Monday, February 22, 2010


A recap of my week: 4 exams. I finished my last exam around 2:00 pm, made it home by 2:20 pm, threw a bunch of stuff in my super nerdy (handy) backpack grabbed my bag of bocadillos (sandwiches on good loaves of bread) and headed to the bus station across the street from our house for our 4:00 pm, 6 hour bus ride to Madrid. (Side note: Fina made us 3 HUGE bocadillos, gave us 4 good books ((the kind with chocolate in the middle)), a pesar, a banana, and a juicebox. I guess she´s off and on about the rationing.)
Once on the bus, Kelly and I got to sit shotgun with a convenient little table in front of us. The other 10 people were scattered throughout the bus without leg room or little tables. Suckers. After the 6 hour bus ride, with a 20 minute stop half way through, we arrived in Madrid around 10:30 pm. We grabbed our bags from beneath the bus, jumped into 4 taxis, and after a 20 euro taxi ride, we finally arrived at our humble abode for the weekend, a spacious (hah) 5 bedroom apartment complete with kitchen the size of a closet, 2 bathrooms, cozy living room stocked with thousands (i mean THOUSANDS) of trinkets, and a large rooftop terrace furnished with outdoor shower and table & chairs.

Me, Kelly, Heidi, Lauren, and Megan claimed the cool sunroom converted into sleeping quarters that was off of the terrace. It was like summer camp all over again, even though my parents never let me go to summer and it was winter outside. It was like winter camp. Once settled into our rooms and our bocadillos eaten up, we started to pop bottles. We left the apartment and went to some random little bar down the street named Moby Dick Club (no it´s not a gay bar, I asked). We played it cas (casual) and made it an early night, arriving home around 3:30 am. Then went straight to bed because we had many touristy things to do the next day!

(that's Megan and me)

We were woken up around 10:30 pm (just kidding it was am), to a delicious breakfast consisting of a toasted piece of bread, a fried egg, and a piece of tomato. I´ll take it. Probably 20 hours later (because it´s hard to coordinate 12 people ) we left the apartment, jumped on the metro and were ready to hit up some some sights. Our first stop was at the Puerta del Sol which is like the center of Madrid, a huge plaza. It was neat. Next, we trekked on over to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which is where the King and Queen used to live, but have since moved and it is now used occasionally for functions. We were able to tour 25 out of the 3,000 rooms. Everything was incredibly intricate and elaborate. It was royaly cool. Ha. We made a stop in the gardens that were off of the palace and snapped some shots. Then, decided it was time to head to Plaza Mayor. On the way, Heidi and I spotted a candy store in this huge all glass market called Mercado de San Miguel. Because we have an addiction to cookies, we had to make a quick stop, little did we know it would turn into the coolest stop EVA. Once, inside we ooh´d and ahh´d like it was nothing we had seen before, because it wasn´t like anything we had seen before. The lame pictures I took don´t do it justice. The building was scattered with booth upon booth, each selling something different. Every direction something new to try. There were duelces (sweets), olivey type things, quesos (cheeses), frutas (fruits), mermeladas (marmelade), pescados (fishes), caviar, pastas, croquetas, jamones. I would go back to Madrid just for that market. That´s a strong statement, but totes (totally) true. After an hour everyone left, but me, Heidi, and Kelly stayed for more or less another another 2 hours. That´s how cool it was. A combination of the welcoming atmosphere, the spanish crowd, and the amazing food is what kept us there for that long.
A list of things that we comsumed:
1. Galletas
2. Sangria
3. Queso
4. Pizza
5. Empanada
6. Sangria
7. Mermeladas
8. Frutas
9. Caviar
10. Sangria
11. Croqueta
12. Chocolate musse
...And we spent around 25 euro...each. All worth it. No doubt.
We finally were able to pull ourselves away from what we considered heaven to go eat dinner. We weren´t hungry at all though. The group sat down for dinner around 10:00 pm and feasted on a spaghetti type dish with potatas. After dinner, we readied ourselves for what was a crazy night at Kapital, the supa (super) hip, must go to discoteca in Madrid. Arriving at Kapital around midnight, the lined stretched down the street and around the building. The line went fast and so did our money, having to pay an 18 euro cover charge, although it did include 1 free drink. All 7 stories, yes I said 7, of the club were packed! After exploring some of the floors we nestled in on the first & coolest floor. On stage, there were 3 dancers (male & female) covered in what seemed to be olive oil, wearing skimpy outfits, and dancing awkwardly slowly and off beat to the raging techno music. Also, on the first floor you´d be dancing and suddenly you´d hear a low rumble every 20 minutes... it was the cold air cannon about to blast everyone. It was like the moment was frozen in time and everything went hazy and you were pounded with freezing air (which actually was really refreshing). That was our DTF (Down To Fiesta) night which ended early the next morning with a nocilla & galleta binge.

We got up a bit later that day, due to the late night. For breakfast we were treated with pancakes, potatas, y strawberries. We ate outside on the terrace because it was a beautiful day, exchanged stories about the night before and reminisced about the 7 story playground (Kapital). It was muy bien. Right after breakfast, Kelly and I peaced out and got a head start on that day´s sightseeing. We took the metro to Banco del Espana where the BUSIEST INTERSECTION IN MADRID IS LOCATED. It was o u t o f c o n t r o l. (Side Note: There were rusted metal warrior statues and a boat located in Plaza Nueva in Sevilla that symbolized people from Africa coming into Spain illegally or something? I´m not sure. But one day they magically disappeared and no one had any idea where they had gone.) So, we were walking around by the intersection and stumbled upon THE SAME METAL STATUES. They moved to Madrid! Crazy. Anyways, Kelly and I kept walking and went to el Parque del Retiro. It´s this HUGE park with mazey kind of gardens, a lake, and bunch of cafes and street performers surrounding a quaint, little lake with row boaters. We bought some gummies and were enjoying the scenery by the lake when a creepy old man approached us. He had a combover that started from the very back of his head up to the front and it was super gelled down, mismatched buttons on his shirt, and a strange limp. He started talking to us and I pretended like I didn´t understand what he was saying so he´d leave, but he didn´t. We chatted it up with him for awhile, but were then saved by some American boys who are stuyding in Madrid who watched the whole thing go down. They cut in and took over the conversation. Thank goooooodness. It was funny. We then met up with the whole group and went to el museo de Reína Sofía. There are two glass elevators and this is a picture looking up from the bottom. It was a must see contemporary art museum. The main attraction is the "Guernica" by Picasso. Floors 2-4 were neat, but I really like the first floor. The group left to make dinner while Kelly and I explored the 1st floor. It was super obscure contemporary art. The kind that when you look at it you second guess yourself and look for the actual piece of art because those pieces of wood thrown in the corner could never be the exhibit until you look at the sign next to it and it´s entitled "Wood Pile". No lie. Among the strangest things I saw there were exhibts entitled "Storage" which consisted of wood painted different colors stacked in a corner, "Wall" which was a white wall, and "Circualtion" which was a network of plastic piping linked together with water being pumped through it (I´m positive it was an actual exhibit not just plumbing work being done). Also we had the pleasure of watching a "film" called Sprial Jetty by Robert Smithson. S t r a n g e. It was several 1 minute clips put together of the most bizaare things like, dinosaur skeletons at a museum in black/red light, water dripping, the view from the back of a car as it was driving down a road. Think of the most random thing and it was in there. So Kelly and I sat and watched that film for awhile.. I´m not certain why, but it was intriguing, until we got kicked out because the museum was closing. As we proceeded to exit the museum we saw IT. A 2 story white trailer parked out with bumping music and a plethora of people. We had to go check it out, how could you pass it up? This sign was outside of the trailor.. I think it explains how obscure this place was...By the way it was like a temporary/moving art exhibit, not just some creepy trailer we walked into. So we go inside and it´s super comtemporary inside with clean lines, stacked selves with uniform books, and bright lights. We weren´t actually sure what it was at first and were completeley confused. I spotted a staircase and suggested we take a gander at the 2nd floor. Because the staircase was the size of a baby, only 1 person could use it at a time. After waiting for a crowd of 20 to pass (i was so confused as to how that many people fit up there), we took the stairs, which didn´t have a railing (omg), and arrived to the top. Here, there were long desks that stretched the length of the trailer with large hardcover books that were filled with blank pages that people were writing on, the walls were decked out with the most random pictures ever of people and objects. We then spotted the balconies and went outside. After a couple of pictures and exchanges of confusion we decided it had been enough contemporary for 1 night, so we went back downstairs. Once there, we were greeted by a hipster woman carrying a wooden board with 4 drinks on it, she offered 1 to each of us, so we took them! Sipped our gin & tonics, perused the unsualalities (i just made up that word) and peaced out. It was the strangest/coolest thing ever, truly a ball. I´m so happy we stayed when everyone left. Later, we walked around and ventured into a little spanish bar and ordered a glass of wine and ate a piece of cheese on bread. Yum. We then went home, got ready, ate dinner around 12:00 am (as in MIDNIGHT, hahaa), and tried to decide what we wanted to do that night. The majority of the group wanted to go to Joy which was a discoteca similar to Kapital, but not as cool. I most def didn´t want to do that. Everyone knows I can´t keep a beat and I have no rhythm therefore, I hate dancing. Kelly found a popular Pijo (a name given to the preppy Spaniards who wear pastel Ralph Lauren sweaters with striped button ups underneath, you get the point) Bar and she was told by her friend who studied there last semester that the gay neighborhood bars are always a good time. So we mapped out our stops for the pijo and gay bars and thought we´d be on our way. Well on our way out the door, Lauren (one of the girls we were with) and I realized we didn´t have our IDs so we ran back upstairs and got them while Megan and Nick waited for us. We ended up missing the metro so we took a taxi to Joy to meet up with everyone else. The 4 of us got there way before everyone so we stopped at a near by bar to use the bathroom. As soon as we walked in, some young locals immediately said "Giddies están aquí, Giddies están aquí" (a giddy is the name given to americans who are studying abroad in spain). It was really funny. Anyways, we left that bar, met everyone outside of Joy, but weren´t sure if we wanted to go. We (me, Kelly, Megan, and Nick) took a taxi to the Gay Barrio (neighborhood), but at that point it was like 2:30 am and all of the bars were closing so we took a taxi back home. It was a bit of a bust, but oh well.

We woke up around 10:00 am in our cozy sunroom-bedroom to the sun shining in and the pitter patter of rain on our shafty roof. It was soothing. We had to be out of the apartment later that day at 12:30, so we had to quickly clean up, make breakfast, and come up with a game plan for the day (we were taking the 4:00 bus back to Sevilla). We had a tastey french toast breakfast with eggs. It was still raining a bit and we had to carry our huge backpacks around the city, very inconvenient. We made plans to go to the world famous Museo del Prado. Google it. It was really old, classical paintings, but one of those things you have to go to, to say you´ve been there, ya knoow? Anyways we ventured through the network of metros and finally made it to the Prado and had to wait in line for like 20 minutes in the rain with our heavy bags in order to get inside. Once there, we checked our bags and did a quick run through of the museum, only hitting up the really famous paintings. After seeing the boring (just kidding, it was cool) paintings in the Prado we hopped on the Metro and started our journey back to the bus station. Everything was going smoothly until the last stop. Right after we got off of the metro an older woman approached my roommate, Kelly, and was pointing at her purse saying watch your bag, and then pointed to some men speed walking away from us and said those men are dangerous. We all couldn´t make sense of what was happening until Kelly checked her purse and realized that her buckle was undone and a zipper was open. She immediately threw down her luggage and sprinted after the 3 guys. I quickly yelled for 2 of the boys who were with us to go help her. Then, I grabbed her luggage and my friend Lauren and I go to follow them. We make it up an escalator and are faced with 3 different possible ways they may have gone. We choose the way up to the street. Once at the top, we still don´t see anyone. Oh yea.. keep mind that it´s 3:45 and we have a 4:00 bus ticket. We have no idea where they went so we go back down the escalator. My heart was racing, neither of us had minutes on our phones so we couldn´t call either of the 3. The craziest scenerios were playing out in my head. Finally, after a couple of minutes, they appear at the top of the escalator. Their faces show disappointment. We come to find out that they chased the guy out of the Metro and onto the street where they lost him in the crowd! So, he got away with her wallet, but good news that she didn´t have any money in it, only 2 credit cards which she immediately cancelled and 3 forms of indentification. She still had her passport and camera. Lesson learned. And we made it to the bus in time, too. Crazy, crazy, crazy! We finally got home that night around 10:00 pm. We were soooo exhausted from the weekend and immediately went to sleep!

Overall, Madrid was great!! I had a really good time!! Well worth it!

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