Do you know where this painting hangs?

"Guernica" from Picasso in 1937
From Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Website

Or this one by Dali?

They both are part of a collection of art at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain.

We're just back from two weeks traveling around Spain. We went with a group of people from the U.S. and Canada who booked the tour with Go Ahead Tours. This was our 6th Go Ahead organized tour and we will definitely continue to travel with them.

We left Vermont and drove to JFK to get our direct flight to Madrid. Travel was uneventful, if a little boring-six hour flight.

When we arrived at our hotel Hotel NH Zurbano Madrid. Our request for early check in (we arrived at 9 a.m. from the airport) was honored and we quickly went to our room for a nap. After waking we showered and went for a walk around the neighborhood.

I know a little Spanish and with the many phone apps available we easily got the lay of the land.

2000 feet above sea level with 3 million people (6 million if you count greater Madrid). In 1561 Phillip II moved the capital of Spain from Toledo to Madrid

After a light lunch in the hotel's restaurant (Sushi in Spain!) we unpacked a bit then met our fellow travelers and guide, Alex, for a welcome cocktail before heading to dinner.

Dinner was at  Mesón Del Cid Restaurant. It was delicious. 

On Monday, our first full day in Spain, we get a tour of Madrid. We visit the Royal Palace, Plaza de España, pass by Plaza del Sol and end up at The Prado.

They do not allow photography inside the museum and security was really tight because the museum was celebrating 200 years the following day.

Their collection was stunning. El Greco, Velazquez and Goya. The highlight is Velazquez's "Las Meninas" (Maids of Honor) a painting that focuses on Princess Margarita rather than the artist's patrons (the King and Queen-seen only in a small mirror). The painting gives a haunting 3D effect.
They have Murillo's "The Immaculate Conception and a collection of Titian's court paintings. They have Reuben's "Las tres Gracias" (The Three Graces) and so much more.

And our local guide Frederico and his fan will be something we'll remember for some time.

After the group tour ended, we were free to explore the area on our own. We chose to do lunch  at Canas y Tapas to fuel us on our quest to see Picasso's "Guernica" from Picasso.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is much smaller than The Prado but their collection of Picasso, Dali, Miro and Gris was very impressive. I never realized how much I enjoyed modernism, cubism and surrealism.
Guernica is the masterpiece here and there is so much going on in this mural. It was painted by Picasso in 1937. The Spanish Civil War occured 1936-1939. Franco won and ruled for the next 36 years. During the war the painting was store at the New York City Museum of Modern Art and was returned to Spain in 1975 when Franco died.

The painting depicts a Basque market town that was bombed by Hitler's Air Force.
  • A woman howls at the sky
  • a man falls from a horse and dies
  • a wounded woman drags herself through the street
  • a bull-the symbol of Spain
  • a woman and a dead baby (a modern "mother and child" pieta)
  • a woman looking out
  • light shining from above
See if you can locate these in the photo above.

After all the walking and museum shuffling, we needed a snack. We kept hearing about churros and chocolate and had to check them out. 
The Buñolería-churrería de San Ginés opened in 1894 in the passage of the same name. His fame began when people at the exit of the theater used to drink chocolate with churros. The Chocolate Shop is mentioned in the work "Lights of Bohemia" by Valle Inclán.
It was like dipping a doughnut into hot chocolate pudding.

Next we needed a beer. We stopped off at Stuyck and Co.

I tired the brown ale and Jay had the Imperial stout.

We wandered back to the hotel, after stopping at a small local market and had a carpet picnic of cheese, bread and jamon (dried raw pork ham).

Our day starts fairly early for our trip to Toledo so it's off to bed for us.

More photos from our adventure:

Highlights of our Trip

Nancy Nutile-McMenemy is an Upper Valley freelance photographer and writer who loves to attend concerts and local events in and around Weathersfield and the Upper Valley.

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