Art-y: The Strongest Span(ish) in the World

The twenty-eighth installment of my abandoned Granadino memoir, Flawed Abroad: Useless editorializing from an ignorant, close-minded American on his semester overseas.

Martes, 1 Marzo ’05, 22.37 (Tuesday, March 1, 2005, 10:37 pm)

Eureka's -- uhh, I mean, Cinderella's -- castle

Having previously left you with a brief account of my general ennui toward cultural-type things, I regret to say that this psychological trend has continued unabated, stonewalling my interest in every stone wall we visit, regardless of how mind-boggling their construction must have been and how weighty and fraught their history must be.

In addition to the aforementioned Catedral of Granada, the Escorial in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and the Palacio Real in Madrid, other wicked big[1] things we’ve patronized recently include the Catedral Vieja and Nueva in Salamanca, the acueducto romano and alcazar of Segovia (the latter of which — seen upper right — was actually one of the inspirations for Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom), and various strongholds in Toledo. If it had been ten degrees warmer and we’d had the whole day to really explore and appreciate each of these sites, maybe I would have gotten something more out of the entire trip than the replica El Cid Campeador rapier I purchased in Toledo. As it was, I could merely marvel at how wicked big each building was and how wicked glad I was that I didn’t have to build any of them (especially considering that I have trouble even following the instructions on Lego kits meant for ages five and up).


Two experiences that I did get a little more out of (probably because they took place in heated buildings) were our excursions to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums. In these vast halls, I was able to study for the first time original paintings by the likes of Diego Velasquez, Francisco Goya, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and various Ninja Turtles. Though not an art enthusiast per se, even a dunder-headed ninny muffin like myself could appreciate the sheer, unadulterated coolness of seeing such works first hand.  Until that day, they’d never been anything more to me than boring thumbnails in a book, but after soaking in all 300 square feet of Guernica like a slice of Angel food cake in a bowl of strawberry syrup, said indifference has run screaming from my brain like a baby with a boo-boo. In fact, even someone with my extensive vocabulary would be hard-pressed to accurately convey the visceral reaction provoked by Guernica and, to a lesser extent, its wall-wedged brethren, so I gratefully resort to cliché instead: If you haven’t seen them, no words will suffice, and if you have, none are necessary.

Try putting your nose right up against the screen. If that doesn't cut it, try flying to Madrid. The former's cheaper, but, well....

______________________
[1] I’m tired of coming up with new ways to describe all the enormous buildings we’ve visited this month, so I’m just gonna start referring to them all as “wicked big” from now on. Hope that tickles your fancy.

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