Today I met up with a coworker or two and we went to Parque Del Retiro, the Reina Sofia and capped the day off with a tapas crawl down Calle Cava Baja.
The park was our first stop. Unfortunately it was a pretty gloomy/foggy morning, but it added a pretty cool vibe that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise. The park is pretty sizable and around every corner you have manicured bushes, or monuments, or playgrounds, etc. The highlight for me was actually a man-made pond in the center where folks can row around charles river style. I thought it was cool that you could do this as an activity in the middle of a park, AND the pond was next to an amazing monument (check out the pictures). If I were a more ambitious person, this would be the perfect place to go for a run in the morning. Beautiful and quiet.
After doing a full lap around the park, we decided to head over to the Reina Sofia and get a little culture (hopefully a bit more exciting than the Prado, though). Once we got there, we went directly to the highlight of the museum: Picaso's Guernica. Instead of me trying to recount what I learned about the piece, here's a quick abstract from the linked wikipedia article:
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. Upon completion, Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.
The painting is really more of a mural, it's gigantic. And for a painting that doesn't have much detail (in the traditional sense) compared to its size, you find yourself seeing something new every time you look away and look back. I think we spent a solid 30 min just looking at it. Definitely worth the price of admission, and it was just one painting! After the Guernica, we made our way through the rest of the museum. The highlights for me were definitely the paintings by Picaso and by Dali. The rest of the museum was hit or miss for me. I think I might be spoiled a bit by the Tate, MOMA, and even the ICA.
From the Reina Sofia we headed back to the hotel, and I'm pretty sure I passed out for a bit. But once I woke up, a couple coworkers and I met in the lobby for our tapas crawl! The street (Calle Cava Baja) is just tapas bar after tapas bar. We went to three or four, and everything we ate was fantastic -- and cheeeaaap. Beers for as cheap as .70 euros, tapas for 3 or 4 euros. It was just fantastic -- and delicious! The crawl was a great way to end the weekend before our tumble in the world of Sales Kickoff.