“Cheers!” everyone shouted as our glasses of Sangria clanged together in the air. I don’t know who thought of mixing fermented and unfermented fruit, but it was an excellent invention and a great way to start out the trip with a theme. All 29 of us packed the small bar located off Spanish alley. We watched as the pitchers, filled to the rim, were passed around for seconds (and for some, thirds).
“I like my alcohol in disguise” winked Jen. After we all conceded that sangria was, in fact, a fruity (yet not necessarily “girly” drink) we quieted down to listen to our guide, Rafael, give out directions for the rest of the day and talk a little about Madrid’s famous Prado Museum. “You could spend two months in there and still not see everything” warned Rafael. I glanced at my watch and saw that we only had an hour and a half left until it closed. After gulping down the last of our sangria, we left the bar and then clamored down the cobblestone street until we found the Museo del Prado.
The museum boasts more than 8600 paintings, more than the museum can hold and definitely more than our eyes had time to take in. I scowled at the picture that noted that no photography was allowed, but soon forgot my frustration after seeing the beautifully detailed canvasses covering the 20-foot high walls. We passed by works of Francisco de Goya and Diego Velázquez, and I was mesmerized by the life-sized marble muses gazing down at me with blank eyes.