I remember nothing of Madrid except the Prado, and of the Prado, only the Bosch remains. Statues of Velázquez and Goya guarded the palace gates, but I did not stop to worship. I rushed past la niñas posing and soldiers firing , perhaps a quick peep at the majas , ignored the admonishment from El Greco , and jumped happily into The Garden of Earthly Delights and all its anti-epicurean morality. Something about the obsessively picky detail of medieval craftsmen within a theological fantasy was closer to my psyche than multiple perspectives and modern horrors. Bosch placed his Gothic characters in the then new Renaissance space, which gives his paintings their anachronistic out-of-time surreality. According to McLuhan , Lewis Carroll achieved a similar effect by placing his Victorian characters in Einstein's space and time .


Bosch's Garden is an example of the steal-it-while-you-can mentality. Thus, Britannia possesses the marbles of the Parthenon; and France, loot from the pyramids. El Museo del Prado contains its share of the world's loot also. Ghosts of former myths and monarchs haunt its halls while Bosch's sprites and gnomes remind us of our not yet obsolete vision of hell, or is this our current idea of heaven?


Not wishing to repeat yesterday's ordeal in Cáceres, I bought a train ticket to Barcelona. A proudly aloof younger version of Javier Bardem sat across from me with myopic, moorish, perhaps mayan eyes. His regal posture signified Spanish culture, especially in these Castilian provinces. An older man, who reminded me of Van Gogh's Père Tanguy, sat next to Javier. Next to me sat a shy teenaged señorita. They saw me studying my Berlitz pocket book and offered to teach me Spanish rápidamente. "It's easy," indicated Señor Tanguy. After a few rounds of "Yo"..."You?"..."No, usted"..."Who, said?", it became apparent that I was hopeless, and we all drifted away into our own private slumbers. Although I may not have learned much Espagñol from them, what I did learn was that cultural differences, as taught in Dr. Greenberg's Anthropology 101, are like tattoos — attempts to prove that we are unique, when actually, it's just all cosmetics. With a little empathy, we cast off our painted surfaces and reveal the same universal emotions underneath, no matter where we hail from; and that's true for all the mammals too, domestic and out there. I am not as sure how much of this pertains to the bird class; they taste good though. Ave the ave!


Fell asleep around Zaragoza , spelled Saragossa in English, pronounced Tharagotha with a Cathtilian lithp. Slept on the old El Expreso all the way to Barthelona. Seems that the trip took all night to go 375 miles. Today the trip would take less than 3 hours; and at maximum speed, only 2. Ave the AVE!