We left our Air BnB in Blanca early enough to comfortably find the train station and rental car drop-off location in plenty of time, including making the anticipated wrong turns even with GPS. (If the mangled pronunciations of English language street names by Siri/Google et al aren’t confusing enough, they are even more baffling in machine Spanish). The train ride was 4.5 hours because it wasn’t a high-speed train, but it did arrive on time. We returned to the same hotel we started at, Villa Real. It is actually walking distance from the train station without luggage; with bags it is a short cab ride.
The main plan for our first day was to visit the modern art museum, the Reina Sofia. We spent three hours there and as we were leaving only then realized that all we had covered was the “new” wing. We didn’t even touch the main building that houses most of the permanent collection. But the new wing does house Picasso’s “Guernica,” which is this museum’s Mona Lisa. And it also had a couple of special exhibitions, including a retrospective of the American artist David Wojnarowicz, whose heyday was in the 80s. He was a gay man that succumbed to the AIDS crisis. We are kind of chagrined to admit we really weren’t familiar with his work, but it was interesting. At the top is just one example, but he also painted and did filmmaking.
We wrapped up with a final dinner at a restaurant near the hotel called El Barril de las Letras that was very good, but we had reached the point of the trip where we had probably eaten too much. Earlier in the week we would have enjoyed it more, but if in the area we would recommend it.
I’m writing this on the plane home, somewhat sad to be leaving. Pat and I agree that we may have found our new favorite European destination. (We would expand it to also include Portugal.) The people were all friendly, food good, sights engaging and the weather wonderful. Sunny and warm the entire stay. We can already envision a return visit.