Monday, September 20, 2010

Madrid: Yes, I Love Thee

Struggling to think of blog post titles, obviously.

I have figured out a route -- a nice, well-populated, spacious, sunny route, for walking and bouncing. Shown above. It is about 5 miles (4.9-5, depending on detours), and I walked it three times this weekend.

Things about Madrid:
1. The Spanish equivalent to the Tour de France, the Vuelta, ended yesterday. I know because I walked by it going through the Plaza de Cibeles. It was very loud and the street was blocked off, but luckily the Banco de España metro stop goes underneath the street.

2. As I have mentioned to my parents, it is common knowledge that Spanish beer is not very good. Proof of this? In line at the grocery store on Friday, I noticed the guy in front of me buying a six pack of Budweiser. BUDWEISER. THEY IMPORT BUDWEISER HERE.

3. It is September, so people are mostly back from their holidays and the streets are much more crowded. I like it. The afternoons feel less like death.

4. It has stormed three of the past five nights. It's still quite hot during the day, but I have broken out the squishy comforter at night.

5. I was given an Ikea set of dishes yesterday, which are now presumably attached to my room -- a bowl, plate, cup, silverware, glass, dish towel, tupperware container, etc. I could have used that at the BEGINNING of the summer, thanks so much.

6. All of the little kids are back in school now. I see lots of tiny girls in a school uniform that consists of a dark pleated skirt and dark suspenders over a white polo shirt. They're very cute. I also see some very small children in what look like pastel blue painters' smocks.

7. Caramel-flavored frozen yogurt is still weird. Why had I forgotten this? I should have just bought some gelato in Puerta del Sol, but it was really busy and I was really leery of taking out my wallet in that particular location.

I finally cooked dried beans yesterday to an acceptable consistency without either burning them or ending up with dry little bullets. I was pleased.

I watched Julie and Julia, The Holiday, and the first half of Hable Con Ella (Talk to Her) over the weekend. My thoughts:

Julie and Julia: Every time Mery Streep comes on the screen, life is good. Amy Adams is cute. Paris in the 1950s is wonderful. Overall highly pleasant.

The Holiday: I have come to realize, sadly, that Jude Law is gorgeous. Kate Winslet is wonderful. Jack Black is funny. Cameron Diaz is like a rotten potato thrown into the middle of my happy soup.

Hable Con Ella: I have a hard time listening to Spanish when there are English subtitles. The sections with the bull fighting are fascinating. Sadly, it can only get more creepy from here.

I am still working up to Breathless, Otto e Mezzo, A Single Man, and other such non-fluffy stuff on my list. I am also trying to finish A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster. It is good. Really. It is. I just wish I had some more fluff. But, I need to read faster so I can get through this one and also The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I leave. (I'm not sure whether I want to get through Middlemarch or leave it so that I have a nice, long book for the transAtlantic plane ride. Or possibly some combination of both. It's a pretty hefty book.)

I finally went to the main collection of the third of the "Big Three" art museums in Madrid, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. It was all right, but really not as exciting as the Prado, the Reina Sofia, the Louvre, or the Musee D'Orsay. They had a nice painting by Caravaggio, a few nice paintings by Manet, and a few other interesting paintings of various eras, but overall, it kind of reminded me of the Joslynn in Omaha: It was very much just one rich couple's collection of art. It was also not curated in any really interesting way (though of course it was better than the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, because that is the single most boring art museum I have ever been in.) I still had a good time; I wandered around having dreamy and silly romantic thoughts in mangled Spanish and wondering what language the elderly couple next to me was speaking (Polish? Dutch?)

I still want to go to the "Turner and the Masters" special exhibit at the Prado and the Fellini exhibit at the Caixa Forum; those will probably happen in the days bracketing the Venice adventure.

I now need to spend about $22 in postage. . . I have another round of postcards to send. :P

Next weekend is Barcelona. (Gaudi! Mies van der Rohe! Dalí! Las Ramblas! Pickpockets by the dozen!) The weekend after that is Venice. The weekend after that I am home. Phew. Wow.

Links. . .

I suspect that Heidi braids only look cool if you don't actually look kind of like Heidi.

I freaking loathe how this is described as wee, tiny, itsy-bitsy little apartment! SCREW YOU. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THIS MUCH SPACE THAT ONLY BELONGS TO ME. AND A KITCHEN. DAMMIT.


Modern graphic design. I've been meaning to look through it, but somehow the children's book struck me as more immediately relevant.

Typography for lawyers. Replace the word "lawyers" with "dummies." 95% of this is relevant to anyone who will ever have to prepare an official looking document.

A font recognition service. You scan the font, and it turns up a match.

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