncoordinated man rowing a boat for two ladies, but he figures it out (partially) after some child helps him dislodge their vessel from the edge of the lake. I sit and read, enjoying the afternoon sun and hour of sunlight passes.

Later, with dusk beckoning, I line up to go to the Circulo Bellas Artes, an art school which also happens to have a rooftop bar and the best view of Madrid at eight stories up. Once I make it up the elevator, it is a pretty view of the city and many people have come to relax, enjoy a cocktail and soak in the evening air.

Madrid has a cityscape reminiscent of Paris in parts, though no iconic tower stands here. I have enjoyed my time although there is something shapeless about Madrid. Perhaps I’m saying this because most of the buildings are uniform in height, or perhaps I’m judging how many streets looked the same in my gaze. Maybe I’m just being unfair in how architecturally similar most things looked to me.

Barcelona looms next on my travel itinerary, where the spirit of Antoni Gaudi figures to be very omnipresent, especially in his one of a kind designs.


Notes from Saturday, 15 October, 2016