Maybe the reason they yell is that they can’t hear each other.
2009/09/29 § 1 Comment
Hola todos! I’ve made it through my first full day in Madrid, with no disasters, few near misses, and no migraines! Totally unlike my last trip to Europe, I slept for an hour and a half, woke up at 1.30am, went back to sleep after 2, woke up at 6.30am, hung out on skype with Dad and one of his tech people trying to get Alyssa’s computer to play nice with the internet (which it never did, gar), read for a while, and went back to sleep about 9. We woke up about 12.30ish and decided that we should get up for the day.
We were going to have churros and chocolate for breakfast, but it was too late for desayuno, and so sandwiches it was, and then exploring! We went to Puerta del Sol, which is this huge plaza lined with shops, and has some statues (although I can honestly say that I doubt there is a plaza without at least one), and a couple of metro entrances. We wandered around in a circle out from Sol and back, and found a couple of funny things:
1. El Corte Ingles, a giant store here, is giant. And by giant, I mean it occupies multiple buildings. And each building probably has at least 5 floors. Giant. We wandered around for a while, admiring the Hugo Boss, Armani, and other such lovely things. Yeah, we’ll be shopping there. ‘scuse me while I wipe the drool off my face.
2. H&M has 3 separate stores within a stone’s throw of each other. The first one was a little narrow store with 4 or 5 floors, and pretty boring decor. The second one, in a word: ornate. Like, there was a lobby, and it was black and white and had chandeliers. And staircases that wrapped around the walls to the second floor. But it was pretty much the same stuff, and the prices weren’t any more than at the first store. We didn’t explore very much. And the third store? Who knows. But it could have been decorated like a circus for all that H&M likes uniformity.
3. In the bookstore we explored, the titles all went the opposite way of how they are in American bookstores. Where the spine of the book would have the author’s name on top, then the title, and you read across a row of books where the top of the letters are to the right, and you read across the row, in Spanish bookstores the author is on the top, title on the bottom, and the top of the letters go to the left! It’s just different enough that you have to stop and think about it before you can keep looking at books.
4. And of course, there were two Starbucks and a Mcdonalds all within the same two blocks.
We found ourselves back in Sol, and headed towards Plaza Mayor, another major plaza, and it was beautiful. Took some pictures, and wandered out and away, and then found we were headed towards a major cathedral finished in 1993 after a hundred years of construction. Se llama (it’s called) La Catedral de Santa Maria Real de la Almudena, and it’s huge! A euro to get in, and we wandered around taking pictures. It’s interesting, because it’s so big, but it wasn’t like any other cathedral I’ve been in. The paintings were quite modern, as were the ceilings. I’ve never really been in a Catholic Cathedral, and I was surprised by the capillas, or the chapels, on the sides of the church, and how they were all dedicated to santos and santas (saints). Each one had a painitng or a sculpture of said saint, and explained how they were canonized. The really interesting thing is that, naturally, all the permanent explanations were in Spanish, but there weren’t any in any other language. In the States, I feel like there would be at least a guide in other languages for visitors, but in the Cathedral I felt like visitors were a necessary nusiance. Maybe they don’t have to rely on donations? If so, that’s great, and I’m glad that the Church is so solid, but I honestly kind of doubt it. Maybe they just don’t like visitors.
Next door is the Palacio Real, but we didn’t go inside. We’re saving that for another day. Next to the Plaza de Oriente, and then back a different way to Sol. And from that direction, right on the plaza we found….
A YARN SHOP!!!!
And I was very happy.
Back to the hostel to regroup, and then to a mercado to get some food. I got some tortitas, which are somewhere between thing rice or oatmeal cakes, and overly cooked mini tortillas.
At 8.30pm we met up with Maggie, the sister-in-law of Alyssa’s 7th grade teacher (I know, random) for a drink. So much fun! She has lots of energy, and was super excited that we were there, and told us a ton about being Americans in Madrid. And also, introduced us to this yummy drink called clara con limon, a mixed half beer-half lemon little drink. It sounds strange, but it’s really good.
Alyssa and I had dinner at a little restorante called El Secreto about 10ish. We each had ensalada verde con chorizo casero (sausage) y patatas asado (roasted potato). Very tasty, but we had to wait forever for the cuenta (bill), probably because we forgot the word for bill. Earlier, Maggie had told us that the Spanish all yell at each other, and it’s not really anything personal, it’s just how it happens. And while we were at dinner, we definately agreed that the reason they yell is that they can’t hear each other. And the reason they can’t hear each other, is because they yell!
Earlier I called my host mom, to make sure we were planning on the same time for me to arrive tomorrow, and she thought my Spanish was really good! She even told me should could understand me…which is a really good thing, since she speaks no English. I’ll definately be learning Spanish faster than I even thought I would. Tomorrow I meet Nieves, my host mom, and my two host sisters. How exciting!
Hasta luego, un beso-