Vacation in Madrid: Day 2

See Madrid Day 1 here!

On my second day in Madrid, I decided to be a bit more artsy. Madrid is home to several amazing art museums. Not least among them are the
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Prado National Museum.

Simply put, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has everything. You can find art from the 13th century all the way up to the late 20th century. The museum displays a large variety of styles, including Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, and so on. You’ll find works by many of your favorites, such as Picasso, Van Gogh, and many others. So basically you’re guaranteed to find something you like.

The Prado National Museum is undoubtedly one of the greatest art museums in the world. Think of it like the Spanish version of the Louvre. Based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, the Prado’s collection of artwork is massive. But the museum is especially famous for its works by Velasquez, Goya and El Greco. Goya’s Black Paintings are a favorite of mine for the dark and ominous emotions they evoke. If you come to Madrid, the Prado is a must. Just try to get there early because the museum gets crowded quick.

After my visit to the museums, I took a walk in Retiro Park. The park is enormous. You can quite literally get lost in there. But at least you’ll see many beautiful sights along the way. There’s Statue Walk with a series of statues of Spanish kings, a rose garden, the Fountain of the Fallen Angel, and the aptly named Crystal Palace. And in between each attraction are verdant bushes and flowering trees. It’s the perfect place to relax.

To wrap up my evening, I went to Restaurante Botin. Founded in 1725, the Botin is known as the oldest restaurant in the world. No other restaurant can claim that history. At the restaurant, they serve classic Spanish meals that are simple, but effective. They also have a small band that sings and plays traditional Spanish music to set the mood for young couples on their dates. Although some might find that gimmicky, I thought Botin had a cozy, romantic feel that anyone could enjoy.

I started my meal with gazpacho, a thick, creamy soup served cold. You have the option to add toppings of your choosing. Personally, I added diced tomatoes and peppers. It adds a little freshness and a touch of spice. Yet, even without toppings, the soup is a delight.

Next I had the restaurant’s signature dish: roast, suckling pig. The skin was crisp and salty, the meat tender and juicy. Fattening? Yes. Delicious? Hell yes. When a restaurant serves the same recipe for 300 years, don’t question it. It’s good.

Finally, I ended my meal with caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce. Sure, it’s not the fanciest dish in the world. But like I said, the food at Botin is simple, but effective. You don’t need complex, pretentious dishes to have a good time. Just go to Botin. You won’t regret it.

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