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Category Archives: Museums

Peninsula to do: Filoli

Only about a twenty-minute drive from San Francisco, Filoli is one of the best places for a second or third date. It’s the kind of place for people who like the outdoors, history and flowers–and it’s generally much less crowded than places north of the bay, such as Muir Woods.

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Out in the lush hills surrounding San Mateo, the weather tends to be excellent most of the year, even as early as March as in these photos.

History-wise, the lands and houses were owned by relatives to the Chase family in the early days of California. Eventually, they donated them to the State to preserve the history of the gardens. The tour guides there have abundant stories about the erstwhile inhabitants and their dramatic lives.

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Out in the gardens, you can spend hours wandering around. If you’re so inclined, bring a book and relax: there’s no time limit, no one to hurry you along and generally lots of nooks to read in either sun or shade.

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There is something anachronistic about the whole place in the busy modern Bay Area. We don’t have a lot of man-made, “old” sites, so it’s a pleasant break from both the sublime mountains as well as the bustling cities. My recommendation: get there early, talk to the tour guides (even if it’s against your natural inclination), and, of course, bring your loved one.

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Madrid’s Big Three Museums

I finally completed going to Madrid’s three biggest art museums.

Madrid’s big 3 or “triangle” of museums – the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen – are conveniently located on the Paseo del Arte (Avenue of the Arts).

I highly recommend them all. I preferred the Thyssen (the least popular), but it may have just been because I was in an especially good mood that day.

Madrid boasts about the same amount of quality visual art as Paris or London, but unfortunately there are far fewer small galleries and, as far as I know, no “art walks”. A lot of modern art is hit and miss—too much shock effect—but it’s nice to see new fresh things; nice to know people are still attempting to create new things. Madrid does have most of the works of Picasso and Dali, two of the greatest “modern” artists, but modern art is quite old now.

My favorite Spanish artist? Goya, sin duda. And a close second is Dali.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Art, Madrid, Museums, Spain