Well the Museo del Prado was absolutely fantastic – one of the best museums I've been to on this trip. Obviously I have no photos to share – they were pretty strict on that – plus there's no point. I just bought the guide book – the pics in that are excellent.
I usually have a tolerance level of about 2 ½ hours in art museums – as much as I want to stay longer I find that I just am not appreciating the art any more. But at the Prado I lasted nearly 4 hours and saw it all!
My favourite pieces by far were by Velasquez. I am relatively unfamiliar with his work – but my goodness, it is sublime. The one painting I do know is the crucifixion – we have a print of it at home and my mum painted a copy of the face. Seeing the real thing was incredible. There are a lot of paintings of this particular scene that I have viewed in the past few months and this one tops them all.
This morning I went to the Cathedral for Sunday mass, only to find it is closed due to works being done in preparation for World Youth Day later on this year. No matter, I am in Spain after all so I had my pick of other churches for mass – I went to St Francis down the road – a dome like structure decorated with frescoes on the inside.
After mass I went for a walk of discovery – it was pretty cold today – only about 2 degrees so I had to keep moving to stay warm. I walked through all the main and little streets and placas and have decided that of all the cities I've been to, Barcelona and Madrid are the most beautiful. I exclude here places like Florence because I don't classify it as a city – it's more like a town. Here are some pics of what I saw.
The (closed) Cathedral
I went through the botanical gardens, which were a little bare of leaves but still nice, and here it started raining so walked back to the hostel.
Tomorrow morning I will see the royal palace – I really like going to the palaces in the various countries I've been to. They are always beautiful and I like to imagine what intriguing conversations the walls have heard through the centuries. Then in the evening I fly to Lisbon, Portugal.
I must say my patience with hostel life is growing thin quite rapidly. Last night the lights weren't turned off in our room until after 1am and then I had 4 hours before people started getting up and packing bags and rustling papers and all that. Then some girls in the room got up at 6am and started doing their make up with the lights on, talking really loudly. There's a Brazillian girl in my room who I made friends with who had enough and finally lost it with them.
So needless to say, I really, really cannot wait to be in my own bed with no one else to break up a decent night's sleep. Only have Portugal to go now in a hostel and then that's it!