Night train to Paris

Travel by train is an education in the places in-between

From Madrid we took the Francisco de Goya service that runs overnight to Paris. Our last long journey for the trip and our second last day together. In the early afternoon out train pulled out of Charmantin and headed north across the rolling plains of the Meseta. As evening closed in we adjourned to the dining car, shades of the Orient Express to sit and watch and talk as the landscape of central Spain rolled by in the afternoon light. Paris in the morning…

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Morning train to Madrid

‘High Speed Trains are Cool!’, or three hours on RENFE’s AVE from Barcelona-Sants to Madrid. You wander into the station run your luggage through the detector and then straight onboard.

Then it’s a smooth fast ride on the rails all the way to Madrid, as you watch the climate and the landscape change, as the trip meter unwinds and the speedo clocks 300 kmph.

Side note. You’d think a country as big as Australia would ‘get’ high speed rail, but nope…

Anyway, once we get to Madrid, it’s the Metro again to my cousin Duncan’s place where we’re staying for the next couple of days. He promises flamenco…


Museo Picasso

Las Meninas, after Velázquez

And after Dali we came upon the Museo Picasso in the La Ribera district. Walking through the narrow mediaeval streets of the old town. Five baroque houses, built on the bones of roman villa’s and linked together into a single exhibition space. My favourite? Well you may have guessed from the above, his series of meditations (58 in all) on Las Meninas by Velasquez.

Las Meninas (Diego Velázquez)How often do you get to see the same scene through the very different eyes of two master painters, let alone from two totally different schools? As to why Picasso engaged upon this series so late in his career, no one really knows.

One day, maybe, they’ll exhibit these two differing works together, until then you’ll have to satisfy yourself with musing upon Picasso’s black and white works in the Museo Picasso…

Casa Batlló

Galina and the dragon Visiting with the architect of the non-euclidean

And a building such as this. Monet’s water lilies, a carnival expressed in the masked balconies, the confetti effect, the roof like a Harlequin’s hat, Saint George striking down the dragon, the sword, the skulls.  What lies within…

” Those who look for the Laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.” Antonio Gaudi

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