Top 5: Harry

1. ‘Late Motiv’

What better way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture than going to a late night talk show!? ´Late Motiv´ is one of the most popular shows in Spain, and its host Andreu Buenafuente is now a household name. It´s true, there are quite a few cultural references, and the guests definitely don´t hold back on how fast they talk, but you´ll no doubt have a really fun evening whilst learning a lot about the Spanish sense of humor! To be on the show, all you have to do is apply through the show´s website, and if you´re lucky enough to get tickets, they´re completely free!

¿Qué mejor manera de sumergirse en la cultura española que asistir a un programa de entrevistas? ´Late Motiv´ es una de los programas más populares en España, cuyo presentador Andreu Buenafuente ha llegado a ser un personaje súper conocido. Es verdad que hay bastantes referencias culturales, y los entrevistados suelen hablar a toda velocidad, pero no hay duda de que lo pasarás bien ¡mientras aprendiendo mucho del humor español! Para asistir al programa, solo tienes que solicitar una plaza a través del sitio web del programa, y si consigues obtener entradas, ¡son gratis!

Late Motiv

2. Museo Sorolla

Before coming to Madrid, I didn´t know much about Joaquín Sorolla, nor had I seen many of his paintings, so I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the museum that is dedicated to his artwork (which is held in the beautiful house he used to live in!). Sorolla was largely known as an impressionist painter, and his works, I think, are very appealing and easy on the eye. Tickets are only €3, but if you´re a student, you can get in for free.

Antes de venir a Madrid, no conocía mucho de Joaquín Sorolla, ni tampoco había visto muchas de sus pinturas. Por lo tanto, me puse sorprendido cuando visité por primera vez el museo que le está dedicado (¡que se sitúa en su antigua casa bonita!). Sorolla era conocido principalmente como pintor impresionista, y sus obras, en mi opinión, son muy atrayentes y llamativas. Las entradas cuestan solo 3€, pero si eres estudiante, puedes entrar sin pagar.       

Sorolla Museum

3. La Catedral de Justo Gallego

This is perhaps Madrid´s gem that is still waiting to be discovered! In 1961, a monk named Justo Gallego was expelled from his monastery for contracting tuberculosis. Convinced that he was still called to serve God, he set about constructing his very own cathedral from scratch, without any architectural qualifications. All these years later, Justo hasn´t given up on his mission, and at the age of 95 he continues to get up early each morning to carry on building. The result of his efforts is this enormous edifice that, although looking very much unfinished, still retains an astonishing beauty, made even more impressive by that fact that Justo has done pretty much all of the work himself! To get to the cathedral, you can catch a short bus ride towards Mejorada del Campo, which is on the outskirts of Madrid.

¡A lo mejor esto es la joya de Madrid que queda sin descubrir! En 1961, el monje Justo Gallego fue expulsado de su monasterio por haber caído enfermo. Con la certeza de su vocación de servir a Dios, empañó la construcción desde cero de su propia catedral, sin ningunas calificaciones arquitectónicas. Después de todos estos años, Justo no ha abandonado su objetivo, y con 94 años sigue levantándose temprano cada mañana para continuar a construir. El resultado de sus esfuerzas es este edificio enorme que, aunque parece incompleto, aun retiene una belleza extraordinaria, una hazaña aún más impresionante si tenemos en cuenta que Justo ha hecho la mayoría del trabajo solo. Para llegar a la catedral, puedes coger un autobús de 30 minutos hacia Mejorada del Campo, que está en las afueras de Madrid.

Catedral de Justo Gallego

4. La Caja Mágica

If you´re as a big a tennis fan as I am then there are two events that you definitely can´t miss! The Mutua Madrid Open takes place every year in May, whilst for the foreseeable future the Davis Cup (´the world cup of tennis´) will be played in Madrid every November as well. These two tournaments are highly regarded fixtures on the tennis tour, thus attracting some of the biggest players from all around the world. What´s more, ´madrileños´ really know how to provide a great atmosphere (especially when a Spaniard is playing!) so you´re bound to enjoy yourself no matter what.

Si eres tan apasionado de tenis como yo, ¡hay dos eventos que no puedes perder! El Mutua Madrid Open tiene lugar cada año en mayo, mientras por ahora la Copa Davis (el mundial de tenis) se disputa en Madrid cada noviembre. Estos dos torneos son muy apreciados, así atraen algunos de los mejores jugadores de todo el mundo. Es más, los madrileños saben cómo proporcionar un ambiente electrizante (¡sobre todo cuando juegue un español!), por eso  sin duda lo vas a pasar bien.

Caja Mágica

5. MISKI RESTOBAR

This café/bar is one of my favourite places to chill and/or work in Madrid. They do awesome brunches, great coffee, all the while providing a really cozy setting just to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What´s better, as it opened only fairly recently, it doesn´t become as crowded as some other, more well-known establishments.

Este café/bar es uno de mis lugares favoritos para descansar y/o trabajar en Madrid. Hacen un ´brunch´ increíble, el café fenomenal, todo el tiempo proporcionando un ambiente acogedor para matar el tiempo lejos del ajetreo de la ciudad. Aún mejor, dada su apertura bastante reciente, no se hace tan concurrido como otros establecimientos más conocidos.

Miski Restobar

Museo del Prado: 5 must-see works

It´s always difficult to decide which attractions to visit when you´re travelling, especially in a city like Madrid, where there is so much to see. The Prado Museum is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in art, but with a collection of over 7000 paintings, it´s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help you find your way through this awe-inspiring art collection, we´ve prepared a shortlist of the most important pieces to see when you visit.

1.     Velázquez | Las Meninas

Despite years of study, this painting continues to intrigue amateurs and experts alike, who have been unable to determine the meaning of the scene. It is one of Velázquez’s largest works, and features a curious cast of characters including a princess, a nun, a dwarf, and even the artist himself.

2.     El Greco | Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest

This is arguably the best known of all of El Greco´s paintings, and one of the earliest of his works to be painted in Spain. The contrast between black and white draws attention to the nobleman’s delicate hand and fingers, while his dress emphasises his status as a gentleman.

3.     Goya | 3rd May 1808 in Madrid (The Executions)

This painting depicts the execution of working-class Spanish men by French soldiers, following the popular uprising of 2nd May 1808. It combines features of Romanticism and Impressionism, and is recognised as one of the first examples of Contemporary Art, setting a new precedent for war paintings. Picasso actually based his famous work, Guernica, on this piece, proving its enduring relevance to future generations.

4.     Rogier van der Weyden | The Descent from the Cross

Van der Weyden was a Northern Renaissance painter, and one of the most influential northern European artists of his time. He never signed his work, but this painting, which depicts Jesus being taken down from the cross, is the oldest piece which can be attributed to him with some certainty. The painting is renowned for the realism of the characters´ tears – all the more impressive given that it was painted at the beginning of the 15th century.

5.     Hieronymus Bosch | The Garden of Earthly Delights

It´s hard to believe that the weird and wonderful creatures and contraptions depicted in this piece were imagined over 500 years ago; although Bosch never dated his work, scholars have placed the piece between 1490 and 1510. Viewed from left to right, the triptych shows the progression of humanity from its creation to its eventual destruction. The piece has also inspired surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Hypnotic, perplexing or simply bizarre – you can decide for yourself, but you certainly won´t have seen anything like it before!

Top 5 Madrid: Valentina

Si tuviera que elegir mis lugares favoritos de Madrid, sin duda serían estos 5, aunque más que lugares son “experiencias”:

1. Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

La ermita de San Antonio de la Florida cerca del Manzanares, por sus maravillosos frescos de Goya y su tumba. Me relaja mucho sentarme en la ermita y quedarme allí a coValentinantemplar el arte en estado puro, además hay unos espejos en lugares tácticos para ver mejor los frescos y sacarse estupendas selfies. Y si a eso añades un buen pollo asado con ensalada en el histórico restaurante casa Mingo (justo al salir de la ermita) y un paseo por el parque Madrid Rio ya tienes una experiencia completa.

The beautiful church of San Antonio de la Florida with the tomb and frescos of Goya. It’s really amazing to contemplate the beautiful frescos of this church and then eat a very good chicken in the famous restaurant casa Mingo (close to the church). It’s also possible to visit the park of Madrid Rio. Frescos+chicken+park, an amazing afternoon!

Al primo posto la piccola chiesa di San Antonio de la Florida per i suoi meravigliosi affreschi di Goya. Siediti in una delle pache della chiesetta, Continue reading “Top 5 Madrid: Valentina”

Top 5 Madrid: Audrey

Audrey1. Templo de Debod y Parque del Oeste

En Madrid, tenemos un templo egipcio, cerca de Gran Vía y de Plaza de España: el Templo de Debod. Está ubicado en un parque muy bonito, el Parque del Oeste, que ofrece también un buen punto de vista del Palacio Real. ¡Un lugar para andar o disfrutar del día leyendo un buen libro a la sombra de los árboles!

Temple de Debod et Parque del Oeste
Il s’agit d’un temple de l’Egypte antique ouvert au public qui se trouve à Madrid, non loin de la grande rue commerçante, Gran Vía et de la Plaza de España. Il est situé dans un parc très sympathique, el Parque del Oeste, qui offre également une belle vue sur le Palais Royal et également sur une partie de la ville. Un très bon endroit pour se promener ou se détendre sur l’herbe accompagné d’un bon livre !

Temple of Debod
This is an Egyptian temple in the middle of el Parque del Oeste and really close to Gran Vía, the avenue in which you can find most of the shops and the famous Plaza de España. The park also offers a great view of the Royal Palace and it´s a great place to go for a walk or just chill on the grass reading a good book under the trees’ shade. So if you just want to enjoy Spanish weather just go there and relax.

2. Círculo de Bellas Artes, la Azotea

Cerca de la parada de metro Banco de España, en la Calle de Alcalá 42, en Continue reading “Top 5 Madrid: Audrey”

Salvador Dalí

dali

The Salvador Dalí exhibition has caused a storm this summer, generating huge profits for local restaurants and queues that stretch from the taquilla to Atocha station. I myself was lucky enough to attend with no queues and for free, with a friend who works at el Museo Reina Sofía, because I’m charming and in the know. This retrospective on the work of the great Dalí is in Madrid until the 2nd September. Together, Museo Reina Sofía and the Centre Georges Pompidou have organised a large exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí. The exhibition is conceived as a contribution to the reappraisal of Dalí as a thinker, a writer and the creator of a very particular vision of the world.
Continue reading “Salvador Dalí”