The Madrid-Barcelona program got off to a running start as soon as our plane touched down in the early hours of July 7. After dropping our bags at the hotel in Madrid we strolled over to La Plaza de España to familiarize ourselves with the neighborhood. There we were greeted by a towering monument to Miguel de Cervantes and his beloved characters, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Having recharged with a delicious lunch in La Plaza Mayor, we ventured over to the Palacio Real de Madrid to get an inside look at the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Our second day in Madrid was a journey through art history as we toured the Museo Nacional Del Prado, the Thyseen Museum, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. The Prado is the main national Spanish art museum and is known for its collection of the works of Goya and Velazquez, among others. After taking in art dating back to the 12th century in the Prado, we went for a more modern approach in the Thyssen as we toured the Pop Art exhibit. This installment featured pop art from the 1950s to the 1970s and gave everyone an idea of the many different forms art can take in our lives. Our final stop of the day was the 20th century art exhibit at the Reina Sofia. This exhibit holds the work of the famous Catalan artist Joan Miro and other art born out of the period of the Spanish Civil War, including Picasso’s famous piece, Guernica. The opportunity to see these pieces of art in their native country is something we will never forget.
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Arrival in Spain