Madrid

This past weekend I took on Spain’s capital. (That would be Madird for anyone not paying attention) The trip to Madrid was one of the trips organized by API. I was a little hesistant to go with such an enormous group and only see tourist things, but the trip was paid for with my tuition. My student loans would have be furious with me if I didn’t go.

Madrid ended up being one of my favorite cities I have ever seen. I think I’ve started a trend where I claim each new place I visit is my favorite…I guess I won’t really have perspective on my “favorites” until I look back on my trip. But I do know Madrid was unlike anything I have ever seen before.

First of all, Madrid was huge. I was under the impression that Barcelona was big until I stepped foot in Madrid. Unlike the narrow streets of Barcelona, Madrid has very wide streets and way more cars. Madrid has huge public plazas where people go to simply enjoy life. And when I say “people” I mean tons and tons of people. It was like Madrid was hosting a block party all weekend. People filled the streets from mid morning until the very late hours of the night.

Madrid was ostentatious. It was over-the-top. It was gaudy. It was fabulous. Only Madrid could get away with it. The buildings were all adorned with sculptures, lavish design, and everything that could very easily be called “tacky”, but somehow came off as overwhelmingly beautiful.

The weather only enhanced Madrid’s beauty. It was cold, but the sky was completely clear; not a cloud in sight. The strikingly blue sky against the brilliantly white buildings was picture perfect.

Speaking of pictures, I finally got my act together and uploaded pictures onto Facebook. It’s a work in progress, but if anyone is dying to see the people/places I’ve talked about in my blog, you can now see them in my albums. I’m trying to add captions to make it clear what everything is.

The weekend was spent in the perfect balance between tourist activities and street wandering. We went and saw the Palacio Real de Madird (Royal Palace). It’s like the White House…except a king lives there, a church is connected to it, it houses over 2000 rooms, and it was built before the United States declared its independence. We were supposed to go inside, but somehow our group tour got messed up. Then when a group of us went back on Sunday to see it on our own, we learned at 2:14 that it closes at 2:00 pm on Sundays. The only thing Spain does on time is close shop.

Night life in Madrid was fantastic. Barcelona’s nightlife is on an entirely different level, but the bars and discoteccas we went to were amazing. In Madrid…actually in everywhere in Spain BUT Barcelona, bars serve you tapas (Spanish appetizers) when you order a drink. That means that when I ordered my 3.50 beer, I got a plate of tapas big enough to call it dinner. If that’s not budgeting at its finest, I don’t know what is.

Over the course of the weekend, I made friends with a couple kids from San Diego (so refreshing), a group of Frenchies, and I’m actually beginnning to like some of the kids living in the dorms. I haven’t really talked about them on my blog, but in my opinion, anyone who would pay an extra $2,000 to live in a dorm in the worst part of Barcelona is clearly not my kind of person. They tend to also be the kids who justify every negative stereotype about American students abroad; loud, drunk, obnoxious. Whenever we see the DKs (dorm kids) acting this way, Jacqueline always turns to me and says, “I remember when I had my first drink too…”

Luckily, once I talked to some of the kids individually and not in their typical mob, I did meet some really nice people.

Nothing too out of the ordinary happened in Madrid, so sorry if you were looking for a crazy story. From the time I woke up until the time my head hit the pillow, Madrid was wonderful.

 

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