Only, I think it’s not raining anymore; one of my roommates came back and said that it wasn’t raining when she came back, so that means that it was just raining for the period of time during which Vanessa and I walked back to the hotel. But I’m almost sort-of dry now, so that’s okay.
I went to the Prado this morning and looked at paintings. I don’t really have all that much to say about it. I enjoyed myself, though by the end of three hours my feet hurt, and I had seen many galleries and didn’t feel like figuring out which ones I hadn’t seen (it occurred to me about halfway though that if I wanted to be anything like organized, I should have started at one and worked my way up, because the are numbered). I liked some of the paintings, was puzzled by some others (not only were some of those scarves creatively and improbably placed, I refuse to believe that a strategically draped ribbon would stay on any two-year-old for more than five seconds – not even if the two-year-old in question is Jesus), and outright disliked some of the others. And I think that I’ve seen enough paintings of saints to last me for the next year, at the very least. I was surprised to note that there were almost no landscapes (what few there were usually had saints in front). And when I got bored with admiring Art I guessed when the paintings were from based on what the people in them were wearing.
When I was tired of museuming, I encountered some of the other people on the program in the lobby, and we left. Vanessa expressed an interest in wandering around El Parque de Buen Retiro (The Park of Good Rest), and since I had been thinking that it would be nice to get over there, I agreed on the condition that we find some lunch, or at least a snack, first. Since this part of Madrid reminded me of the Parkway and Logan Circle, I didn’t expect to have a problem finding a food cart or a sandwich place or something, but it turned out to be much more difficult than I expected. There were a few overpriced ice cream carts, but that was all. We wandered around the edge of the park for a bit with no luck, found a few places that were either too expensive, too sketchy, or too smoky for our taste, and eventually decided to head back in the direction of our hotel, because we at least knew that there were places to eat over there. We wound up getting food at a Museo de Jamón (Museum of Ham) which is a chain restaurant/deli that has cheap
sandwiches bocadillos (yummy rolls with slices of ham inside. (A moment of digression: ham. I was told by several people before I came that the ham in Europe is very good – and it is. What it is not is like ham in the US. I’ve figured out that ham here is jamón serrano, cured ham, and it’s drier and more flavorful (sort of one step closer to jerky, only less dubious and not so chewy).), which we ate at a park bench near the Royal Botanical Gardens (we would have eaten in the gardens, only the entrance fee was as much as lunch had cost) As we were finishing our lunch I noticed that what sky we could see through the trees had turned sort of gray and ominous, and sure enough, it started raining before we were even halfway back, and it poured when we were less than a block from the hotel. It was a good day, though, and my clothing is dry by now.