Month in Madrid: Weekend in Barcelona

Friday, May 31, 2013

First day in Barcelona! We took an 8 hour train ride and I tried to sleep the whole time but I only slept for like 3 hours. Esta bien. We then arrived in the city and went to find our hostel but the front desk didn't open until 9. It was 8 am. So we killed an hour in a cafe across the street! After breakfast we waited for check in and I made friends with the cutest French bulldog, Picote. We then walked around the beach, got some lunch, and headed back to the apartment for a siesta. Before going out we thought we should shower, I mean we did just have an 8 hour train ride and a nap. To our surprise, we had to take cold showers. I don't know how I did it, but I did. We made dinner and had tapas and got ready to go out. Being in Barcelona the first night was like our first few days in Madrid, we got lost. We ended up finding a beautiful plaza and found the main Princessa z3, the same bar we got lunch at, only this place was not as good as the beach bar. From here we went to Riley's and after  about three creepers it was time to head home!

Day two was probably one of the longest days of my life. I went down the street and brought back croissants and mimosas. I knew that if I was going to Barcelona I was going to see at least one of Gaudi's works, and seeing that it was a beautiful day, I wanted to see La Sagrada Familia. Although not everyone wanted to go at first, everyone was glad we went. We didn't go inside, seeing as we wanted to go to the beach, but the outside was enough for me. I'd done countless presentations on La Sagrada Familia in my highschool Spanish classes, so when I saw it exiting the metro station, I was speechless. It was probably the most beautiful building I have ever seen, even under construction. From La Sagrada Familia we went to the beach and laid out. We got some really amazing piña coladas, and then decided to go home, cook dinner, eat, and get ready. We made friends with the Swedish women who lived in the apartment above us, and recommended that we go to La Terrrazza, a club in a castle, rather than Opium, a bar/lounge on the beach. Party in a castle? Count me in! We headed there at 2 am... Yes. 2 am. How I am still alive right now I have no idea. Terrrazza was so much fun! Definitely a one time thing though, I don't think I can stay out and watch the sun come out again! I mean... Maybe again, but no time soon! This girl likes her sleep! We didn't get home until 8 am and we watched the sun come up at the castle. It was intense and a lot of fun, but I was ready to go home! We went back to the apartment and slept until 11 am, when we got kicked out for check out... OOPS! 

After being told we had to check out in 10 minutes, we packed up the entire apartment in 5 minutes and headed to the cafe while we checked out. We then walked through the ramblas to get to the police station (to report a missing phone) which I am very glad we were able to do, and then headed to the airport. Yes we were 4 hours early to the airport, but the Barcelona airport is really a shopping mall, which I was all for! (All tax free!) the plane ride was super fast, 45 minutes max! It was just like flying from LA to SF, and I slept the entire time. We got back at around 9, went to Mas Q Menos, one of my favorites restaurants here (we've been 3 times and the waiters know us), went back to the apartment, and knocked out. 
 I am so glad I was able to go to Barcelona, and since this was my only weekend trip, I am definite glad that we chose to go to here! This upcoming weekend is my last weekend, so I want to stay in the city and do some last minute exploring (aka finish up my list of things to visit in Madrid). I am a little more than halfway through my month here and I cannot believe that it has flown by so fast, but I miss everyone back home. 

Okay enough of me talking, enjoy some pictures, and I will talk to you all soon (:


Month in Madrid: Royal Palace

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I think I found my perfect house. Without a doubt, yesterday was one of the most beautiful days I have had in this city!
We had class in the morning, took the metro for the first time (surprisingly it wasn't very scary), had lunch in plaza mayor, dessert at mercado San Miguel (third time I've been, no shame), toured the royal palace, and then went out with our teacher. Perfect day! 

The palace was beyond perfect and I could not have asked for a better day! Now I am packing for my weekend trip to Barcelona!!! 
I will send updates aling the way, hasta pronto!

Month in Madrid: El Rastro (Flea Market)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Feliz Domingo! (Happy Sunday!)
Today we went to a flea market as one of our cultural didactic activities. Seeing as I have only been to a few small flea markets before, this place was very overwhelming. It was said that the had everything from tapas to clothing and shoes, but I only saw the flea market part rather than the market market part. But everything ended up working out. We went to an amazing tapas bar and had tos tas which were open faced sandwiches that were perfect! It was then time to shop seeing as we weren't cranky from being hungry and getting lost (oops, my fault! Google maps lied...). I personally didn't buy anything but there were definitely some good deals! It was very crowded though and I felt a few people trying to pick pocket me but they didn't get anything, bummer for them score for me! I cannot believe I have been here for a week already, it is honestly such an amazing city, experience, and I have also met some pretty incredible people. 
Now I am off to write my blurb for Spanish class... This should be fun.

Month in Madrid: Mercado de San Miguel

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tonight we decided to go to the mercado San Miguel and oh goodness was that a good choice! My mom saw this on the food network and said it was a must go place in Madrid. If you are ever in the city, GO! It is all food that you eat there, tapas, aka everything in Madrid! San Miguel is an indoor market that is next to plaza mayor, the oldest plaza in Madrid! Everything was responsibly priced and was so fun, just walking around, drinking, eating good food and taking pictures. We got burrata, paella, pesto lasagna, a potato torte, snickerdoodle icecream (leche something), and then chocolate truffles. Topped it all of with white apple sangria and tonight was one of the tastiest nights in Madrid!
Hasta luego (:

Month in Madrid: Day Four

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good morning or afternoon and happy Thursday! I cannot believe my first week of classes is already over (we don't have school on Fridays). I am so scared these next three weeks are going to fly by but at the same time I am SO EXCITED! I have been having an amazing time, I have been improving my Spanish, and I have been experiencing a fascinating and beautiful culture. Yesterday marked day 4 and was also our first field trip! We went to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and saw the works of Picasso! Also my friend Caylah and I were unintentionally matching...
This is the panoramic view from the top of the glass elevator in el Museo Reina Sofia. 
Here is the garden wall! It is so beautiful and breathtaking and is next to a very very good cafe! This wall is part of the Caixa Forum and is absolutely incredible.
The much awaited for good weather called for maxi dresses!
And if you thought I wasn't going to paint my nails I'm Spain... Ya thought wrong.

Random picture time now: my favorite food this far! We went to a bar called el Tigre and they give free tapas and I tried the most incredible pork... EVER. I was on the hunt to find it again, and when we went to the market for groceries, I saw this and thought it looked similar, and it is!!!! It's the same pork and oh my goodness is it good! We put some Dijon mustard on and tada, quick and easy tapas! I then cooked dinner for our friends and we got ready and I went to my very first club! It was lots of fun and just made me appreciate all of the amazing new friends I have made on this trip so far!

Month in Madrid: Days Two and Three

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hola! I think I am going to start posting every few days just because I do not do very exciting things that are picture worthy todos los días. Aka yesterday, the first day of class. Well we just explored but no pictures were taken.
Anyways, today was our first day of real class and we actually got to class on time! Yay us! (We were 45 minutes late yesterday) but we didn't get in trouble. We got there and met the other students in our class from Illinois and had la clase de lengua and after, la clase de cultura. Our lunch break consisted of 15 people eating tortilla España aka the only thing I eat here because it is so easy and cheap! We then went to do our cultural didactic activity which consisted of us finding and writing about 5 different streets. We ended up going from there and just exploring and found some amazing buildings and a flea market!!

Month in Madrid: Day One

Sunday, May 19, 2013

As you may or may not know, I am currently in Madrid, Spain. I honestly feel so weird typing that and even when I say Spain or Europe, just because I cannot believe that I am here and that this is actually happening. I also cannot say thank you enough to my parents who made my dream of studying abroad a reality!

As for day one, I arrived at 9:30 am (Madrid Time). We went from the airport, took a cab, and arrived at our hotel, which is kind of an apartment, but more like a hotel. We are right across from the national library (where my window looks out to) and all of the students in my program are in the same area of the same floor. This is the front of the library, and our apart/hotel is just to the right of this picture! The architecture in this city is beyond amazing.

After unpacking, we were STARVING. We, being my roommate Natalie and I, met up with our friends Caylah and Jen to go explore, get some lunch, and try to find Caylah's iPhone which she had lost the night before. 

We ended up going into a hotel restaurant and ordered tapas, salad and paella.

This picture is from McDonald's.. Yes, that McDonald's. 

I didn't have anything but they sold macaroons! And they also had other pastries and cakes that surprisingly looked really good! Fast-food here is definitely not the same as in America.

We ended up getting kind of lost on our way back after lunch, unfortunately Caylah didn't find her phone, but we passed by all of these gorgeous apartments, buildings, and churches. The thing I love about them all are the windows, especially the balconies. They are so beautiful and picturesque, each time I pass by I swear I am living in a magazine.

We then went back, regrouped, and met up with the guys and decided we needed a pick-me-up. First thing on our list? Churros y chocolate! (And cafe con leche of course, which is probably the best coffee I have had... like ever!

There were six of us and each plate had 6 churros, so we got  3 orders. It was WAY too much but so good! San Gines is one of the oldest churro joints in Madrid, and is famous for their churros y hot chocolate! Definitely glad I went here!

As for now, I am in my room, in bed, looking outside my window and admiring everything that has been of the past 24 hours. Two flights, with lots of turbulence, a lousy nights sleep and airplane food, none of which matter due to the amazing city I get to call my home for a month.

Some first impressions of Madrid? 
EVERYONE SMOKES! Like I knew that was a European thing, but it's everywhere! My mother would not approve (hi mom!). 
Alcohol is cheaper than water in most places. The tap water here is not good. It tastes like pure chlorine and I'm pretty sure it isn't safe (desperate times called for desperate measures). You have to order water, it isn't included, and when you are just walking around, there are no water fountains or places to fill up water bottles! I have to go to the store later and get some water and probably some food for my microscopic kitchenette.
They aren't as fashionable as I was expecting, which is kind of disappointing, but then again not because I really like my outfits that I brought.
My Spanish isn't as bad as I thought it was! People talk to me in Spanish and don't question me being American. At one of the places we went a man (who I am determined was a gypsy) kept asking me if "that group of people" were Americans. I kept saying I don't know, why are you asking, seeing as I knew they were Americans, and he just kept saying that they were loud like Americans and they were easy to point out in the crowd. This was very true seeing as there were also New Yorkers there who thought that we were angels because we also spoke English, but oh well! 
There's no tax! AND you don't need to tip!
EVERYTHING is walkable! I love it, honestly it is SO convenient.

Well that is all I can think of as of right now. Maybe other impressions and things about this city will pop up in my head later and I will add them to the end of those blogs.
Adios for now!

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