One Sinister Meadow

Madrid Travel Blog

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Srta. Lychuk was my high school Spanish teacher.  She took it upon herself to educate the youths of Taylor, Michigan and give them choices.  Far too many of us got "stuck" due to low incomes, little desire to graduate or just plain ignorance.  Miss Lychuk is in every way what I hope to be for some child...Inspiration.  With the help of my father we scraped together the $1,800 for me to go to Spain for ten days. 

Spain as a whole was remarkable.  The people, the colors, the life beyond 9:00PM.  I was astounded to find children with their parents living it up in Sevilla after the sun had set hours before.  We landed in Madrid and made our way south for most of it traveling through little towns like Toledo, Cordoba and Malaga.  Even got to set foot on the African continent for lunch in Tangier for my first taste of couscous!  There were many firsts on this trip: a plane ride...anywhere, train ride (along the eastern coast to Barcelona), seeing two new continents: Europe & Africa (hey, I ate there and rode a camel...kinda, so I'm claiming it!).  

It was here that I also realized there are certain qualities you should look for in a traveling companion.  The biggest being: How "adventurous" are your companions when it comes to eating?  I'm not saying they need to eat things that require a triple-dog-dare or anything, just that they are willing to try the local fare and find enjoyment in the novelty even if it happens to be the only time they will consume that dish.  It was disheartening to travel so far only to eat Burger King by the second night.  

While in Madrid, we got the chance to go to (another first) a little art museum which translates (ironically, in my opinion) to The Meadow.  I've traveled many places since and have found my way into their art museums due in part to my memories of the Prado, the other part, well I was an art major for a bit there so it helps to like the craft you hope to one day pedal.  Anyway, the tour guide was a middle-aged woman who definitely knew her paintings.  She brought to life the painting Las Meninas for our high school group.  As she explained the significance of the mirror and what it reflected I fell in love with Velazquez's style and attention to detail.  I was still thinking about the power behind the paint as we went downstairs.  

That was the year of the Goya exhibition and its expansion.  The walls were filled images of the grotesque and vulgar.  I found myself in the same predicament of the D.I.A.: crying to myself.  Why would anyone do this to another??  Why am I so far removed from these vile actions that I cannot take them in without convulsively reacting first?  It wasn't until I was taking an art history class in college that I read about The Third of May, 1808.  Goya has an amazing command of the canvas.  From his realism of the royal family of Charles IV to his later "black-paintings", Goya strikes a chord with most audiences.  I was still too raw from the idea of how Velazquez saw us as equals when I took in Goya's jarring take on humanity.  Again, I had to shake my keyed up emotions and trade them for those "normal" ones and walked away with a sense of awe for art and its ability to stir our cognizance.

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photo by: vulindlela