Saturday, May 24, 2014

Experiencing Madrid!

The first couple of days in Spain have been soo great!  Breakfast at the hotel today wasn't quite what we're used to as Americans.  We had croissants, with ham and cheese, and café con leche.  I don't know if thats a normal thing in Europe, or if our hotel was feeding us for lunch! But, it was nice considering they don't eat lunch until the 'siesta' around 2 or 3, so it tided me over.  A siesta is when shops and everything close for the trabajadores to take a nap or eat lunch because lunch is their biggest meal of the day, like dinner in America.

We took the bus to Toledo the first day, which is one of the oldest cities in Spain.  It was by far, my favorite place yet!  It was such an old, and charming city, with narrow streets and hanging baskets with flowers everywhere!

We got lunch at a small café, and then toured a beautiful cathedral and synagog.

On the way home, the bus dropped a few of us off that wanted to go to an art museum called Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.  We had a few hours to kill because it wasn't free admission until 7.  So, we went to a nearby park and walked around a little. We also went inside the train station in the center of town looking for a bathroom.  When we finally found one we had to pay .60 euros to use it!  After that, we made our way to the museum where we saw lots of protestors.  Signs said "podemos" which means "we can."  I'll have to research more what thats all about but there seems to be a lot of it all throughout the city.

Today, we took a walking tour through the city, and went to another art museum called Museo de Prado.  I liked this one much better than yesterday because it was a lot more of the paintings I recognized from school like el Greco, Diego Valazquez, and Francisco de Goya.  It was cool to see the actual paintings that you read about and study in class!  The other art museum had lots of abstract art from Picasso, and the famous painting called "Guernica," which I definitely took a picture of before I read the sign saying "fotos son prohibidos!"…oops (shhh).

After the art museum, we walked to the Royal Palace.  This was beautiful!  Today was much warmer than the past few days, so it was a perfect walk.  We toured 25 of the hundreds of rooms in the palace, which were all so ornate with paintings on the ceilings, and gold everywhere, tapestries on the walls, and marble floors.  I couldn't imagine living in something like that!

On the way back, I try to take everything in and listen to the people playing accordians and saxophones in the streets.  I love the atmosphere here!  Tonight is the big World Cup "fútbol" game with two teams from Madrid (which rarely happens), so everyone is wearing their jerseys and getting excited for the game!  It'll be fun to experience and watch tonight!

Tomorrow, we leave for San Sebastian, and I will meet my host family Monday (lunes :)).  I am super excited to meet my family for the next month and see the beach and the town!

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