Pisos, amigas, Irlanda, Portugal, y más
Gah, I wish, for my own sake, that I weren’t so bad at keeping this thing updated!
Last Wednesday, I went to my new apartment to pay the rent and deposit and get the key, and I ended up chatting with one of my future roommates (one I hadn’t met) for about an hour, and she was incredibly nice and fun to talk to, and the apartment is as great as I remember, so I left very content with my apartment choice and very excited to have the keys to my first apartment. Hooray for moving there in about a week.
Over the weekend, I met up with both Jessica (Leng, I should specify, since I know four Jessicas who are currently studying abroad in Madrid) and Sara (Hollar, in case you thought my 1-year-old sister flew to Spain on her own), and it was fabulous having two of my closest Prep friends here in Spain with me. Jessica’s here for the semester (although she’s studying at a different university), and Sara will be in Córdoba for the semester but was here over the weekend. A+.
On Friday, I met up with Jessica at El Parque del Retiro (a giant park in Madrid that was originally used as a retreat for the royal family), where I met members of her group and hung out a bit before we went to a café near Jessica’s apartment.
Saturday, I introduced Jessica and her friend Emily to my favorite Madrid restaurant/chain, Cien Montaditos, and then we wandered around Madrid a bit, seeing the Palacio Real (royal palace), Plaza Mayor (the central plaza), and other touristy stuff. I figured out that my future apartment is only a few blocks away from the Palacio Real and its gardens, which I think is pretty awesome (although it would be more awesome if the royal family actually lived there so I could say I’m neighbors with the king of Spain), and our wandering around that day further demonstrated just how easy it is to get around Madrid by foot. After that, we went to the Reina Sofía, the modern art museum, which is free on weekends, where we saw some art that really shouldn’t be art (such as one featuring a black speck on a blank canvas) as well as some Miró (my favorite) and Picasso’s Guernica, which I appreciated more this time than I did when I saw it in the Prado (another Madrid art museum) in 2006.
Sunday, I met Jessica, members of her group, and a friend of one of the members of her group at El Rastro (the Sunday flea market), making it the third Sunday in a row I’ve gone (I’m 3 for 3!). I had planned on buying decorations for my new apartment (because they have lots of fun scarves and other trinkets for sale there), but I didn’t end up finding anything. We then had churros con chocolate near Sol and lunch in Chueca (where I ate my first good bocadillo de tortilla of the trip), and then we split up from the rest of the group and met up with Sara at Sol. The three of us headed over to Retiro with a plan to visit the Prado, which was free after 5, but instead we spent the afternoon/evening lounging and people-watching and chatting in Retiro, which was also very nice.
As for the rest of this week, I have nothing too exciting to report. Class takes up a lot of time and energy each day, and I was sick (only with a cold, but it was draining) early this week, so I mostly hung out in the dorm. So I guess really the only interesting thing I’ve done over the past few days is my Thursday evening Madrid class, where we take a historical tour around a part of Madrid and finish it with tapas and sangría. The tour could be a lot better, especially because our professor talks so quietly it’s impossible to hear what he’s saying if you’re more than a foot away from him, but it’s always fun to end the week at a tapas bar.
More exciting news: I’ve made plans for my break that comes between the end of ILP (Intensive Language Program) and the start of real school! First, Jessica and I booked tickets on Sunday night for four days in Ireland. We’re flying into Dublin and are tentatively planning to also visit Cork and Galway. Then, last night, I made plans with some girls from my group (Robin, another Jessica, and I think Michelle also) to go to Portugal for five days at the beginning of the break. We haven’t figured out our itinerary for that, but we’re flying into Lisbon and then will figure it out from there. And one of the girls is from Brazil so will be able to communicate for us, which will be very helpful. So exciting!
Jessica (Leng — too many Jessicas!) and I also bought tickets for an Amaral concert on October 23rd. Amaral is my favorite Spanish music group, and they aren’t big enough in the U.S. to tour there, so I’m really happy I’ll get to see them live while I’m here.
We have no class on Fridays, so it’s now the weekend for me. I have no plans as of yet, which means lots of time to relax. There’s a possibility we’ll take a day trip to Segovia tomorrow, but we haven’t figured that out yet (neither college students or Spaniards are very big on planning far in advance, so the combination of the two lends to even more type B personality). I’m sure whatever happens something fun will come up.