On the way to the Spanish Royal Palace yesterday, I ran into a pack of boisterous naked people bike riding down the street. I've seen more nudity in Spain in one week than I have in one year in the States (not including in the movies and Lindsey Lohan photos). I'm not sure why they were naked or what they were supporting. I was just disappointed that there were more men than women. [I've since found out that it was World Naked Bike Ride Day to support bike riding instead of driving. They were also trying to make people aware of the dangers in Madrid for bicyclists due to the lack of bike lanes]
The palace was nice. I'm finding that old palaces and castles really get my imagination going. I start to imagine all of the royal functions and 'basic' life that went on in these fanciful structures over history. Palaces are the only places where certain types of furniture look elegant and grand (though not so comfortable). In the States, similar pieces just look gaudy and out of place.
I made it to the Reina Sofia Museum to see Picasso's Guernica, some nice Dali pieces, and a bunch of modern art that I didn't understand. In the newer wing, there was a great exhibition of kinetic art pieces that were entertaining.
The evening started out quiet. Although I do like the vibe and life in Madrid, it just hasn't pulled me in. I haven't met anyone to show me the nightlife. (Though I met more cute French-Canadians... unfortunately they were on their way out) Just walking the streets, I admired the verve of the Spanish people... I guess Europeans in general. They've got this great environment and the infrastructure to be social. I feel like it's too easy to stay cooped up in the States. Here, you jump on a train, show up to these historic plazas, meet your friends, and choose from a hundred places to hang out.
It's not so bad being alone. I've been trying to let the environment feed my imagination. Slowly, scenarios start to form in my brain. It's encouraging. I'm thinking story structure will follow.
On my way back to the hostel I exited the Banco de Espana metro station and found a raucous crowd of Real Madrid fans gathered at the Plaza de Cibeles. They waved flags and cheered and shouted at passing cars which honked the same eight beats in response. I'm not quite sure what was going on or why Plaza de Cibeles was the gathering place but I'm glad they weren't naked.