Sunday, March 06, 2005

I´m purring like a kitian

´cause I saw me some Titian!

(God, that was bad. But I´m caught in a weird mix of cultural overstimulation and jet lag, so I refuse to apologize.)

This morning we toured the unparalleled Museo Nacional del Prado, where I also saw me some amazing Reubens, Raphael, Cranach, Velásquez, El Greco, Bosch (bless the earthly delights of his twisted little imagination) and -- best of all -- my boy Goya. It´s hard to describe how much I love Goya´s work -- especially in person. His Saturn Devouring his Son is as disturbing as I´d hoped, though it´s a lot smaller than I´d pictured it -- and it´s displayed kind of absent-mindedly in a corner of a room filled with larger, less stirring works.
(Note to self: Get the Prado curatorial staff replaced with people who display paintings MY way.) I also love his starkly honest portraits of what must have been the down-the-line ugly Spanish royal family. The next time I´m feeling like I´m having a bad nose day, I´ll just remember the Ichabod Cranes that populate Goya´s royal portraits and I´ll give myself an instant, massive jolt of self-esteem. (Of course, the ugly royal family could overcompensate for its shortcomings with wealth and power and a specatular palace. All I have going for me is a closet full of shoes and a couple lipo scars. But the shoes are FABULOUS, and I´m currently not dead, so I guess I win. At least for now.)

The second item on our tourist agenda today was supposed to be a train ride to the Medieval fortress town of Toledo, but after we´d walked all the way to the train station, we discovered that the Sunday trains to Toledo are rather scarce -- and that we´d already missed the last one. ¡Que lástima!

So we thought we´d do a little shopping instead, but the whole city shuts down on the Sabbath (I think I might have even seen a Catholic church somewhere when we were exploring the city yesterday), so instead we had ourselves a late lunch, and now my traveling companions are enjoying a brief siesta while I blog a bit and then head up to join them.

I have to say, there´s something profoundly satisfying about visiting another country, immersing yourself in its culture and having enough command of its language to find yourself able function there independently. My Spanish has taken me effortlessly through stores and restaurants and maps and street signs and advertising -- and it´s even gotten me a few compliments from the natives! -- though the explanatory documents posted next to the works in the Prado were definitely out of my league. In any case, I feel such a sense of belonging here, and I just know I´ll be back often.

On a more alarming note: The mullet is back in full force here in Europe. The fashionistas are covered in mullet, and it even adorns hoi polloi heads here more often than one would care to acknowledge. And though it´s never really left America -- at least not in the populations that don´t appreciate irony -- it´s doomed to return with a vengeance on more educated heads in the near future. You heard it here first. So don´t say you haven´t been warned.

We leave for Paris tomorrow (Monday) around noon, so we´re enjoying our last few hours in our kick-ass Madrid hotel. Here´s a link to it if you want to check out its high-tech-meets-old-world-charm glory. The brick-arched basement catacombs are perhaps my favorite part of the building (after the orgasmically glorious showers, of course), and I´ve been writing my posts from a free computer down here all week. It´s SUCH a cool space.

Off to my siesta. ¡Hasta luego!


Christopher said...

I was in Paris last weekend! Word - there is a totally hot barman at Le Queen called Jean. Worth the 20Euro admission alone. Trust me.

Will said...

Did you see any Zurbaran? He's one of my favorite Spanish painters. His work looks at first like his baroque contemporaries' but then you realize it's actually surrealist at heart. Somewhere in their guts, I think all the Spanish painters were mystics and surrealists.