Archive for May 24th, 2009

24 May 2009

Opening Times

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No se permiten ver la Guernica

In Spain, gazetted opening times mean zip. Museums have been known to be closed when the sign on the door clearly says “Abierto” and whole Mosques (think the Mesquita at Cordoba back in January) have been closed when they should be open – seems everyone is either at a fiesta or on siesta.

And just this week the Sofia Reina has decided to be NOT OPEN when we have purposely made the trip up to Madrid, with Nell venturing all the way from Australia, specifically to see the Guernica. Picasso would be turning in his cube-shaped grave.

Being little and made of wool is not without its advantages. I am hatching a cunning plan, don’t tell a soul, to enter the Sofia Reina undetected – bypassing the sophisticated laser alarms and tricking the heat detectors (Mission Impossible style) – and filch the master work outta there.

Psst: Nell, keep an eye out for a large parcel in your letterbox sometime soon.

24 May 2009

Watch Out

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Gill and John in the Alhambra gardens

Time stands still for no man, or so “they” say. Clearly, “they” have not been to Spain, where time moves in a non-linear fashion; stopping and starting, huffing a little, then slowing to a snail’s pace, pausing for a short siesta, before rushing ahead with all the energy of a hurricane. With that in mind, John, who is punctual at the worst of times, has been encouraged to toss his trusty timepiece aside and go with the flow – and he has taken to it like a duck to water.

John and Nell arrived bright and chirpy after several days in “let’s not talk about the weather” London with Jeanne; a passing “hola” to Paul on his way back to Oz; and promptly, or should that be lazily, settled into Spanish life.

The mornings start off slow. There is time to admire the roses and watch the cherries ripening while listening to the sounds of distant dogs barking and birds chirping; all the while amid the omnipresent clamour of church bells, pealing on the hour, during the hour and whenever they bloody well feel like it. And before you know it you are thinking about lunch and a cerveza … and the pattern continues; a short stroll, a siesta and afternoon tea is soon the point of focus.

Cordoba Patio – driving me potty

We caught the bus to Cordoba for a couple of days to view all the spectacular patios, the rarely open Mesquita and do more of the same…. watching, listening, sleeping and eating. All this touristy stuff is dreadfully tiring and not for the faint-hearted.

Nell and John – time out in Cordoba

From Cordoba we jumped on a 300km/h train bound for Madrid (eat that Perth-Mandurah express) for more art, culture and tasty food. A 2.00am, or thereabouts, rendezvous with Paul was arranged. Fresh, more like “dopey-eyed”, from a short 35 hour hop – door to door – he arrived, with bags under his arms and eyes, and promptly fell asleep.

That last day, with all of us on deck, was spent viewing (or f&*^%g trying to view – see above post) some of the world’s great masterpieces. Gill, Paul and I hot-footed to the excellent Thyssen-Bornemisza Gallery while Nell and John made for the Sofia Reina to see the Guernica. In the evening we found a nice Argentinean steakhouse and over a bottle of red, tucked into delicious thick steaks and compared notes on Spain.

We parted in a crowded Madrid street. While Paul and Gill, Nell and John were hugging and saying their goodbyes, I couldn’t help but noticing the tan on John’s wrist, where his watch once was.