When I am not so tired and when I have more stable internet, I will write about the artist who created this stunning necklace which I now have the enormous good fortune to own. Sona Grigoryan is totally worthy of several blog posts…nay, a book…and I will indeed write about her. But, for now you will have to wait and make do with observations about Madrid made while the travelling companion is fulfilling a long held dream of watching the Barcelona Football team play another team which I think is called Athletico Bilbao.
I hope Messi is on form. I hope they do not have a nil all draw. I hope he (the travelling companion, not Messi although obviously I hope he does too!) gets home safely and stays awake. People start things like football games very late here in Spain.
When for a moment back in Oz, it looked like the aforementioned football game was not going to happen, we decided to get the very fast train to Madrid. We still did this but came back faster when the game was rescheduled and the travelling companion’s hopes for seeing Mr. Messi were reignited. (Gosh I hope he is playing! And on form) Being in Madrid was quite a thing! We had no plan. No expectations. Had read no guide books. Had no lists of things to see. This may sound appalling but it was what we needed at the time. And it worked so well. Even though we were there in Holy Week and had absolutely no idea what the implications of this would be!
On the train, we decided that we would mooch along to the Museo Nacional de Pardo. Wonderful. Amazing to see in the flesh paintings I had learnt about in High School art. Top of the pops for me for reasons I can’t explain was this painting by Antonio Gisbert. The emotion conveyed in the faces of the men was astonishing.
With no real plan in mind, this morning we wandered to the Catedral De la Almudena and the Palacio Real de Madrid. I adored the ceiling decorations in the cathedral and loved the mosaics by Pater Rupnik in the Chapel of Prayer (which you are not allowed to photograph). They were in mainly white and gold shades and the feeling was one of enormous serenity and care. The chapel is explicitly for prayer and reflection and I reflected on the incredible talent and creativity of the artist.
Then we headed to the palace which was the usual opulence and excess you would imagine in a Palace! Lots of heavy fabric drapes, ornate porcelain, chandeliers you’d need a week to clean…that sort of thing! Interesting…but you wouldn’t want to live there! They were setting up for a dinner in the dining room and all I could think of was the washing you’d have even with the 5 wine glasses per person alone! Let alone the crockery and cutlery.
As we emerged from the Palace we heard bells. Oh my goodness. What a magnificent sound. The cathedral is directly opposite the Palace and I was floored. Almost literally. I had to just sit and let the waves of sound wash over me. You could see the bell towers and watch bells turn around. Quite amazing. People just stood in the courtyard mesmerised by the sound. Many standing still until it stopped. So glad we timed that one so precisely! Perfect for the deaf.
Then, barely recovered from the bells, we heard drums. Within five minutes of leaving the Palace with the intention of seeking out a coffee, we found ourselves chasing a procession of magnificently purple clad people of all ages creating the most fabulous rhythms with drums. There would have been over 150 of them and I was like a woman possessed. Seeing and hearing this group of people of all ages creating this wondrous rhythm was another serendipitous delight in Madrid. We followed them to the Placa Mayor and listened for nearly an hour. I have since discovered that we were listening to the Tamboradda del Domingo Resureccion which takes place at mid-day in the Plaza Mayor. This is the “Tamborada del Domingo de Resurección“, whereby whichever Brotherhood has been chosen for the year, assembles dozens of drums of all shapes and sizes and beats out a constant rhythm which almost shakes the timbers of the nearby houses. This represents the earth tremors that were supposed to have occurred when Christ died on the cross. I learnt about it here!
And now I sit in the rocket ship themed Railway hotel at Barcelona Sants before catching a bus to Tossa de Mar. Hasta la vista babies.