Guillermo invited me to lunch with his former dissertation adviser, and colleagues from Mexico and Italy.
After that, while walking, we came across this great place . . .
We stopped in for more conversation
We walked by the Opera House
The tower of this church dates to the 14th century.
The Center has a striking exhibition of drawings and paintings from the 20th century.
This Museum may be more Grand Store for Ham.
Your choice of ham.
Or you can get a ham sandwich
Bears used to live outside of Madrid. The madroño tree produces a berry used in a liqueur. This has been a symbol of Madrid for centuries.
The hero of the Puerta del Sol
This marker on the Governor’s office notes that people assembled here in 1808 to oppose the French occupation.
We have our 9/11; Spain has its 4/11, when it suffered a major terrorist attack, noted here.
People being interrogated by Franco’s police sometimes died trying “to escape by jumping” from windows. of the Governor’s House.
And then there are the eccentricities to attract tourists in the Puerta del Sol
And then I came back to watch the live feed of President Trump’s inauguration. Carnage is not the the word that I would use to describe contemporary America and being first is not a goal I would propose.
On my second day, I Walked through some of a huge park to the Murillo Cafe and then to the Prado Museum.
On my walk this morning, I passed a couple ham shops. I’m starting to appreciate the emphasis on ham.
I have not yet tried Jamón ibérico, or ham from pigs that were fed only acorns. At $140 a kilo or so, I am working my way up to that delicacy.
But I have already eaten more ham that I have before.
I have no choice, it keeps calling my name.
Finally escaping the clutches of ham, I got to the Retiro. In the 1561, King Philip II moved the Spanish court to Madrid. He had the Retiro Park designed by his architect. The gardens were extended in the 1620s under Philip IV for the Court’s recreational use. They were opened to the public in 1767 and became the property of the municipality in 1868.
I don’t know the name of this church that I passed while walking through the Retiro.
One of the cool gates to the park.
The Puerta de Alcalá (Citadel Gate) is a monument in the Plaza de la Independencia. It was a gate of the former walls of Philip IV. Around 1774, King Charles III had it built.
Gate to the Paseo de la Argentina in the Retiro.
Paseo de la Argentina.
Gundemar was a Visigothic King of Hispania, Septimania and Galicia from 610–612. Spain has many layers; one of them is the Visigoth layer after the Roman period.
Ferdinand IV of Castile was a king of Castile (1295–1312) and León and Galicia (1301–1312) – before there was a Spain.
There is keen interest and knowledge about American culture and politics.
I liked these gates.
I passed the San Jerónimo el Real (St. Jerome the Royal) Roman Catholic church from the early 16th-century on my way to lunch with Florentino, the head of the department where I will be teaching, and Guillermo, who taught for us at Villanova University this past fall.
After lunch, I went to the Prado, where I got through the first 12 rooms. No photographs are allowed, so these images are from their website. https://www.museodelprado.es/
This one is the Altar Piece of Archbishop Sancho de Rojas, by Juan Rodríguez de Toledo
The Holy Trinity, El Greco
The Annunciation, El Greco
The Adoration of the Shepherds, El Greco
The Surrender of Breda; Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez. The glories of defeating the Dutch.
The Recapture of Bahía de Todos los Santos; Fray Juan Bautista Maíno. Another military victory.
The crucified Christ; Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez.
Las Meninas, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez Velázquez is the painter to the left. The royal couple whom he is painting are reflected in the mirror at the back of the room. The five year old royal daughter is being attended to. Velázquez is wearing the insignia on his chest of a prestigious group (Order of Santiago) to which he was appointed two years after the painting was completed. Maybe the king himself added this to the painting.
My first day after arriving in Madrid was mostly for errands; signing our apartment contract, getting a SIM card, learning the subway system a bit, etc. But still, there was enough time to take a quick walk through a bit of Madrid, using just my IPhone to snap a few pictures.
King Charles III (1716 – 1788) is honored in the Plaza del Sol. The picture I took of him is the typical shot of an armored fellow on horseback. It was too dark to upload.
Some more eccentric statues are in the Plaza too.
A couple more critters at the Plaza. The head of the King’s horse is off to the left side. I’ll have to do justice to the King himself later.
The Plaza Major’s cobblestone square is from the 17th century. It has seen bullfights and events from the Inquisition. Today, I only saw quite a few people having drinks and tapas.
King Philip III is barely visible here on horseback. Chinese culture (perhaps the New Year?) was being celebrated in the white tent.
I need to learn what this plaza is, beyond being charming.
This is a memorial to the 28 people killed at an assassination attempt in 1906. The anarchist had hoped to kill King Alfonso and his bride on their wedding day, but failed in that.
Mercado de San Miguel had lots of exotic foods. I did not order this one.
These were rather more tempting.
The Almuneda Cathedral opened only in 1993.
Go to Day 2
I got to be in Spain for the spring of 2017, where I taught at Francisco de Vitoria University. I lived in Madrid.
One thing that makes Francisco de Vitoria impressive was his response to indigenous Americans in the Spanish Empire. A bit of a fanciful comparison might be thinking about how we would respond if we actually did discover new life forms on a planet in another solar system. No one was expecting new continents between Europe and Asia, much less any new types of cultures. Was this Asia or new land? Were they people? If so, did they have souls or rights? His book on this remains worth reading.
Then, in June I had the chance to visit South Korea at the invitation of the Korean Big History Academy.