Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Reina Sofia Madrid, Spain, Thursday, 14 March 2013 11:04pm

To save on walking, we took the Metro over to the Reina Sofia Museum, which focuses on modern art. I usually enjoy modern art museums quite a lot, but this one focused on some movements that don't really resonate with me: Abstract Expressionism and Primitivism. A large part of the museum is dedicated to art about, and contemporaneous with, the Spanish Civil War, centered on Picasso's Guernica, which, with sketches and descriptions, gets its own room. Some of the most effective art in this section is not actually "Modern Art", but engravings by Goya (who I didn't particularly care for yesterday, when he was painting kings and country fairs).

We had Gallegan food for lunch, which was really tasty and came with a show of sorts. There was a large pot in the room, which had been burning with a low alcoholic flame the whole time we were there. At some point, all of the lights in the restaurant were turned off, and one of the waiters ladled up the liquid from the pot and poured it back down in a burning stream, while what sounded like an invocation played over the loudspeakers. Galician is another Iberian language (like the Catalán that was giving me trouble in the East), that's different enough from Spanish that I was essentially unable to make out any of what was being said. Perhaps on some future trip I'll get to visit the North.

Adrienne is a dancer and a dance lover, and before we came to Spain, we'd checked to see if there was anything going on. We discovered that the National Dance Company was doing a ballet show at the Royal Theatre, so we got tickets and made sure to pack some fancier clothes. It was a lovely night out. I'm not a connoisseur of ballet (in fact this is my second time seeing a performance, and my first time seeing classical, rather than modern, ballet), but the dancing was fantastic. Extremely graceful and fluid.

The Reina Sofia Museum that we'd visited in the morning is named for its benefactor, the current Queen Sofia of Spain. Before and after the performance, there was a commotion and the audience turned to applaud the largest central seating box. We were just able to make out from our seats that Queen Sofia was attending the performance! Perhaps not such a surprise, since one of her houses (the Royal Palace) is just across the square from the theatre.