Saturday, 23 February 2013

Prado Museum

During my stay in Madrid I could not have of course missed the Prado museum. It is the best collection of Spanish art in the world. The building itself is very interesting. It dates back to early nineteen century.

Next to the entry you have surely noticed the church San Jeronimo el Real. It used to be the royal chapel for years, since as you rememeber the cathedral Almuneda was only completed in late twentieth century.


It has been originally built in the gothic style in the sixteen century. It was destroyed during Napoleon wars and then rebuilt in the same style.

Here is the entrance to the museum.

Unfortunately, as in most museums, it is not allowed to take pictures inside. So you will have to visit it yourself. What I recommend to you is that you take the audioguide ...

... and the plan.

They will guide you to my favourite pieces (you can also buy these nice postcards in the online shop). First the Mona Lisa. Yes, yes, Mona Lisa is in Louvre. This is just a copy but first it was painted more or less in the same time and second I think her smile is at least as nice of the smile of the other one.

On the other hand it is not as nice as the smile of Amalia de Llano y Dotres, Countess of Vilches. This is for sure one of the most beautiful portraits I have ever seen.

Finally, you cannot miss the Majas. Everybody knows that Goya was a skilled painter. But looking at those two together it is impossible not to have a special smile. He has painted a beautiful naked woman (all those under age close your eyes!) ....

... and when they told him it is unacceptable, well, he simply draw her again, dressed.

These two paintings hang on the same wall, next to each other. Like a riddle "find 10 differences" at the last page of a newspapaer. Amazing, simply amazing.

* * *

On my way back home, I saw a strange thing at the Warsaw airport - a cage for humans! I wonder who has put them there?

Saturday, 16 February 2013


I am really fed up with this winter. Therefore I have decided to go to Madrid and seek a bit of sun.

On the list of the biggest tourist attractions of Madrid I found "Plaza de Toros de las Ventas". Indeed, this is a monumental building.

It is big and round shaped - not so easy to show it on the pictures.

Unfortunately, only after coming there I realised what is the purpose of this place. This is a bullring so in other words the place where people kill bulls for fun. They even build statues to commemorate their most skilled matadors. Did you know that in Spanish "matar" means "to kill"? I really cannot approve such things! Brothers bulls, we horses are with you with all our hearts.

To calm my nerves I moved to the city center to see the Almuneda Cathedral. It seems very old but in fact it was only completed in 1993.

The porch of the Cathedral ....

... faces the Royal Palace of Madrid. Actually, the Royal Family does not live here, they only use it for official ceremonies.

When you walk to the other side of the palace you will realise that it is actually located on a hill.

Below the palace you will see the Sabatini Gardens. Unfortunately even in Spain it is not warm enough now for the flowers to bloom so the garden cannot show all its beauty now. Again, the garden seems to date back to the eighteenth century while in fact it was only completed in 1970s.

I moved down the lane and passed by the Spanish Senate building. In fact, the Spanish king is not really ruling the country, Spain is a parliamentary democracy which means that the parliament and the government take the most important decisions.

Finally, I arrived to the Plaza de España or Spanish Square. This huge monument in the middle is devoted to Miguel Cervantes, one of the most famous Spanish writers.

Of course you all know that his most famous book is "Don Quixote", a brave man who travels on the back of his faithful horse Rocinante. You can see both of them (together with Sancho Pansa and his donkey of course) in front of the monument. 

In the back of the monument there is a nice fountain. The lady sitting there is supposed to represent the Spanish litterature. 

Finally, I moved to the Plaza Mayor (or Main Square).  It is rectangular in shape and is surrounded by residential buildings.

It is not easy to show its beauty on a picture so I will only show you one of these buildings. To see it in full, I recommend you this 360 degrees panorama.

Hi friends! Nice to meat you! You have a very nice city here.

Just a few steps from Plaza Mayor you will see the Puerta del Sol. You will see there the heraldic symbol of Madrid, the bear with the Madroño tree.

I am sure you noticed I did not mention so far one of the major attractions of Madrid, the Prado. Well, you will hear more about it next time.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Railroad Kingdom

Last time I was in Prague I did not manage to see all the points on my list. Since it was raining this time, it was the perfect occasion to visit the Railroad Kingdom.

 It is full of miniature locomotives that go in all directions.

To be honest they are not that small, just compare them to the size of a horse.

But you can see there whole cities, with houses, buses etc.

The visitors are both adults and children. The young visitors will find many items designed for them, like a whole area made out of LEGO cubes.

But the biggest crowd of children was next to the Sodor Island.

But the crowd was pretty dense also next to Chuggington.  

Koko and Wilson are smiling happily to all visitors.

I have spent a real good time in Prague again. Nonetheless, I warmly welcomed the real train station on my way back home.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Królikarnia and Arkadia Park

In winter time it is not so easy to convince my human family to take longer trips. Luckily, Warsaw has many interesting places to see.

Today I will show you the Królikarnia Palace. Literally, it means "the rabbit house". But it is not part of the Warsaw ZOO. This is a museum devoted to one of the most famous Polish sculptors, Xavery Dunikowski.

We will enter by this nice gate.

We will walk through this red brick bridge.

Unfortunately, the only form of water that you will find in the park is now snow.

On tha grass you can admire some of the sculptures of Dunikowski. This one is called "The separation of soul from the body".

And here comes the Królikarnia Palace itself. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during World War II. It was reconstructed only in 1964.

The idea of lying in the grass seems nice. But lying in the snow is a bit weird. Luckily this nice gentleman has at least some kind of bench.

The backyard of the Palace is quite modest.

Królikarnia Palace is located on the Vistula escarpment. In fact, the left bank of Warsaw is located on two levels. The upper part is located on the escarpement while the lower part is, of course, below. Here you can see the view from the escarpement.

The lower part is called "Arkadia". This is a small park with a few lakes.

Nowadays, the lakes are of course frozen.

When your turn back you will see the highth on which the Palace stands.

And this is my favourite one. Something blue, something white, a bit of green and red. Who said that winter is boring?