Madrid v. 3
I went to Madrid this past week from Tuesday to Friday, making it my longest trip there yet! It was a pretty good visit, the purpose of it was to go look at colleges and dorms for Ana, which was unbelievably boring (they have to interview to get into dorms here so it was just like sitting in waiting rooms until the interview was over) but luckily I only had to go to two, and the other times I got to check out Madrid by myself. It was so unbelievably hot I can’t even describe it, making being outside not super pleasant, but I got to go to the Museo del Prado (wow really really cool and I know next to nothing about art) and Retiro Park and the Gran Via and some cool little shopping neighborhoods. So all the parts that I was by myself were good, it was just when I was with my host family that was no fun…they seemed intent on pushing all my buttons and it was just very exhausting. BUT Madrid man it is a cool city I highly recommend it there’s tons to see and do, a nice change from Don Benito.
I took no photos cause like what’s the point but just google-image Madrid I went to most of the touristy places and there’s good photos so do that.
Madrid Part 2
So yesterday Ana and I took a bus all by ourselves to Madrid! Her mom was here already though so it wasn’t really that cool but still we got here last night and we’re staying with her cousin who goes to school here and generally having a grand ould tyme. We walked for I’d say about 6 hours today and we also went to a contemporary art exhibit called ARCO, which I actually enjoyed, which is strange because for those who don’t know I usually hate modern art and think most of it’s crap, but this stuff was pretty good, or at least entertaining. Totally not worth the 40 EUROS it cost to get in but Ana really wanted to go and it was the only reason we got out of going to school today. But yeah the rest of the day was just walking everywhere, which was great because Madrid is a really cool city to walk in since it’s full of awesome windy cobblestone streets but somehow we never managed to get lost. I actually remembered to take some pictures so those will follow and we’re going to be here for most of tomorrow as well so there should be more then too.
Oh and I have Monday and Tuesday off of school for Carneval, which I guess is Mardi Gras? I’m not really sure, it sounds more like Halloween to me, but it’s great either way.
Madrid Day 1
Today has honest-to-god been the longest day I can ever remember, probably since it’s been much more than 24 hours. The whole flight there was fairly uneventful, but I met most of the other exchange students going to Spain. We are all in the Extremadura region, in or near Badajoz. Three of us are in the mid-sized town of Don Benito, but we’re all in different high-schools in order to heighten the level of immersion. So even though the plane was a red-eye flight, I couldn’t sleep at all (middle seat) and instead watched Footloose, which was atrocious to a degree that I hope to see again since I enjoyed it a lot. After we landed we spent about 20 minutes getting out of the airport, which had more staircases and escalators than I had ever seen, way more than necessary. But it was pretty cool, it looked like a giant classy IKEA. A representative from CCI met us at the doors and we took a van into downtown Madrid, to the Hotel Miau. It’s pretty quintessentially european as far as i can tell—balconies, stone facade, extremely tiny elevators and bathrooms and beds. We met the other two girls in the program there. Due to various delays we only had about an hour and a half to rest before we started on our extended walking tour of Madrid. We walked from our hotel to the Plaza del Sol, even though it was 40 and below today so walking anywhere was miserable. After spending sometime there we took a tour bus around many of the monuments of Madrid. It would have been cool but after being up for at least 24 hours with barely any food and no coffee, pretty much everyone fell asleep or was dozing. We got off at some stop and did another insane amount of walking, this time through an incredibly adorable part of town, all cobblestone and narrow and balconies and it never ended. We were walking seemingly aimlessly, except that every once in a while one of the representatives who was super annoying and rude and entitled would bark at us that we were going the wrong way. Eventually we wound up at a paella restaurant, where everyone cried internally tears at the idea of food and rest. Paella itself is not my favorite but this was some seriously good paella. Unfortunately it was a little spoiled by the fact that the irritating representative kept asking us questions about ourselves and insisting we answer them in Spanish. After lunch we finally got some coffee, pulling my day out of the pit into which it was rapidly tumbling. We then walked even more around Retiro Park, which used to be a royal garden and still really looks like it. In an attempt to see even more of Madrid while not dying if exhaustion, we got back on the bus to see more of the city. Madrid really has some of the he’s architecture i’ve ever seen in a city—marble and iron balconies and ornate sculptures. Feeling ready for a little shopping, all us girls went to a ton of awesome clothing stores all along the same block. It turns out Spain has wayyyy better clothes than us guys. This evening we also went to a tapas restaurant owned by Javier Bardem, which was pretty cool. But no he wAsnt there. So anyways i’m feeling pretty good about everything, and i will even more once i get some sleep. Tomorrow I have another exhausting and exciting day complete with palaces and bull fights.