Until now, my time in Spain has been relatively relaxing. Sleeping in until noon everyday, I passed my time lazily on Mabella’s beaches. The days passed by without me noticing, and Marbella left me with a few photos and a killer suntan. Galacia also brought more beaches, great meals, and conversation. I was grateful for this time to unwind. This summer was, to be blunt, the worst. Taking Statistical Analysis in Public Policy and International Economics on the banks of the Red Cedar consumed all of my time, and to top it off I became a telemarketer. Yes, I was a telemarketer. I was constantly reminded that I was too old to spend a summer poolside every day. Is this the real world? So, stealing another summer of childhood, I was able to recharge my batteries with these twenty something days of relaxation for the exciting school year ahead of me in Valencia.
But could I really leave Madrid without seeing it? It is the capital of Spain for heavens sake. Finding myself with one day between leisure and academia, we took to the streets of Madrid. Now, tackling any city in one day is just…. Not possible. Due to Madrid’s antiquity, the city is extremely spread out, making this feat all the more impossible. We settled on seeing an overview of the city with the thought that I’ll simply have to come back to explore it more. It just so happens that my parents and Martha will be joining me in Madrid in a month.
Madrid is an incredible city. As I mentioned before, I was expecting a concrete metropolis with busy people. I was wrong. Nearly all of the buildings have antique facades and there are only four skyscrapers. It isn’t suffocating as I find many other cities. And the people are still… Spanish. They slowly enjoy their tapas, wander the streets, and sit in outdoor terraces with coffees. Everything that I dislike in a city was absent in Madrid. I fell in love with it. I would also need years to explore all of the museums, buildings, gardens, monuments, fountains, stores and restaurants/bars.
It wouldn’t be right to leave Madrid without seeing her treasured Royal Palace. Wonderstruck doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. We were not allowed to take photos, so you will just have to visit, there’s no way to describe it. Enormous rooms used by the kings of Spain with pure gold decoration, vaulted ceilings with the most incredible frescos in the world, enormous chandeliers in every room, intricate tapestries, and priceless artifacts and paintings. The grounds also house the royal pharmacy and armory. The armory was incredible. It had armor of the kings and the royal horses, which was so intricate. It was interesting to see how the armor had changed over time as well. Most of it was from the fifteenth century. My neck is still sore from craning for long periods of time to see the frescos, my favorite part. If you don’t know, my hope and dream is to become a princess like Kate Middleton, and this visit only reinforces that notion.
Coming down from the awe of the royal palace, we wandered down Calle del Sol and into La Plaza Mayor where we had a diet coke on a terrace and listened to some music. While in Italy I had an experience similar to this with the terraces, and it made me very excited for my parents to join me in a month. During this time I was able to see more beautiful buildings, which seam so common in Madrid. Back in the mitten, even one of these buildings would be preserved as a piece of history due to its beauty. Living in such a new country it is difficult to comprehend the ancient culture, tradition and history that encompasses a place such as Madrid. It is hard to believe that people live there and are lucky enough to see these pieces of history every day.
For lunch we met up with Lucia’s parents Rosa and Alvaro and went to a market. This market has many different stands each selling a different thing. The point is to pick up small amounts of many different things to eat. There was a stand for wine, for croquettas, for Spanish ham, for bread, fruit etc etc etc. I am convinced that American’s do not dine appropriately. Why not have six different dishes to share, instead of one to yourself? The food was great and it was fun to see all of the different dishes. For dessert we went to an old chocolateria. The establishment had been there since the 1890s and I was told that it had the best chocolate in Madrid. So I drank a cup of chocolate and some churros. Maybe there was some milk in the chocolate, but I’m pretty sure it was literally a cup of chocolate. I don’t even feel bad about it. The diet can start tomorrow.
Afterwards we drove through the streets of Madrid, picking out many things that I need to come back and see. Mom, Dad and Martha- prepare. I was also allowed to use the segway again to explore Pozuelo since I didn’t die on my trial run, so it was fun to see where Alex and his family actually live. Anyways, I write this all to you from the high-speed train to Valencia as I begin the next chapter in this adventure. I had a great time with Alex’s family and I am so grateful that they allowed me to tag along. Hasta luego Madrid, hola Valencia!