Time for Madrid June 29, 2011Posted by Blake Christianson in Travel Log.
Its been a while since I’ve written, but the last week and a half have been packed. In Cadiz we had our last week of classes which included three finals. Most days were spent going to class, eating a quick lunch with our host family, and heading to the beach to study. Now that I am in Madrid, I didn’t realize how nice it was to be able to do all of my work out on the beach listening to the ocean. Starting Wednesday night, Cadiz had la feria de San Juanillo. It is just one of many parties Cadiz has which lasted from Wednesday to Saturday night. On Wednesday, we made our last visit to the regular hang out, 100 Monteditos for 1 euro appetizers and then went to watch the fireworks at midnight that signified the start of the feria. Unfortunately, we had to study on Thursday night so we only went to about an hour of the celebrations, but it was quite interesting. They burn these massive signs that people put together to make political statements. Friday, we finished our last exams and had a celebratory paella dinner at the school with our professors. We then headed out to the beach one final time before getting ready to go out to the feria. We met up with our professor from Cadiz and headed to the old city. The feria is almost like a fair back the US except with much louder music and dancing. There were a lot of little shops and tons of good food. We stopped at our favorite kebab place before going back home.
We woke up Saturday morning with all our bags packed, took pictures with our host parents, and said goodbye. Mari Carmen and Juan started crying and said that Drew and I were there favorite students they’ve ever had. We took the bus to our plane, the plane to Madrid, and finally ended up at our unfortunate hostel. At least we only had to stay there for three days. That night a group of us went out on a tour of the city. On Sunday, we slept in for the first time of the whole trip! Then we made our way to the Reina Sofia a solid thirty minutes before it closed. We did the quick and speedy tour of Dali and Picasso and promised to return. Next up was a rest break at Starbucks before heading to the royal gardens which were beautiful. We then went to the Prado and saw more Picasso along with some amazing Velazquez pieces. For some reason, at least one person in our group of friends is always hungry so we stopped at the Prado cafe before heading back to the hostel for dinner. We were all exhausted so we decided to just watch a movie for the night. Conviction was amazing.
Monday morning we had a speaker for two hours about alternative medicine at the International House. I don’t really think that crap actually works, but whatever floats your boat. We then went to lunch before just walking around the city and napping. For dinner, we went to the grocery store and bought cheese, bread, chips, and dips and decided to eat in the plaza because Spain isn’t cheap. We enjoyed watching the sun set as we gorged ourselves. Tuesday was our last free day and Drew left that night. We woke up and had a Starbucks breakfast before walking around the city some more. I felt sick so I ran to the pharmacy to get some medicine. They hand out prescription drugs here like it’s candy. The rest of the day was spent walking around the massive park, rowing in the lake, and napping on the lawn. Drew’s flight was at midnight, so we went to dinner for paella with all eight of our friends for the last time. We said goodbye to Drew and moved into the residence we’re staying in for the month. So nice! It’s basically a hotel. They do all our laundry, clean our room daily, and feed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus I finally have wifi–its been way too long! Today we started our first day of classes and met everyone new that came to Spain just for the Madrid program. I think we’re going to have a lot of new friends to hang out with! Lunch was delicious, and then I wrote a paper about the goofy alternative medicine lady before writing this.