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Our last day in Madrid, and our last day to play tourist on this trip, dawned sunny and hot as is the custom in August. But Nella still didn't feel up to playing tourist, so Philip and I were on our own again. Our original plan had been to take another day trip to some nearby destination (as we had done to El Escorial on our first pass through Madrid). Specifically, we had been considering going up to Segovia, which has an impressive Roman aqueduct among other things. But we decided to stay in Madrid instead – there were still some must-sees in town that we hadn't visited this time around, and of course we wanted to stay local in case there was some service we could perform for Nella.

We started by heading over to the Plaza de Cibeles, named after the iconic Fountain of Cibeles in its center. This fountain depicts the Roman goddess Cybele, abiding in her lion-drawn chariot, and looked pretty much the same as it had two years earlier. The same went for the Metropolis Building, located a short distance to the west, at the junction of Gran Vía and Calle de Alcalá. But the Palacio de Cibeles, a large building on the southeast side of the plaza, looked much nicer, as it had been undergoing a restoration two years before, and had been covered in scaffolding.


Cybele Fountain
Cybele Fountain
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Palacio de Cibeles
Palacio de Cibeles
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Metropolis Building, detail

Metropolis Building, detail
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A short distance to the south, along Paseo del Prado, we found the Prado Museum, the main reason we'd come this way. Philip had never visited the Prado, and I was happy to go revisit some favorite artworks, and possibly discover some I'd overlooked before.

The Prado

The Prado
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Before going into the entrance at the north end of the building, we noticed the statue of the artist Francisco de Goya which is situated outside the building at this spot. The bronze statue was sculpted in 1902 by Mariano Benlliure, and stands atop a pedestal featuring sculpted renderings of some of Goya's works. Possibly Goya's most popular painting among the unwashed masses is his 1797 painting of the Nude Maja, and she has the most prominent position on the pedestal. Goya also painted a companion piece, called the Clothed Maja. The nude one is more popular.

Goya Statue
Goya Statue
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Goya Statue,
Goya Statue, "Nude Maja"
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The Nude Maja, Francisco de Goya (ca. 1797)
The Nude Maja, Francisco de Goya (ca. 1797)
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The Clothed Maja, Francisco de Goya (ca. 1797)
The Clothed Maja, Francisco de Goya (ca. 1797)
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Both Maja paintings are found within the Prado, and we went in to look at them and at the hundreds of other masterpieces hanging on the walls. The museum had the same rule regarding photography that they'd had two years earlier (i.e. don't), so if you'd like to see some of the paintings and additional Prado info, you might want to check out the Prado's website (or our previous Prado page, which is somewhat less comprehensive, but at least easier to navigate).

After getting worn out by the Prado, we headed back toward the hotel, passing by a couple of other Madrid landmarks on the way.


Bear with Madroño Tree, Puerta del Sol
Bear with Madroño Tree, Puerta del Sol
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Museo del Jamón
Museo del Jamón
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The Hotel Quatro is a short block away from the Plaza de Canalejas, which has five streets radiating from it. We couldn't help but notice some interesting architecture clustered around this plaza.

Edificio Meneses, Plaza de Canalejas
Edificio Meneses, Plaza de Canalejas
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Across Calle de Sevilla from Hotel
Across Calle de Sevilla from Hotel
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Building on Carrera de San Jerónimo

Building on Carrera de San Jerónimo
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On Google Maps, it appears that much of the block across Calle de Sevilla from our hotel has been gutted and is undergoing some major construction. The façades along this block are interesting, and hopefully at least some of them are being preserved.

We had an early flight to catch the following morning, so we began packing things so we would have less to do in the morning. Nella was feeling well enough to help, which was an encouraging sign. Philip and I eventually found dinner and brought back some undemanding food for Nella. Then we spent our last night in Europe for another year (or two, as it turned out).


Plaza de Canalejas After Dark

Plaza de Canalejas After Dark
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In the morning, Nella wasn't exactly energetic but was able to drag some light luggage onto the Metro train for the ride to the airport. We found some breakfast at the airport and boarded our plane back to the U.S. Our first flight stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Philip took the opportunity to find him some Bojangles.

Lake near Charlotte
Lake near Charlotte
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Philip with Bojangles Food
Philip with Bojangles Food
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The flight that took us the rest of the way to Southern California passed over Arizona, where we noticed a couple of interesting things from the plane. The first one was Arizona's Meteor Crater (also known as Barringer Crater), which is thought to have been created 50,000 years ago by a 160-foot meteorite that hit the ground at about 8 miles per second.

Meteor Crater, Arizona

Meteor Crater, Arizona
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The crater is about 4,000 feet across and 560 feet deep. If you find yourself in Middle of Nowhere, east-central Arizona, you might check it out. It's something you probably don't see every day.

We also noticed a pretty large area which seemed to be made of eroded red rock. It looked like a place someone should turn into a tourist attraction. It turns out someone thought of this before we did, and called it Sedona.


Clouds Over Arizona
Clouds Over Arizona
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Sedona Area
Sedona Area
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Eventually we managed to land at LAX without making a crater, and we returned home to resume our mundane lives. Until the next trip.

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