Rainy day in Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid, on a rainy day.

Today it was rainy and cold in Madrid, but I managed to explore many of the city streets and plazas, including Plaza Santa Ana, Plaza del Angel, Plaza de la Villa, Plaza Isabel II, and Plaza de Oriente. None of them are especially noteworthy, with the exception of perhaps Plaza Santa Ana or Plaza Oriente, but they're all indicative of the plazas that pockmark the city.

Madrid appears to be a great city, and I'd love to return (and also visit Barcelona), but it's not my favorite city in which to travel alone. Or maybe I'm just tired of solo traveling. It's lonely.

I visited Puerta del Sol, which I was told is the center of the city center, but with the exception of its geography, I couldn't figure out the appeal. I also intended to once again visit Plaza Mayor, but I got mixed up and took an incorrect road. Madrid was designed in a way that reminds me of Amsterdam, in the sense that it's not a grid, and that it's easy to get mixed up because roads curve and bend, and travel in all directions, so left and right are a bit relative.

I explored the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid), and also the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado). Both were about what I expected. The Royal Palace was full of opulent rooms, frescoes on the ceiling, and chandeliers from which the 10-year-old me wanted to swing. The Prado was full of classicist paintings and sculpture, almost always of the religious variety. I think I've grown tired of religious artwork. It makes even politics seem interesting. I was, however, excited to learn that the Prado featured Rembrandt. His name was featured prominently on the map, and it appeared he had an entire large room dedicated to his work. It turns out, the Prado has only one painting on display by Rembrandt, "Judith at the banquet of Holofernes." If you look closely at the painting, you'll see a woman in the background holding a potato sack, which according to the information available at the museum, was intended to hold the head of Holfernes, who was to be beheaded later that night. Somebody, please warn Holofernes.

"Judith at the banquet of Holofernes," by Rembrandt.