Because little old ladies expect you to help them cross the street
2009/10/03 § 3 Comments
Hola todos! I have now been in Madrid for almost six days. The city and I are getting know each other, and are getting past the rough spots of getting lost, not understanding each other, and being hungry and grouchy when not fed at times previously accustomed to.
Wednesday morning Alyssa and I got up, packed up our stuff (which exploded all over our hostel room for all of…two nights) and went out for desayuno, and had churros and chocolate! Lots of sugar, very early in the morning. I have to say, dipping freshly warm churros in the most delicous chocolate ever…pretty dang good.
Back to the hostel to hang out until it was time to leave for our homestays! Then came the brutal part: navigating the metro with our luggage. So many stairs! It didn’t help that it was much hotter underground than above it, so by the time we made it to the actual train, we were a mess. We each had a different metro to get us to our final destinations, so we wished each other buena suerte, and set off! When I got to my metro stop (Avenida de America, in case anyone is interested), I tried to figure out which direction I was supposed to start walking (I had written out directions to my homestay), picked one….and figured out it was the wrong way. So I turned around, and after walking for what seemed like ages, but was probably only 15 or 20 minutes (I did have my giant duffle with me), I finally found it! I almost died of happiness when I figured out there was an elevator, and a very nice man helped me get my luggage up the stairs into the lobby.
And then I met Nieves! Got the five cent tour of our piso, which is adorable and I love it. Unpacked (finally! no more living out of a suitcase!) and showered, which was the best part of my day. I was introduced to the Spanish tortilla at lunch (a big egg, potato, thing…yeah, I know, super descriptive) and then wandered around the neighborhood for a while. I found a mercado, a place to buy a SIM card, and other random places. It’s a cute neighborhood!
That night I made myself a sandwich and tried to get some sleep before my first day of school on Thursday! I’ll be going to the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, at their Centro de Estudios Hispanicos, or CEHI. Thursday morning we had our speaking assessments, orientation presentation, and got our horarios (schedules). I’m taking 12 units, one class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11.20 (problems in grammar), and three on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-2.20 (art in the Prado, Spanish language, and composition and conversation). No classes on Friday, and none before 10am! Hooray!
Thursday evening I hung out with Melissa, a girl from the SDSU program, and we got drinks and freaky looking chicken wings, and randomly enough, ran into Alyssa and Tim on our way back to the metro at Sol! Miraculous needle in haystack. So we stayed out a bit later (not that much) roaming Sol and looking for cheap booze. Easier said than done in the biggest tourist trap ever, but if you’re persistent, they’re there.
Friday, I slept in (no school and jetlag!), and Alyssa, Melissa, and I went exploring, looking for la Varguada, a giant mall here in Madrid. Huge it is, but the best part (haha, oh man are students) was finding the Spanish version of WalMart. Yay for cheap shampoo and a hair dryer! We headed back so Alyssa wouldn’t miss dinner, and later Alyssa and I met up for a nice quiet dinner for me/coffee for her, and an early night.
Saturday! Up “early” to go to el Parque del Retiro, a GIANT, BEAUTIFUL park in Madrid, about a 15-20 min. metro ride away. I’m sorry New Yorkers, but el Retiro makes Central Park look like…Kit Carson Park. Really. This place must have a fleet of about 600 gardeners to keep it all shiny and beautiful like it is. Not that I’m hating on Central Park! Much love there too, but this just took my breath away. Everything green and gorgeous and just starting to change colors, the statues, fountains, gardens (the rose garden!), the Crystal Palace…amazing. Pictures will be up very soon.
On the way to the park, we were waiting for a light to turn, and little old lady just started talking to us, about how pretty we are (aw, shucks) and how pretty our smiles are (now I’m blushing). And then when the light turned, woo hoo, there go all three of us across the street, me with a little old lady hanging off my arm. Lordy.
About 1 or 1.30 we headed back, for some well deserved siesta time. Now it’s Saturday night, and we’re headed out! Jazz bar tonight, and el Rastro tomorrow, a giant art/flea/leather/whatever market. Fun times.
Hasta luego, un beso-