Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Madrid and Window Shopping



Our tour director asked me which city I preferred, Barcelona or Madrid. They are both beautiful, with much to offer in the way of culture, architecture, history, etc. Barcelona is vibrant and has a more casual and touristy feel. Madrid is also vibrant, but perhaps more elegant and serious. I enjoyed both cities, but I would like to take more time exploring Madrid some day. 

While we were there we visited the Prado museum. No photos were allowed inside, and the outside is nothing special. There are some wonderful works of art inside, though. I particularly like Velasquez' "Las Meninas" for its interesting perspectives and the variety of stories that could be told about the painting. While in Barcelona I visited the Picasso Museum during some free time and saw Picasso's interpretation(s) of the same painting. Loved the contrast. 

There were also a number of Bruegels that I enjoyed, especially since I saw several of his paintings in Vienna during our summer trip. I like scenes of everyday life with the details that must have seemed so commonplace long ago, but are interesting and strange to us in the present. 

I spent some free time in Madrid wandering the paths of the El Retiro Park, where royals once went to spend time away from court life. It was shady and cool under the trees and I enjoyed a bit of solitude, something rare on a school trip. 


We visited the Royal Palace in Madrid. It's currently used only for state occasions and is a large complex, of which we saw a very small part. The entrance hall is stunning, with golden light pouring in from the bull's eye windows. Again, there were very few areas where photos were allowed, so I didn't take any. 

However, I was so, so tempted to pull out my phone and surreptitiously snap a few in one room. Our guide kept pointing out the ceilings with their ornate paintings and saying who painted this or that. He offhandedly mentioned the HAND-EMBROIDERED silk wall coverings in the rooms. Now they were gorgeous! So beautifully done. The Chinese Room, so-called because of many Chinese porcelains and decorations, had vines and flowers all over the walls, stitched with a variety of threads thick and thin so that the stitching stood out 1/4-1/2 inch from the walls. And these are large rooms. Room after room was covered with hand-stitched silk. Never mind the paintings, I thought, just think of the many, many women who spent their lives, one stitch at a time, creating this magnificence. They are the ones who should be honoured. 


In the palace gift shop I saw this pretty silk scarf and bought it for myself. It's soft and bright and I love the way it sets off my often grey/black clothing. 


Here are a few shop windows. The accessories are so beautiful, and burgundy is a strong theme for this autumn season. It might be called merlot this year, but it's all rosy hues.


Here's the grey/cream/black basic wardrobe style that I love, and then add coloured accessories. 

So that's a wrap for Spain. I saw and did much more, but it's time to move on. And I have not yet finished posting about our trip in the summer. Hey ho, we'll see what happens. 

I hope your week is going well! Thanks for visiting. 

28 comments:

Laurie said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing adventure, to see this through your eyes has been wonderful, I reall appreciate the detailed written descriptions,

Deanna Rabe said...

I love your scarf! The color is wonderful and will look great with your greys and blacks!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a great trip! (I’m way behind on visiting and see that I am behind at least one whole new country and how exciting that is.]. It is sad, but I suppose not surprising, that those women were not credited for their fine work .... just expected that women could “sew a fine seam” no doubt.

Vee said...

Oh I am going to follow your example. I wear a lot of black and dark colors...call me Johnny Cash. I need some colorful scarves. I tried to find a secret photo of the hand embroidered wall hangings at the palace...no could do, but I read a lot of commentary about how disappointing it was not to be able to take photos.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Beautiful photos. The store windows are perfect for fall.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Ahhh, this was just lovely. And that scarf you bought, oh my, what joy you will have to wear it. A real boon for your wardrobe. Hermosa!

Thanks for this splendid glimpse of Madrid!
Brenda xox

Elizabethd said...

A lovely trip. But how much I would have wanted to photograph the embroideries just to bring a memory back.
Your scarf it beautiful, the sort of scarf that would make one feel happy when wearing it.

Rosemary said...

I really enjoyed Madrid and found it a more relaxing place to visit than Barcelona. The crowds in Barcelona and the constant watch you need to keep on your purse make it more stressful. However, that wouldn't prevent me from visiting again sometime.
Love your scarf such a pretty vibrant colour.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I would have had a very hard time leaving my phone in my pocket. With all that beauty, it's pity that you couldn't take pictures.

kathy b said...

Beautiful photos as you always have a great eye to share with us!!!! I love gift shops at Museums

Margie said...

Your pretty scarf is the perfect memento of Madrid! Madrid looks like a very fashionable city!

Ann Maria said...

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Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

It looks like a wonderful place to visit. I love your scarf!

Jo in Chicago said...

I enjoyed reading of your visit to Madrid and your good impression of it. I spent time there 25 years ago when my daughter was a student at the Universidad. We found Madrid to be an elegant city - full of art, and kind, reserved people. For those who wish to avoid some of the over-crowded, sadly touristy cities of Europe, I highly recommend Madrid, and also Siena and Bologna in Italy.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lorrie, I always love your photos. And your accounts of your travels always make me feel as if I've just had a little mini-vacation. Beautiful scarf!

ellen b. said...

That first photo of the walkway surrounded by greenery is so inviting. That scarf is a good choice to add color to your preferred wardrobe.

Judy said...

It sounds like a wonderful experience all around. And the scarf is just lovely!

So we are back from vacation and I am once again able to comment on blogs. For some reason, the comments I have left on my iPhone over the past 10 days all disappeared into thin air.

Anneliese said...

I enjoy the things that you were allowed to take pictures of. =) What an amazing trip
and it sounds like there is always more to go back for!

GretchenJoanna said...

I imagine it would be hard to choose one gift to bring home -- you chose well! I liked hearing about the comparison of the two cities.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My husband's cousins moved from Sardinia, Italy, to Valencia, Spain to open a shop and we are very tempted to visit them someday and see some of Spain. I would love to see the Royal Palace in Madrid! Like you I would have wanted to sneak a photo or two, but being a rule keeper I wouldn't do it. I did get yelled at in Italy when I took photos inside a large cathedral--but I honestly didn't see the sign forbidding it. I was very embarrassed!

Cheryl said...

As well as you use your lens, it must have been a challenge to take pictures only in your mind's eye! I love your choice of the pink silk scarf. It will be a lovely compliment to your gray/black pieces. Maybe you'll share a selfie some day? :)

Kit said...

What a lovely place! Your scarf is beautiful, what a great souvenir. Everytime you wear it you will think of your trip. 😊 Kit

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely to see your photographs and read about your trip.
That really is a very pretty silk scarf, and such a gorgeous colour … enjoy wearing it :)

All the best Jan

Mary said...

Love the scarf and the fact you had some personal time away from the kids to do some window shopping!
I've seen Barcelona twice but not visited Madrid sadly.

Like you dear, I'm having trouble keeping up with the travel posts - don't think I even finished Ireland and New England from earlier trips this year, and now trying hard to do some interesting Morocco/Sahara/Cape Verde posts. Patience please!

Angie said...

Lorrie - the scarf will go well with your wardrobe. I imagine you bring a special style to your clothing in the same way you have a great eye for photos! I can relate to "moving on" with posts - since I post only once a week, I could easily be writing about our last trip well into December, but there are probably other topics to cover, such as the holidays! Enjoy the rest of your week!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Love your pretty memento scarf from your trip, Lorrie. I wish I could’ve seen the hand embroidered silk wall coverings that you mentioned. What painstaking work those ladies did! Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip!

Madame Là-bas said...

Your photos are lovely.

Marilyn Miller said...

The color of that scarf is beautiful. I know I love Barcelona, but would love visiting Madrid one day. What a wonderful adventure.

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