Thursday, August 28, 2008

Madrid 08-09-08

I think I actually got some of these photos a bit confused. On the first day we went to the Reina Sofia, which is where the photo with the tall thing (below this set) was taken. That was neat, but there's only so much modern art I can handle, so I was glad we didn't stay more than an hour or two. Across from the Reina Sofia is Madrid's central station, within which there's a greenhouse full of tropical plants! We had a Spanish break with two cokes (actually Cokes) and a water between the three of us. The last photo is the entrance to the subway. Oddly enough they kind of look the same everywhere...

The NEXT day, which is when this set is supposed to be from, we started off at the Prado, where the second two photos were taken. We had elevensies in the museum cafe, consisting of pastries and coffee. Yum!

After the Prado we walked across the street (I think) to a botanical garden with no flowers. I suppose that's what you get for looking for flowers in Madrid in August. Andy took photos of the few roses that weren't super wilted. I don't know who the statue is...

I'm fairly certain we must have gone to a dozen plazas while in Madrid, so I'm sure there were a few of those in between, but we "ended" the day with a tour of the royal palace. Apparently the king doesn't care for palaces, so he has a smaller (though I'm sure huge) residence elsewhere. The palace is only used for formal functions, but is ummm well, it's a palace, so mostly it's just overdone, but there are some pretty things in it...

Across from the palace you'll see Almudena Cathedral. This church was originally commissioned by one of the kings in the 19th century to house the body of his dearly beloved wife who died too soon to bear a child and so failed to meet the requirements for burial in the royal tomb as queen (I guess only queen mothers, not queen consorts get in). He seemed to have run into some financial difficulties as the cathedral wasn't finished until a few years ago - just in time for the prince to get married in it.

The story on the current king is actually pretty interesting too. Franco was the dictator who overthrew the Spanish monarchy (you know that, right?). Sometime in the '50s or maybe '60s or maybe, I think, it was even later (go check Wikipedia!), something more like the '70s or '80s, he made the former king's grandson heir to the dictatorship*. When he umm took office, he said, "Hey guys, I think that democracy thing is kind of cool, let's try that." So now Spain has a democratic monarchy. Or maybe it's a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Anyways, he decided not to be a dictator, and now he's king anyways, and lives in a nice house and has a great income, and probably doesn't make any major decisions. The prince is a diplomat and there are two princesses, but I don't know what they do. The Spaniards like their king. I don't. He looked at me funny**.

*I checked everything in this paragraph in Wikipedia for accuracy, but deliberately refrained from checking this one, well, from correcting this one, because that's the way I am. =)

**I didn't actually see him, so this isn't true, but it sounds like a fun story!

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