Monday, August 22, 2011

Museo del Prado and Botanic Gardens, Madrid

When we were in Madrid in June we made the grave mistake of deciding not to go to the famous Museo del Prado on Sunday (thinking it would be too crowded) and waiting until Monday instead.  Only on Sunday night did we find out that most museums are closed on Monday.  A fact we should have remembered.  That's when we ended up going to the Museo Reina Sofía, one of the few museums open on Mondays.
Lucky for us we got a second chance coming back through Madrid.  Therefore, our main goal (along with finding mi amigo, El Diablo, the fallen angel!) was to visit the Prado.
Needless, August and Oliver were less than thrilled but resigned to visiting another art museum.  Louis was all set to get an audio tour unit.  Instead, we hired a tour guide who approached us in the museum and got a very informative, interesting, and kid-friendly one-hour tour of the museum highlights.  We also sought out a couple of pieces on our own after the tour.  It was a neat and tidy, efficient visit.  I know someday I can come back and tour it more thoroughly if I want to.

Entering the Prado

Huge, cool doors on the new portion of the Prado

Sites in the neighborhood of the Prado.

Off to lunch and to find that pesky devil.  Where the hell is he anyway, we kept asking!

Lunching next to the Museo Reina Sofía.  The same place we ate at in June.  We hoped to, but didn't get to, see the same waiter we had in June who had played fútbol for Barcelona.
After doing some research, Spencer thought we would find the statue of the fallen angel in the botanic gardens, across from the Parque del Buen Retiro.  We walked over there with a couple of stops along the way.

"Si los medios mienten las paredes hablan."  (If the medias lie, the walls talk.)
During our entire stay in Spain I asked about and looked for used clothing stores or vendors.  I wanted to find Spanish ties to use in making my Tie One On wine gift bags made from neckties.   I was unable to find any stores but did find a vendor at the mercado in Ribadesella.  They never had any ties.

Finally, on our last day in Spain I came upon two street vendors who had ties at very reasonable prices.  I bought a few, as the boys chuckled nearby.

I even found one from the Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider, Teléfonico.  A one-of-a-kind tie for me with satellites and satillite dishes depicted on it.

Back to our quest...the devil...this is really becoming quite the obsession and quite frustrating too.

The Botanic garden was fun and Louis got to participate in a self-led who-dunnit mystery hunt in the gardens.  All the while we kept our eyes our for the fallen angel.

Finding a clue by figuring out answers to seed-dispersal questions.

Oliver and Louis work together on another clue.

The fallen angel?  No, my namesake, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), as my middle name is Linnea.  He was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who laid the foundation for the system of binomial nomenclature.  In other words, describing every living thing with a Latin genus and species.  He is known as the father of modern taxonomy and on of the fathers of modern ecology.  

After seeing many other statues of famous botanists in the gardens I began to wonder if they would have one of Carl Linnaeus.  It was pretty cool for me when I found him.

A beautiful green, handicapped friend.

Grapes in the garden.

One of the few wild mammals we saw in Spain.  True!  This squirrel looked quite different from the ones in Colorado.

No we never found the devil in the garden.  I rechecked our maps of Madrid and discovered that they had the statue located in two different places.  I see our problem in finding the statue.  I asked a garden worker who told us it was in the Parque del Buen Retiro.  Okay, this is no longer a joke, this is a serious quest! 

It is hot, hot, hot in Madrid in August.  So, instead of going across the street to the Parque we decided to go see a photo exhibit of the Haiti earthquake at the Caixa Forum.  We saw ads for it walking around in the morning and it seemed a good place to cool off.  The Forum and neighboring vertical garden are certainly not places one can easily tire of visiting.

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