Los Blancos

View of Madrid from the top of Circulo de Bellas Artes
View of Madrid from the top of Circulo de Bellas Artes

We had no plans for our last full day in Madrid and those are the days that usually work out the best. We had not been to the Prado yet, something we’ve done every time we’ve been here, so that was on our short list. In fact the first time we came to Madrid we rented a car at the airport and drove straight to the Prado. They had a small parking lot out front on the Paseo del Prado which is gone now. We sat in the car until the Museo opened and we went right to the café for coffee. I remember being struck by people smoking inside the museum.

We walked along Recoletos and had coffee in the historic Gran Café Gijón, a long time favorite with Madrid’s literati. There was a Fundación exhibition space nearby with a substantial show called “Redescubriendo El Mediterraneo.” Van Gogh, Cezanne, Braque, Dali, Picasso and Matisse were all there. The loose theme rounded up artists who found ways to reinterpret classical themes in an idyllic setting. Arcadia. Bathers. Heaven on earth.

We went across the street to have a coffee in a glass surrounded café in the park and then wandered further down Recoletos and found yet another Fundación, a show of the great Spanish photographer, Humberto Rivas. We asked the guard at the gallery if he could recommend a restaurant and had dinner nearby. We strolled into Las Letras area and found a bar with the Real Madrid game on. They won but waited til the 82nd minute to put one in.

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