A Stroll in the Gardens
Today was a lovely day spent doing some of my favorite things in Madrid with my parents. We woke up and started our day with a wonderful big hotel breakfast and then went to the botanical gardens just a short walk away, where we admired some flowers (my dad was thrilled by this) and then walked through Retiro for an hour or so! We couldn't have asked for better weather; the crisp fall air has definitely set in but the sun provides a nice warm feel. Afterwards we sat inside the Ritz for a bit to drink some coffee from the most beautiful little teacups and then did some shopping at a pop up fashion market just down the street before returning to the Ritz garden for one of the better lunches I've had since being in Europe. First of all the setting was ideal: a beautiful sunny terrace surrounded by tall bushes and flowers with a flowing fountain and dreamy piano music in the background. If this wasn't enough to make us happy the food was to die for. I drank a raspberry orange juice concoction that was so perfectly sweet, and we ordered potato-wrapped prawns, salads, and soups, and my dad had a burger. My salad was so fresh and sweet, with candied walnuts, goat cheese and raspberries, all some of my favorites. We sat in this perfect location for a while, enjoying the absolutely perfect weather, before finishing our afternoon at the Reina Sofia contemporary art museum to see some of the world's most iconic artwork, including Picasso's Guernica. I have researched this piece for assignments at Duke and seeing it in person was an indescribable experience. I knew it was a huge painting, but sometimes you can't quite understand how huge a piece is until you're standing underneath it and feel it's enormity. It was so powerful and being able to see all the brushwork and detail that an Internet picture could never show was just amazing. We saw works by Dalí, Miró, Zuloaga, Solana, and many other famous Spanish artists. I've loved getting to learn all about Spanish art since being here; it's a really different group of artists representing this nation's art history. Overall the day was a perfect one spent showing my parents around my new city, and I hope they're liking it as much as I have since getting here!