It’s strange to have passed through an entire calendar of seasonality. I like gardening but in some ways I am limited by the harsh and short seasons in Western Massachusetts where I have a home. However, I have never actually experienced this total transformation from snow to mud to buds to green to flowers and vegetables. One of the blessings of this awful pandemic is that I have been out west more than not and have caught all of these moments up close – and that has been extraordinary to see. My gardens have never been so full. I have never really tried to grow as many vegetables as I did this year. The bouquets of flowers around the house have provided color in an otherwise difficult and challenging environment.
So now, as I watch fall begin and the warm weather start to disappear, and I prepare for the spectacular color display of a New England autumn, we will have been able to say that we have lived here through the four seasons. For a guy who is used to jumping around airports, rushing through the busy tourist corridors of Europe, popping into museums, meeting and greeting, getting on trains, and living in hotel rooms for four months of the year, it’s strange but also wonderful to catch the ebb and flow of nature and the seasons’ ever changing menu of delights.
Tucked in the center of Madrid’s busy and bustling metropolis is the Sorolla Museum. When you think of Madrid, you tend to think of the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, or Reina Sofia. These are the three iconic museums all clustered along a museum avenue that stretches from the post office square down to Atocha Train Station. But if you have a moment of space in Madrid, I cannot recommend enough the tranquility of the beautiful Sorolla Museum.
Joaquín Sorolla is Spain’s great impressionist painter. His colors of terracotta, white, and light blue are seductive. His paintings leave you with a sense of optimism and goodness. His house, which is now the museum, was donated to the state when his widow died. The house remains as it was when Sorolla was alive from his studio, to the dining room, and even the kitchen. Recently, the gardens and water fountain outside were restored as well. They offer a delightful respite from the busy city beyond the wall.
Madrid is the kind of place that needs a museum like this. It is one of those delightful museums that are a little off the beaten path where you can spend a few hours and collect your thoughts away from the cacophony of the Plaza Mayor and Plaza Sant Ana, and the craziness of the Grand Via and the Puerta del Sol. This place offers a breather for tourists and locals alike; a chance to reflect and look back at an age long since gone. I have been several times and each time it feels like I am about to start a yoga session because it is so peaceful and relaxing.
It is easy to get to the museum as well. You can take the Metro to Iglesia (line 1), or if you are adventurous, take the bus. If you are super fit, you can combine it with a walk from the Paseo de la Castellana. For me, I have to admit, I grabbed a cab.