Madrid Winter mashup

On the balcony of the Royal Theater (Opera house).

As we get cosy during our second Madrid winter, we wanted to look back at some of the museums, visitors, and food experiences we saw during our first year in the big city.

The wild parrots here bob around in stark contrast to the frost in the grass.

The Royal Palace you see in the picture above was lit up for Spanish National Day, which is how they celebrate Columbus Day here. Some high-tech projection technology was involved to get the colors right on the actual architecture.

The Plaza Mayor also had a strange suspended art installation.

Though night began to fall earlier, the sunsets out our 5th-floor window seemed to become even prettier.

We worked hard to renew our residency here, but struck out as they lost the papers the first two times. We finally got our new cards in April and they expired May 31. Alas, here this is super común.

Drinks at 11am to wallow in our bureaucratic sorrows.


We visited several fun museums and art exhibitions, starting with the National Archaeological Museum.


Dama de Elche, discovered buried in a field near the city in Alicante of the same name.
Who knew the famous Dama de Elche was hollow inside?

There were some lovely old mosaics.

But maybe the coolest thing was a topographical map of Madrid from 1769 that shows our street hasn’t changed one bit!

We found a new museum – Sala Alcalá 31 – and visited the exhibition Fluctuaciones by Daniel Canogar, exploring technology in our lives.

Projections onto compact discs.

Reflections on the opposite wall.

We also both went for the first time to Madrid’s third most famous art museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Hey, a Picasso!
Tom Wesselmann, Nude No. 1
Grandma Esther chairs with some new upholstery?
Otto Müller, Two Female Nudes in a Landscape

We also made a return visit to the Reina Sofía for some contemporary art.

Figura en una finestra – Dalí.

Doer was able to find a time when the mini-museum inside our local subway station, Ópera, was open to visitors. The Museo Caños del Peral highlights old aqueducts that used to run through the city and were rediscovered during the station’s excavation.

But far and away Doer’s favorite exhibition was at Matadero Madrid, an old slaughterhouse converted into a multiuse space. In Los Afijos, artist Juan López had taken one of the old rooms and added on additional beams that resembled diacritical marks.

We actually found ourselves walking through this exhibition twice, since we were visiting other things at the Matadero space.

And both times, one of us was not impressed, proving that art is really in the eye of the beholder.

In another area of the Matadero, there was an exhibition of graphic design. We really liked this one, being dog people and all.


And when we found out they do tours of the kitchen at the Royal Palace, we were all in! Based on the design of great French kitchens and initially constructed in the 18th century, this is one of the best-preserved kitchens in all the royal palaces of Europe.

Doer was in heaven.
Copper molds.

Labels for jams and preserves.

“Kitchen of the State”
Entrance to the king’s household kitchen.
Old compressor for…
This icebox… Which was converted to no longer use ice.
Cool old phone, probably used to take orders from the royal court.
Dreamer wants to churn some butter.

Stove bearing the royal coat of arms.
Doer still recognizes a turbotiére when he sees it. That’s a diamond-shaped pan specifically made for cooking a turbot (fish).

Coal storage, with delivery from above.
Charcoal oven, using the fuel above.
Special rotisserie for cooking roast beef, installed by Alfonso XII in 1877 because “he was quite fond of roast beef.”
Spits for said rotisserie.
Labels for the bins in the wine cellar.

Dreamer went to CaixaForum to check out exhibits of Doer Warhol and Giorgio de Chirico.

Warhol, obvs.
Giorgio de Chirico.


And speaking of kitchens, boy was there some good food. We started with a late Thanksgiving meal in our apartment for our Spanish friends.

Young lady was quite fond of this starch-laden meal.

Our good friends here later returned the favor not just by inviting us to Christmas, but also to an awesome meal in Getafe.

Dreamer really enjoyed her post-supper chupito of liqueur.

Then there were the irresistible new fast food establishments that opened near our place.

Tim Horton’s, now all over Madrid.
Carl’s Jr. Still not doing so hot.

We tried many other restaurants, too.

Artful pizza in Lavapies.
Szechuan hot pot.
Tiki, because of course do you even know us?

And great food cooked at home.

Brownies: the aftermath.
Doer mastered the art of making a Spanish tortilla de patatas, a kind of thick potato omelette, or frittata if you’re feeling Italian.
We found Huy Fong sriracha, from California. It seriously tastes like America!

Not to mention we bought and finished our third ham.

What’s daddy got in the carrito?
Why, a fresh acorn-fed ham, of course!


Friends were nice enough to come see us, too. Some good ones from Vila-Real visited us twice last winter.

One of us is wearing sunglasses.

We took advantage of their visit to see our first opera production and to tour inside the royal theater.

The king’s box.
Setpieces for Aida.

She has some grace.

Private bathroom inside the king’s box.

Pianoforte, Collard & Collard, London, c. 1850.

On a whim, we also went to see a broadway-style performance of The Addams Family with our guests, which was super awesome in Spanish.

Fun fact: almost all the character names are the same in Spanish. For example, Wednesday is Miércoles Addams, which is also what that day of the week is called in Spanish. Unsurprisingly, Gómez Addams is Gómez Addams.

On an earlier visit before Christmas, we all went to the circus. The pre-show entertainment was fab.

Doer says he’s going to build one of these here pipe organs made out of PVC drainage pipe.

That visit also included a traveling Harry Potter exhibition.

Broom in Callao.

When another friend came from Vila-Real, we stumbled upon a Chinese New Year event in Plaza de España.

One visitor traveled much further – Doer’s friend Daniel, who came to visit from Australia, where he is currently living.

Plaza Mayor

And what does someone living in Australia bring as a souvenir gift?

He just smiled and made me a Vegemite sandwich. Another fun fact: this was the last time said tube of Vegemite was used. There is still plenty to go around if you’d like to come try. It’s just that good.

And, last but not least, it snowed! For like five minutes.

Just look at all that snow on the roadway. Top story during Doer’s morning workout.

After our friends from Vila-Real left the second time, we realized it was Palm Sunday and we were standing outside La Almudaina cathedral.

We returned to our place and there was no shortage of parade action there, either.


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