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Madrid / Spain

Museum Tour and Bar Tour


Madrid is a metropolis with a population of 3.26 million which is located on a plateau known as Meseta at an altitude of 655 meters and has a continental climate with extreme variance in temperatures between summer and winter and between day and night. The latitude is about the same as the city of Hachinohe in Aomori prefecture, and although it is west of the prime meridian, Madrid is on Eastern European time, so sunrise and sunset are late, and one can enjoy daylight until after ten at night during the summer.

When we think of Spain, we think of bullfighting, flamenco, and a soccer team that is a leading contender for the World Cup title at the championship in South Africa, but Madrid is one the preeminent cities of the world in light of its numerous museums.

The Prado Museum Known as one of the top three museums in the world, centered on the Spanish Royal Collection. The meticulously composed perspective shown in the masterpiece of Diego Velazquez—Las Meninas—is truly breathtaking.

Picasso’s Guernica is on display at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (MNCARS)—which was named after the current Queen of Spain, Queen Sofia. Painted for the Paris World Exposition in 1937, Guernica was kept at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York until 1981, when it was returned to Spain in accordance Picasso’s wishes, as stated in his will. This large piece—measuring 3.5 meters high and 8 meters wide—has a power that overwhelms the viewer.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum features the collection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon, which comprises such a broad range and such excellent quality that it is known as one of the finest in Europe. In his Harlequin with Mirror, one can see an aspect of Picasso other than his cubism.

There are few cities which boast such an array of museums all within walking distance. It would be nearly impossible to take in all of the grandeur in a single day, but I heartily recommend that you enjoy a tour of these museums.

The thing that surprises many visitors in Spain is the dinner hour—restaurants do not open until nine at night. And this is when bars flourish—from morning coffee, to lunch, to tea time, to drinks on into the night, Spaniards cherish their bars at all hours, and there are a range of bars featuring local specialties as well. From the late afternoon on, when you get tired during your museum tour, you can segue to a bar tour, have a drink at one of the array of bars, and then move right on and enjoy the next one.

After your bar tour, it’s time to enjoy flamenco. Many of the flamenco shows start at around ten-thirty, and the night is still young in Madrid. Who knows, you might just encounter a beautiful brunette bailora (female flamenco dancer) like Penelope Cruz!

Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.61 (January, 2011)

  • Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS)
  • Cibeles (Roman goddess of nature) Fountain
  • Statues of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza in the Palaza de Espana
  • The lively scene at a bar filled with customers at the dinner hour

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