Well folks, it’s weird to say but my time in Madrid has come to an end. The history, architecture, and atmosphere were like nothing that I have really experienced anywhere. After landing in Madrid around 8:00 am I was a lucky traveler who was greeted with my luggage. In the city, our group stayed at the Hotel Regina. A place very centrally located just a block away from Puerta del Sol. Bianca (another Chicoan) and I walked around a bit and eventually had our first plate of Spanish Paella. Definitely an interesting dish.
Our first day in the city was a walking tour of Madrid. The Prado Museum was our first destination where we say many pieces from El Greco, Bosch, Goya, and too many others to really be able to give justice to. We then walked to Plaza Mayor where we were told that the people used to watch the bull fights in the city. We then headed to the Madrid Cathedral and Royal Palace. The Palace really looks like a lot of other buildings in the city from the outside, but once inside we experienced a very in depth look into Spain’s royal past. (The current king, Juan Carlos I doesn’t live in this palace though) I don’t really have a lot of pictures from these places because photos were prohibited, as it seemed they were in most museums. I think they were just trying to get me to buy the postcards. That night, Real Madrid was playing Athletico Madrid so a group of us found a nice pub to eat, drink, and watch the game. Apparently Spain uses military time because the dumb Americans we are almost didn’t go in to the place because we thought there was a 22 euro cover charge… but that’s just when the game started.
View from the Palace
Day two brought us to Segovia, home to a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct as well as the home of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This ancient city was really an amazing cite. As with a lot of the ancient towns, there was a large mixture of Gothic, Moorish, and Classical architecture. The tour guides really emphasized the history of Ferdinand and Isabelle. Apparently they are the ones that commissioned someone named Christopher Columbus within the same year as driving out the last of the Moors. If you want to know more, open a history book and do some reading, because this is just the highlights of my travels. That night, after a nice little siesta (this might have to be implemented in my college life post Spain) Laura, Allie, Michael and I headed to Santa Ana Square where we had tapas and wine for dinner. We already know that I’m a fat kid, but the food here is going to make me gain some serious weight. All part of the experience I guess.
The gang in Segovia
Cathedral in Segovia
Dali painting at the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art
That next day we went to Toledo. Talk about an amazing city. The city was legit; we went to the Cathedral of Toledo (no pictures again inside) where we saw ancient relics from the Catholic Church, including the crown of Queen Isabelle. You all should Google that place and see what you’re missing out on. We also learned about the cities past and how it has much influence from Christians, Moors, and Jewish background from when the different groups used to live there. A group of us had lunch at an outside tabernia, and then walked around to soak in the sights of the city. That night we walked to El Parque del Retiro in downtown Madrid. This is the place where the locals seem to hang out. Definitely a place to check out if you want to blend into the community.
View of Toledo
Stroll through the park
Now I’m in my city, just took a siesta and getting ready for orientation tomorrow. Next post will have lots of pictures of Alicante, my room, and life trying to blend in… key word is TRYING. Until then, enjoy and thinking of what to do next while living abroad.