It would be quite easy to lose the days in Spain between eating and siestas, especially with such fine company. So, this particular morning, we made a concerted effort to conquer something. We chose an art gallery.
We ventured out to find breakfast and found ourselves at a chocolatieria indulging in churros and chocolate for breakfast. This is a Spanish tradition I have been observing along the way. When Elaine suggested having it for breakfast dessert, I suggested skipping the main. Soon we had a heart attack smorgasbord on the table. We couldn't fit so many cups of chocolate and plates, so we were forced to pile all the churros onto one, and remove all the saucers.
The place was chockers (oh snap, pun) with Spanish folk completing their Sunday morning rituals. As it turned out, we had stumbled across the finest chocolateria in Madrid, San Gines. An institution that is 120 years old, and one that Lonely Planet recommends as their top five things to do in Madrid. I don't know if I would go that far. Before we had even finished the feast, our comas were setting in. With our cups still half full of chocolate, we were put in our tourist places by the Spaniards who were licking, actually licking the last of their chocolate from their cups.
We zombied our way through the metro to Centro de arte Reina Sofia, a gallery most famous for its Picasso masterpiece, Guernica, amongst other artists like Dali and Miro. I actually have no idea who that last one is, but if the museum touts it, so will I.
The museum was really impressive, you could tell by the queues. This picture shows the outside queue, but wait, inside there was a bonus winding queue section. Karl devised a genius plan. He walked inside with the pram, and then called back to us "I think that's a queue for the Madrid card, the entrance is here." Everyone flocked to where Karl was pointing end we got to avoid a queue. But we didn't have the balls to do that, so we waited.
Guernica was a real masterpiece. It was massive. You aren't allowed to take pictures, but this one of the crowd shows a glimpse of it on the right, and you can see how gigantic it is. I love it. I didn't mention this in my old post, but that fateful day we missed the lunch in San Sebastián, our detour included a drive through Guernica. But by the time we got there, we were so starved we drove through without stopping.
The four of us are no art connoisseurs, but we found ourselves loving the art. Karl was even getting up close and person with the art, appreciating the nuances. I asked him to do it again with a Picasso so I could photograph it, but the guard told him off for getting too close. I thought this was hilarious. Until later when I almost backed into another painting, whilst trying to photograph one in the opposite wall. For this, I was reprimanded by the most apologetic guard. She said sorry about 100 times, and I was apologising in Spanish. It was all a bit of a love fest. Steven and Elaine were waiting for us to start kissing.
By the way, this whole time, we were still comatosed from breakfast and the sugar was wreaking havoc in our stomachs. We needed some bread to soak up the sugar, Steven suggested cerveza (beer) but I challenged him to describe how the liquid would absorb the sugar. We ate €1 pinxto and beers for lunch. That's compromise.
Buskers appear all over the city, especially when you are captive eating your lunch. They play one song, then go around with their hat and puppy dog eyes. They must seriously clean up they would easily get €10 for 3 minutes. I don't know anyone that gets $180 euro per hour, so I have stopped forking out Karl's money unless they play for at least 15 minutes before moving onto the next group of unsuspecting leisure seekers. I see their strategy, they bleed whoever will bleed regardless if they play for one minute or one hour. So I am check mating them.
At this point, we are in a predicament. It would be arrogant not to have menu del Dia. So we oblige. Three courses later we are truly dying. We head home, determined to skip dinner. The bullfighting is on that night. Elaine and I desperately want to attend, but we offer to stay home with Matisse. That's a joke by the way. We had no desire, plus the bromance needs some time to blossom. It does. They leave the house, then return less than one minute later for their jumper and phones. Then. Three minutes later, a phone starts ringing on the couch, Stevens phone. And. It's Karl calling to find out where it is. He is happy we answered so we can... wait for it.... check if the keys are in the door. They have lost them, and are hoping that they are in the front door. The only thing more hopeless then one man, is two.
Elaine and I go out for a stroll through the parks and streets of Madrid. We march to the rythym of a chorus of beating ovaries. Matisse is seriously charming up a storm, like never before. Shrieking out to people, laughing with them, smiling, talking, giving out high fives. There were a few ladies who were really struggling to move beyond her, and we lingered minutes longer whilst they clutched their exploding chests before rushing home to immediately have sex. I'm not joking, Elaine and I were stunned with the commotion. A Spanish women told us in broken English that we needed to be careful of her fluttering eyelids at all the men. Oh shiiiiit.
The day before Karl had seen a Spanish brochure stand and lost his shit, must to the excitement of the two women standing with the stall. He is hyperventilating "amazing, amazing" - I can clearly see that this is a seventh day Adventist type arrangement, and wonder why Karl is so excited. I look closer to see the brochure he is pointing at...has pictures of mazes, obviously representing the complexity of life. Karl starts asking them where to find the maze. They don't speak any English but are pointing to the website. About this time, the penny drops for Karl. The women were certain they had just subscribed two passionate tourists as Karl walks away with his sinking heart.
Anyway, on our walk, we found a maze, just a little one, but enough to make Karl jealous. And finally, the best sangria in town. A lot of hard taste testing had led to this moment. We even did a spot of shopping in the mall, before heading back to the apartment for a smorgasbord of homemade tapas.
Several hours later, the phone starts ringing and the doorbell starts buzzing, Karl is yelling into the phone "can you hear that, is that our doorbell?" Yes honey, and you are waking up the child. They charge into the apartment with fingers for horns bellowing "toro, toro." There was obviously beer for sale at the bull fighting. Steven and Karl had scalped tickets to get in, in order to avoid the queues. Within moments of handing of the cash, the seller had vanished, but the tickets were legitimate.
So, Karl and Steven mortified us with stories of bulls being tortured, bulls accidentally killing horses who "miraculously came back to life" (read, the organisers brought in a new one) and women running out of the stadium, in droves, crying. Bullfighting is definitely a dying "sport," one which has already been banned in Barcelona, and for good reason. Essentially, the matador lure in the bull with a flag, then sidestep them and stab them on the way through. They keep doing this until the heavily wounded bull eventually dies. The spectators (mostly Spanish men over the age of 50) applaude the gruesome humiliation of the beast along the way. Steven and Karl noted the cultural experience, but would never go again. Here is some footage of the tame part of the night, the part where the matador just stirs the bull up. Steven and Karl described, and demonstrated this, by waving their pelvis around whilst walking and kind of dancing in the general direction of the bull. I think the video of Steven and Karl would have been funnier but I wasn't quick acting enough.