Day 14 – Madrid

Today’s my first day without the tour group. I check out of the Barcelo Tower Hotel but stay in the waiting area until I can check into my lodging. The Barcelo Tower has been a treat, my room on the top floor has views over Madrid.

My new lodging is quite the come-down. I immediately have problems with the keys, as they do not fit the description the host gave me. When I test them to make sure I can get back in, they do not work. The host asks me to send him an image of the keys. He finally comes and straightens things out.

Still I am happy with my lodging choice as it is right near the Atocha train station. The Ministry of Agriculture is right across the street. It’s back to big buildings and big boulevards.

I wander down a side street and come across a long row of used book stands.

The sun is intense. I take a selfie.

The Botanical Gardens offer respite under its many trees. The gardens are enormous. I must forgo the experience given I’m depleted after hauling my luggage on the free 001 Bus from the Barcelo Towers to Atocha. It sure would feel good to sit down under a tree. But could I get up again?

Instead I opt for a very late lunch, something called a pinxto, which Google says is a small snack, usually on bread and held together with a stick. The menu listing suggests it might be hamburger-like with mushroom sauce. Close enough.

My lodging is right across the road from the Reina Sofia, Spain’s National Museum of Art. After a certain time of day, entry is free. I get in line.

The museum has two modern elevators attached to the traditional building.

Bored from the long line wait, I spot this woman in her color-coordinated outfit. A pink phone even.

The elevator offers a glimpse of the Atocha train station across the way.

The room showing Guernica is packed, of course. Still, I am very happy to see it in person. And opposite on the wall are sketches Picasso created as he developed his ideas. His lover at the time photographed the work as it progressed.

Also across from Guernica are a series of works showing women in anguish. Each different, each compelling in its way.

An entire room presents cubist-inspired posters related to the Spanish Civil War.

I’m glad to have seen what I could given my late arrival. The audio guide helps as the museum is enormous as are the crowds. Tomorrow the Royal Palace.

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