It’s been a while since my last post here, because I was on vacation. I visited Madrid, Lisbon, and Porto. It was incredible! Ths vacation was my first time visiting Europe outside of France, and I really enjoyed discovering new places and noticing the differences between each country. I think Americans tend to lump Europe (or at least Western Europe) together as one country, but in reality each country is as unique as the states in America. One wouldn’t say that New Hampshire, Virginia, and Texas are all the same… Each country has its own language, its own traditions, its own history, etc. Even within Portugal, there were regional differences between Lisbon and Porto.
In Madrid, I visited two very famous museums: Prado and Reina Sofia. Prado Museum is the home of many famous paintings and Spanish artists. I saw the works of El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Bosch, Van der Weyden, Picasso, and many others. I took an Art History II class sophomore year, and I couldn’t believe I was seeing in person so many of the paintings I had studied! I also got to see La Guernica, one of Picasso’s most famous works and an important part of Spain’s history.
Reina Sofia has more rotating exhibits. I saw an exhibit of modern art and sculpture called Metonymy by Cristina Iglesias.
Another staple of Madrid: TAPAS. It’s a menu of small appetizer-sized plates that cost 3-4 euro each; you order a bunch and share them, just to taste. Many of the tapas items are something bizarre and gourmet, often atop a cracker: for example, duck confit with onions, foie gras and apples, smoked salmon, squid with ink sauce, etc. I really ejoyed the atmosphere of these tapas dinners, and every plate was something weird and exciting. Of course, when in Spain, we ordered everything with wine or sangria.
I have many more experiences and observations to share, but I don’t want to make this post too long. I will revisit the other cities later!