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Trip Report A few photos from Madrid on a long January weekend

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Good morning

Finally getting around to sorting photos from my January long weekend in Madrid. I still have to add the food photos to the below but the wanderings photos are up.

My first visit to Spain! I went over the MLK weekend, arriving early on Friday morning and heading home on the Monday. I was able to use FF miles on United and flew on a new (or new looking) Aer Lingus plane, Dulles to Madrid. Green seats and shamrocks on the winglets!

I stayed at AC Palacio del Retiro (which was just fantastic) and spent the three days hitting up the main sights. The Prado of course, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen Bornemisza (and so luckily, an exhibit on Canaletto and others at the Fundacion Caja Madrid) . I strolled through the Palacio Real, Parque del Buen Retiro, and had lots and lots of tapas. The churro con chocolat at San Gines in sinful.

I lucked out on timing in that the Prado had a special exhibit from the Hermitage. In fact, I ended up spending much more time in that exhibit than the rest of the Prado, in part because I lingered over many pieces and was pooped when I finally exited the exhibit to wander the rest of the Prado. I did, at least, make a beeline to the Goyas as well as Hieronymus Bosch.

I also managed to find a painting by Velasquez of Philip III. Why was this a reason for me to do a double take? Because he was wearing La Peregrina in the painting... and I had just, a month previously, seen La Peregrina in person at Elizabeth Taylor's auction at Christie's in Manhattan! How bloody astounding is the fact that a private citizen, our Elizabeth Taylor, owned a piece of history, a piece of jewelry that was once part of the crown jewels of Spain??

I would stay at the Palacio del Retiro again but I would also consider the Westin. I spent a few hours one afternoon sitting under its dome, with lunch and a few glasses of wine, people watching. The Westin is a bit more centrally located and it's of a similar quality although larger than the Palacio del Retiro (which used to be a private palace/home, I believe it was owned by the family who owned Spain's high speed rail system).

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I'll add the food photos later. I should mention I did a "tapas walking tour" on Saturday night. I only found out about this after I arrived and I was glad I sought it out. The walk was with Andres Jarabo and here was our rough itinerary:

Wines:
Vermouth on tap
200 Monges Rioja 2001
Punto Diez
Fino Inocente-Bodegas Valdespino (Sherry)
Pedro Ximenez-Bodegas Lustao (Sherry)

Bars:
Ricla
Casa Paco
D´fabula
As for the last two eating stops, he asked that the names be kept a secret and I had already stopped taking photos of the signs by then.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/skywalkerbeth/sets/72157628901328493/show/

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