Coming into the Granada study abroad program, my intention was to minimize my travels throughout Europe to be able to really experience life in Granada, and to hopefully form connections within its community. However, intrigued by the Spanish capital, a city I had only been to within the confines of its airport, I did make a trip up to Madrid the weekend of the 12th of October with some program friends.
Arriving at night after a five-hour bus ride to the center of the Iberian Peninsula, we were immediately struck by how expansive and enveloping Madrid felt. Although Spanish, Madrid seemed much more akin to Paris or London than the smaller Granada.
After a night’s rest in our hostel, we headed out to the Museo Nacional del Prado to take in masterpieces by Goya, Velázquez, and Hieronymus Bosch, among a horde of other renowned artists. While I enjoy art and museums, I certainly did not expect to become engrossed in the artwork as we did – spending nearly seven hours meandering throughout the palatial building.
We continued our pursuit of art on Saturday by visiting the Museo Reina Sofia. Slightly worn out from the previous day, our time here was more restrained and focused on seeing the magistral Guernica by Picasso. Seeing the painting in person was impressive, but what I found most fascinating was the exhibit in the adjacent room that highlighted the sketches Picasso prepared to refine the haunting expressions found in Guernica itself.
After so much time spent indoors, we finished off our tour of Madrid with a paseo (a leisurely walk without set destination) throughout the city center, hitting highlights like the Plaza Mayor, the Parque del Retiro, and Palacio Real.