I know I am a few days behind, but now that I am in Madrid it will probably be a few days between posts. Sunday I brought the train from Santiago to Madrid. The ride was about 6 hours. I am really glad I don’t have to take my big suitcase on the train anymore. Then Monday I spent the day acclimating to my apartment. I unpacked my clothes and went grocery shopping. It felt good to cook my first meal in over two week, even if it was only an egg sandwich. Today I got back to the learning. I went to the Prado Museum. This museum house classical art from Italy, Germany, Spain, and other countries. The museum opened in 1819, then known as the Royal Museum of Paintings. King Ferdinand VII wanted to open it to create public access to art, like the Louvre did 30 years before. The focus of most visitors now are the collections of Velazquez and Goya, Spain’s most famous classical painters. Diego Velazquez was the court painter for Phillip IV. One of his most well known works is called Las Meninas. This gained recognition due to his interesting perspective. Rather than make the king and queen the focus of the painting, he portrayed them in a mirror in the background of the painting, focusing instead on the princess and her ladies in waiting. He even portrayed himself in the portrait. The other painter Goya, was also known for his work with the court. He painted for Charles IV and his family. However the paintings he finished towards the end of his life are far more interesting. They are referred to as the Black Paintings. This is due mainly to his use of dark colors but also to the darkness of the subjects of the paintings; death, terror, ignorance. It is always interesting to compare these to his earlier works. After I left the museum I wondered the Royal Botanic Gardens. There wasn’t much left in bloom, but I did enjoy the quiet walk around the park. Tomorrow the zoo. Happy 4th of July everyone!