Madrid, Round Two

by Michael

After an early morning departure from Cordoba to return our car to the Madrid airport, we visited Madrid again. We had found some neighborhoods we enjoyed (and knew our way around) so we were happy to stop over as we finalized our plans for moving on from Spain (step one: figure out where in the world we were going). While we were back in Madrid, I had two main objectives: finding a specific painting and finding new shoes.

The painting that I was looking for is The Witches’ Sabbath, by Goya. I had learned about it in high school, and even did a presentation (in Spanish) talking about it. When we visited the Prado on our first time in Madrid, we saw the room of “Dark Paintings” by Goya, and as soon as I finished I realized it wasn’t there. Here is what it looks like:

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The Witches’ Sabbath by Francisco Goya — image from wikipedia.

So I researched it. I found out that The Witches’ Sabbath lives at the Museo Lázaro Galdiano — which luckily is in Madrid. So I looked into the Galdiano and found out it had a free hour that we could get to after dropping off our car, so we took the metro and visited. I found the correct room as I was walking through the collection, and then I thought I must be in the wrong room and moved on. Then I went back.

It turns out that The Witches’ Sabbath is only slightly larger than an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

This was surprising for me, given that Goya’s 2nd of May and 3rd of May paintings in the Prado are giant. I guess that’s why they are in the Prado and The Witches’ Sabbath is not. A bit of a disappointment, but I’m glad we went looking for it.

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The building housing the Museo Lázaro Galdiano was interesting in and of itself — every room had a fresco on the ceiling.  The building was previously Galdiano’s private residence.

As for shoes, the shoes that I wore on the Camino were near (past) the end of their useful life. I hike in trail runners, which are rated for about 500 miles. This pair of La Sportiva shoes (the Wildcat model) had about 650 miles on them, including the whole Camino, the ascent of Mount Toubkal in Morocco, plus running in California, Sweden, Morocco, and Spain. The bottom, originally actual tread, was getting smooth and part of it was actually coming off.

Looking for trail runners, I tried multiple sport shoe shops in Madrid. All had a shortage of shoes in my size (do Spaniards have small feet?) and high prices. My success came at El Corte Ingles, a department store I wouldn’t have visited if Elizabeth had not wanted to go shopping there. They didn’t have the La Sportiva Wildcat, but I was ready to try a new shoe, and I’m now happy with my Saucony Peregrines (and also find the name amusing as it wasn’t too long ago that I was a Peregrino on the Camino). Elizabeth was spared from having to search for new shoes because one of the items that Chris and Liz brought from California was a new (used) pair of trail runners for her!

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Comparing the non-existent tread on Elizabeth’s old shoes (left) with the tread on her “new” shoes (right).

Also, we were in Madrid during the start of Orgullo Gay (Gay Pride), apparently rescheduled this year to avoid falling on election day (the prior weekend). Having lived in San Francisco for nearly five years, I’m used to the various Pride festivities, and tend to think of it as a holiday/party for out-of-towners. It’s busy downtown and at major parks, but neighborhoods continue with life as usual. Madrid was similar. I was happy for the celebration, but for getting around it just required being smart about dealing with crowds and areas with road blocks/security checks.

[We’re making an attempt to finally get caught up on getting our blog posts up.  This post describes our second visit to Madrid on June 30-July 2, 2016.]

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