Adam in Barca


One month and a visit to Madrid
August 1, 2009, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been here about a month now, and I feel settled and have my regular spots that I’ve started going to do work or read. There’s a cafe down the street that has become my go-to place to write during the day. No modern flair here— unadorned plaster walls, sturdy old tables, and strong espresso. And it’s always packed with people coming and going, sipping coffee, chatting with passers-by, or doing their own work. The ceilings are high, the tables well-worn, and in typical European fashion, it’s usually a little hazy with cigarette smoke.

Another spot I like to visit is called the “Cascada” (waterfall) in Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona’s largest park. It’s an elaborate fountain made to look organic (except for the huge stone dragons spitting water). It’s surrounded by sand pathways, and a little out-door cafe is a couple hundred feet away. When it’s not scorchingly hot outside, it’s a nice place to visit.

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Having time is good for seeing art, too. The best way to see an art museum is to do so without being rushed to absorb a hundred paintings at once. I appreciated this more when I was in Madrid last week. I only set aside a few days to visit, and there is a LOT of great art in Madrid — so I had to cram a lot into a short amount of time. I made a list of works I knew Valente had written about, like Guernica, and made sure to visit them all.

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Besides art, a friend of mine (who is finishing up the Fulbright in Madrid) showed me around the city. He took me around to some of the neighborhoods that he felt were particularly Madrileño, and we also explored the city’s rich literary history. We saw the statue of Lorca—one of my favorite Spanish poets—and the house where Cervantes lived.

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The bus ride to Madrid is 7 hours, which isn’t quick, but it was actually nice to drive through the rural areas and Spanish landscape that is mostly untouched by people.

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