Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 2: Inertia, Art and the Inn of the Dragon

 Our plan for today: Segovia. What happened today: NOT Segovia. We were visited by the jet lag monster and didn't get out of be until lunch time. But all good. We started our day with good Spanish mineral waters.
 Paul is smiling because he is getting a hamburger for breakfast.
 Eventually, we did wander out through the plazas and streets of Madrid where I conquered this dinosaur...okay, in reality I was lucky to get off it without hurting myself, but it was fun anyway.
We walked from the subway to the Prado.
Paul had been here about 35 years ago. And me...NEVER. So it was pretty exciting for me to stir about in rooms filled with paintings by Velasquez, Goya and the special Picasso exhibit. Of course, there were many more painters, but Goya's Pinturas Negras series were really fascinating and Velasquez royal portraits were often stunning. He had a series called "Buffoons and Dwarves" that concentrated on actors and jesters of the court. I learned a lot of Spanish history as well during the visit. They won't allow inside photos.Sorry.
 One kind of neat thing that happened was when we went into the courtyard and were literally surrounded by small birds, hoping we would drop a crumb. Paul's cookie got shared!
This elder citizen decided to do some tai chi in the courtyard and we enjoyed watching him.
 After a little over three hours in the Prado, it was time to walk to our dinner restaurant. Here are a couple of very amusing signs we saw. We don't know what they sell in this store,...but we don't want any!
 This one was funny to me, because it reminds me of questions I ask to my surgical patients on rounds every morning. We don't know what these folks are selling either, but they if they want to market in the US, we suggest coming up with a different name!
 About 7:30pm, we wound up at our restaurant in Posado de Dragon, La Antonitas. This is a local fave and we were about to learn why.
 Since we still had an hour, Paul went to the bar for a gin and tonic. Gin is probably more popular here than the US (where it is plenty popular) and they are really into craft gins, including some Spanish ones.
 Mr. Parris enjoys his G&T with ice and a slice...but the slices are thinly shaved grapes,
 Eventually we did make it over to the restaurant side for mature sheep cheese and ...
 Minted lamb skewers with couscous. Nothing bahhhhh'd about it!

Lastly, they offered us soap with laundry foam...which was a bar of soap made of white chocolate and "foam" flavored with lemon. A cute dish and tasty too.
 Paul eats his laundry suds with a big smile.
If you are ever in Madrid, look up Posada del Dragon. It's a small hotel, bar and a tiny restaurant which was full by the time we left it at 11 pm.
There were big crowds out starting about 10pm on a Saturday night. They get a late start and party on till dawn!  And these folks are serious about a good time!

Tomorrow, we move on to Leon and a step closer to the Camino, so that will be welcome. There's plenty more in Madrid and we hope to see it on our return.

Our meditation tonight was on Nefertiti, queen of Amenhotep. She had equal power to her husband (almost, we are told.) They were able to keep their concepts in place until they died, but then Egyptians reverted to the "old ways." It was an interesting history lesson.

PAUL'S PONDERINGS:  A late start, but a full day nonetheless.   I was in Madrid in the late 70s and my memory of it is pretty dated.   The Prado was fabulous and then we followed that with a walk thru the center city and a nice tapas dinner in a local space as described above.  Like Barcelona, the center of town is quite busy on a weekend night -- what a town full of tiny and varied restaurants!   We could spend years here and not visit them all.   But, we very much enjoyed our dinner tonight and I have to say the local gin was as good as I've had (and that is spoken as a gin aficionado).   Tomorrow we take a high speed train to Leon and then soon after, the walking/trekking begins.   We've really grown to love Spain and the lifestyle here is pretty relaxed.    I'm a late eater by nature and I keep nudging Lou saying "this is my clan -- they eat at 9 pm every night!".    

The Prado is a bit overwhelming and we discussed what to do....I had a vague memory of some of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, which are constructed to trigger mental breakthroughs when you are stuck or indecisive in a situation, so my comment was "when all else fails, start".   Not sure if that is in Eno's card deck, but it sounds like it could be.   And it worked for us.

Finally, speaking of Nefertiti, a bit of jazz commentary.   Some may know that one of Miles Davis'
best recordings in the 60s was titled after her and the pianist Cecil Taylor also titled some music in that vein.  When we discussed which meditation to read, that one appealed to me inherently because of the Davis' recording in particular.   Apparently she held a particular fascination for some musicians of that era.   If you don't know that recording from Miles, it's a great one.   Pick it up and enjoy.


  1. I love that you two do these blogs. I can travel vicariously.

  2. Yes, indeed. I feel like I am right there trekking alongside my favorite peeps - go forth and conquer! I do love the inclusion of your daily meditations. XOXO!!

    1. I know you would love this walk. Lots of gorgeous!

    2. I know you would love this walk. Lots of gorgeous!