Today started a bit earlier than expected; a wakeup call rang in a half hour before my individually-set alarm. After debating breakfast or not I decided to head downstairs and pick together a rather eclectic plate. Final preparations for the day took place and then it was off to the bus!
Our main venture today was to the Museo Nacional Del Prado. No photographs were allowed, but overheating definitely was. Dehydrating lowered my ability to focus or find a lot of enjoyment in the tour, unfortunately. The tour was delivered well, though. Our almost-improvised final exhibit was Bosch's famous triptych, El Jardín de las delicias ("The Garden of Delight"). I managed to cut through a small crowd for a view at the three panels directly in front of it. I think at this point I was beyond listening to the words of our guide; the imagery and amount of detail was mesmerizing. I don't know what my collected knowledge about this piece has become, but it simply exists. (Thank heaven for that!!)
I had cooled down a bit, but after the bus brought us back to the vicinity of the Royal Palace to have lunch, an aria rang from the Royal Theater. I couldn't identify it, but I recognized it. And I was lifted from feeling relatively miserable to such joy. Music is what this trip is about!! Next to address was the dehydration, which was alleviated during lunch, which featured some pork tenderloins in sherry sauce. I wasn't ecstatic about the sauce, unfortunately.
Post-lunch included a visit to the grocery store and then a fun solo adventure. The nearby Parque de Roma was bigger than expected; the large triple-fountain was a very nice surprise. What was discouraging was the graffiti on nearly every bench; the words were hateful. But the longer I spent in the park the more people appeared with wide smiles on their faces. A special garden at the park center and a nicely sized gazebo were nice inclusions.
I did notice a bridge, however, which extended over a main highway and into another part of Madrid. I made my way over and located a mall, multiple green spaces (parks), and a whole bunch of cherry blossom trees. After wandering around I eventually returned over the bridge and went back to rest before the first concert.
Our bus brought us to Álcala de Henares for our first concert. The church we would perform at, the Catedral de los Santos niñas Justo y Pastor, was absolutely incredible. The choir did a short rehearsal before we walked a few of the nearby streets to seek some water and snacks; I picked up some cookies from a pastry shop for post-performance.
The opening concert of our tour was absolutely remarkable. The energy from the audience was so thrilling; it was just so moving. Our performances will only improve from here! I talked a bit with an audience member afterward, and then it was time to head back!
The end of the day included a very tasty sandwich at the hotel dinner just before midnight-local time. Late dinners will become regular across the next few days. I am so incredibly excited for the next performance; tonight's audience stood up, clapping, twice! And the size of the audience was very respectable. Onward and upward!
In love with experiencing all the world has to offer, a trip to Spain is a dream come true!