HOLAAA. I cannot believe that at this time in 6 days I’ll be back in Atlanta. This whole experience has flown by despite how burning hot it is outside. Here’s what I’ve been up to!
Today was a busy one. So of course, we started off in classes like normal. We have this thing called “culture class” which we don’t get credit for and its a 2 hour class after our classes about excursions we are going on that week, and to be honest, it’s quite wasteful. I just feel like while I’m in Spain, why learn about things in a classroom? So with the amount of plans I had for today, Kayla and I decided the weigh the options between adventuring through Madrid vs. class. So there we were, walking to El Parque Buen Retiro, starting at the Rose Garden. Although the heat here makes me question why people live here, this rose garden was totally worth melting for. It was a circular design of all sorts of Spanish roses. After we snapped a few pictures, we walked over to another Jardín, where there are just a handful of peacocks that walk around openly in this park. The coolest thing was that we saw two male peacocks trying to flirt and win over a female peacock. I didn’t realize until this day that I have a slight fear of birds this large that start to walk towards you and flare their giant wings, although so beautiful. After a strange and exciting encounter with this bird, we walked over to a cafe before our boating adventure. We rented a canoe and went around the lake in Retiro, which was far more difficult for two girls without very much arm strength. It was so beautiful though, despite the heat, to listen to the street performers, and float along the lake. After an afternoon sweltering in the park and checking off my Madrid bucket list, we headed towards Gran Via for dinner (and mostly air conditioning) in VIPS. It was quite the full day, and I slept so soundly because of it.
After a bit of class, and yes culture class that I actually did attend, my friends and I decided to hop on over to the hipster neighborhood of Malasaña. We first hit up on of our favorite restaurants in Madrid, Ojalá. With a bit of white sangria and mac and cheese, my friends and I were truly loving it. After that, we headed around to the thrift stores of Malasaña. All I ended up buying was a pair of sunglasses, but it was fun to look around (and see some weird things). One of my friends actually found an Auburn basketball jersey in Madrid of all places. After doing some fun window shopping, we headed back home for dinner. After dinner, we had the school party. This was where our school rented out a club and every university studying abroad there along with our professors had 2 hours of free beer and sangria. I won’t go into too much detail but it was sort of laughable to be at a club with my professor (who is awesome btw), Eva. This party was at Club Nomad, so after we headed to Moondance. For a solid hour or so my friends and I were the only ones there, and so while it was fun, I decided I wasn’t into paying for a taxi, so 1:30 am was my bedtime, after a McDonald’s stop. BTW McDonalds is 4000% better over here, like a lot of things. I may go home early compared to a majority of the loco chicos here, but I value my sleep after a night of fun still.
This morning wasn’t too bad in class, as we only spent an hour hanging out before we had a field trip to La Asamblea, the local parliament for Madrid. We took the Cercanias train, and then sat through a lecture that took far too long about how the voting goes down, which isn’t all that different than the states and their house of representatives, but this was for the city. It was interesting so see some government, but it was a tad abburido. While heading back, we learned we’d be getting two new roommates. This meant I needed to move to the single room, and then we met our new roommates from Samford. It was a lot to take in, moving for the 3rd time, but I now have my cute little room sorted (which I’ll have to pack soon). We couldn’t stand the heat, so we headed out to Sol. I finally tried a calamari sandwich, a typical Madrid food, and IT WAS INCREDIBLE from Bar Postas near Plaza Mayor (to be honest I want to go back and eat one now). We ventured on over to Palacio Real, or the Royal Palace, and being the broke college students we are, we didn’t actually go in, but people watched around the palace. We ended up convincing a Segway tour guide to let us try seaways for free. If you know me well at all, you’ll know I’m not the most coordinated, but I took a leap of faith and didn’t end up crashing this Segway. It was such a nice afternoon. Later this day, I ventured back to sol to llaollao which is a yogurt place, like frozen yogurt, but better? Difficult to describe but OH SO DELICIOUS. Tonight, I opened my window and just fell asleep to the sounds of the city that was home for one more week.
Bright and early this morning, we headed to our excursion to El Escorial in Northern Madrid. Escorial is home to a monastery and the historical home of Spanish Kings. We got to tour the giant monestarry and see the tombs off all the buried Spanish kings. We also got to see the beds of the old Spanish kings, along with the gardens. This place was gorgeous, pressed up against the mountains. This also meant it was windy!!!! Glorious air flow, something Madrileños needed to learn more about. We didn’t get to spend too much time here, so very soon after, we headed back to the city. Kayla and I decided to grab lunch at a menu del día place called Mu! For 10 euros, we got bread, an empanada, steak, potato, french fries, flan, and a drink. It was delicious and cheap (which honestly makes it taste better when you’re balling on a budget). After we came home to cool off a bit, we headed back out and walked around Malasaña bars area because there was a street party. Of course, we ended up at El Tigre, which has cheap Mojitos and free tapas. Midnight rolled around and exhaustion caught up, we headed home for our last night of actual cool sleep.
I woke up this morning ready to embark on a solo mission, as I took on El Rastro on my on. I hopped on the metro to Tirso de Molina, and walked in the sweltering heat of Spain with mucha gente and interesting finds. I ended up buying some cool gifts for family before I just enjoyed walking around and hearing Despacito far too many times. After the heat started to get to me, I joined my roommate and her professor from a prior study abroad, for tapas. We had patatas bravas, tortilla de patatas, and sangria. It was one of the best eats I’ve had here in Spain. After that along with some great conversation with a local, we hopped on over the el balcón, a cocktail bar. Being with a local had it perks, as we got discounts and I’m all for that. Hours passed, and we hopped on over to llaollao, the yogurt store for some post tapas and copas sweets. The few hours I spent with Kayla’s old teacher were wonderful as its always interesting to talk with a local, especially one who is close to my age. We left the very hot area of Sol back towards the house. After dinner from our house, we met up with Auburn friends at Bicicleta Cafe, where we sipped on wine and caught up. Some of these people were the first friends I made here and our time here got so busy that it was nice to catch up. Like every night, we ended up at McDonalds and regretted nothing. Here’s to the last week of Spain, I thought as I stared at the nighttime scene of Gran Via.
Mondays suck. In Spain they a lot more tolerable, but they’re still Mondays, and early and the metro runs slow. After an uncomfortable night of hot sleep, we managed to get to class. After, I desperately took advantage of the Siesta. It was so terribly hot outside it was difficult to take advantage of our last week, so we attempted to sleep and sweat only a little bit. After dinner, Kayla and our new roommates ran over to llaollao mostly because the air conditioning, and then stopping at an Irish pub for a cold drink. Now I’m sitting here with a fan blasting on me, wishing for a hotel simply to sleep in the cold. I’m extremely excited to take on this last week, but this 100 degree weather with no AC, along with constantly being surrounded by college freshman who are going wild because of the first time out of their houses gets to you. But tonight, I will hopefully finally sleep, and take on Tuesday. España, I love you….but it is too hot. Here’s to the last week in this gorgeous country, see you soon, USA!
XOXO & Hasta Luego-