We also visited the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca. It was built in the 13th century, was converted to a Christian church in the 15th century, and is now owned by the Catholic church. Except for some Moorish style arches and columns the inside is pretty empty and there are virtually no signs that it used to be a synagogue.
|Outside the entrance before it opened|
Sad to say goodbye to Toledo, we packed up the car and started the short drive to Madrid. Madrid is the capital of Spain, its largest city, and the third largest city in Europe. The interesting thing about Madrid is that there's not one specific thing that people flock here to see or one specific thing that it's famous for, like other large cities in Europe or around the world. That's not to say there aren't things to see or do here... Madrid is well known for its art museums, nightlife, parks, and plethora of first-class restaurants and tapas bars, which we took full advantage of!
We first went to Madrid's most famous art museum, the Prado Museum, which has one of the largest art collections in the world featuring artists such as Velasquez, Goya, Rembrandt, El Greco, Picasso, and many others. There were so many rooms and art pieces on display that it was a little overwhelming... but in a good way. The museum is elegantly designed and the pieces we viewed were very interesting, and even controversial at times. We spent a long time admiring all of the art here. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside.
|A church right outside the Prado.|
We also went to the Reina Sofia Museum, which is a modern art museum. Our main goal here was to see Picasso's painting "Guernica", and to see other well known (and not so well known) paintings by the artist and other artists like Dali. The museum was... interesting. Like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, some of the modern art pieces left us questioning the sanity of some of the buyers and admirers of the pieces. The plain red and blue paintings just do not make sense to us!
|The outside of the museum|
|A cool Dali painting|
In between our time at the two museums we walked through Retiro Park, which provided us with shaded areas to sit and enjoy the scenery. The park was full of joggers, bikers, families picnicking, and couples reading on blankets. It was very similar to Central Park in New York.
Before aperitifs and dinner, we walked to the Royal Palace of Madrid. The lit up building was beautiful against the dark sky and we wished we had time to go inside. Instead, we decided to sit outside and share a bottle of wine for our last night in Spain. Dinner was fantastic and was one of our best meals throughout the whole trip.
The next day we packed up the car for the last time and headed to the airport. I guess all good things must come to end, but do they really have to? In our ten days in Spain we didn't have one bad or even average meal. The food was excellent and with the amount of variety and flavors I think it just might be a new favorite cuisine of ours. We saw nine unique and incredible cities filled with history, art, and charm, and drove around a van that was way too big for most of them. The best part about the trip though was that we got to spend it with two very important people in our lives whom we don't see very often, Jon's parents. Thanks for a fantastic trip Lori and Joe!