Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Ohhhhh my gosh. Okay, so forgive me if this ends up being 948209349384 years long, but seriously, it’s going to need to be. I spent the past weekend in Madrid and it was nothing short of amazing! I’m back in Sevilla now, we got back late Monday night, but wow, let me just get right into my time in Madrid!
So we left early Friday morning, our bus was at 9am. Of course, when you live in Sevilla, this means getting up at seven, breakfast at 7:30, walking out of the house by 8 in order to be settled and ready in the bus station by 8:30 to be ready to go. Also, when your friend Ky decides to misplace her bus ticket the night before, being early is crucial. Of course, the situation was made even more complex because Adrienne had bought Ky’s ticket on her card, so Ky’s name wasn’t on the list. Finally the lady found it under Adrienne’s name. GAHH. So after we sorted that situation out, (they printed her a new one), we headed down and eventually boarded the bus.
Little did Adrienne and I know when we picked our seats online, but we had picked the HANDICAPPED SEATS SO WE HAD A TON OF EXTRA ROOM THE WHOLE RIDE THAT WE WERE SOOOOO EXCITED ABOUT! Ah, it was bliss. The ride there was pretty smooth, it was 6 hours long, but it really didn’t seem that long. We stopped about three hours in for a break, which was GREAT because anyone who knows me knows that I cannot go more than ten minutes without having to pee. We got to Madrid around 3:15, and then came the worst part. The walk to our hostel. First of all, it was somewhat intimidating having the bus drop you off in a huge city you know absolutely nothing about, with three other girls (our friend Daisy joined us) and nothing but a hostel address and a map. Luckily, Adrienne, as always, took charge and got us there. It was NOT a fun walk though. I had a backpack and a carry on suitcase, and two layers of jackets I had to take off because it was SO HOT! Everyone had told me that Madrid was going to be colder than Sevilla, but that day, not so much. So it probably took us a good 45 minutes to get to our hostel, Magda Hostel, and by the time we got there, I was definitely sweating. Our OTHER friend, Daysy (not to be confused with Daisy #1 that I already talked about) had already checked in and met us there too. So we checked in, and it was a pretty nice hostel. We had a 6-person room, so it was the five of us and our other roomie from Norway, Olga. They had two bathrooms for everyone to share, which did get a little tricky in the mornings when it was a cluster to get in the shower, but for the most part, not too many problems.
So after we got in, we made our beds, settled in our stuff, and then headed out to explore Madrid! Didn’t take too long for the first fail of the journey. Daysy needed to go to an ATM to take money out, right? Normal. So she goes to take it out. Puts her card in, it doesn’t work the first time. Naturally, as anyone would, she tries again. BIGGEST MISTAKE. The machine ate her card. She couldn’t get it back. Mind you, it’s Friday after five and the bank is closed until Monday. She had four euros on her at the time. She left her emergency card in Sevilla. If this was me, I probably would have freaked out, cried, called my mom and made her book me a flight home. But Daysy handled it better than I could ever have! She talked to the people on the phone IN SPANISH, but they couldn’t really help her. So she went back to the hostel, and ended up getting it all figured out, card cancelled, etc and got euros wired to her for the weekend! So that was set. So her card remains in that Madrid ATM and its fate is unknown, but at least it was all handled!
So after this ordeal, Ky, Adrienne, and I went to meet up with our friend Andi Lau, from GORDON studying in Madrid! We met her at Puente de Sol, which is like the main meeting spot in Madrid! Huge fountains, tons of stores, tons of people. Very cool. After meeting up with her, I had one thing on my mind that I wanted to hit first. I had heard that there was a DUNKS in Madrid, so I HAD TO FIND IT!!!! So we found that, and I was overjoyed!
Overjoyed, that is, until I ordered. Of course, I can’t get what I want when it comes to coffee here. No French vanilla, no skim milk..gah. So I ordered an iced coffee with milk, which the menu had said cost 1.90. When the man told me 3.30, I was a bit confused, but apparently Spain considers coffee and milk an iced latte, which was 3.30. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS COUNTRY AND COFFEE. NEVER HAVE NEVER WILL. Well, down to four months until I’m reunited with GOOD coffee. I miss you Dunks. Can’t wait. The coffee wasn’t bad, but nothing special either. But I was happy that I had at least found Dunks and got to pretend for a few seconds that I was home.
So after that, Andi showed us el Parque de Retiro. I’m not one to usually like parks, but this place was ABSOLUTELY amazing looking! So many pretty sights, cute buildings, and a nice body of water. It got even more beautiful when the sun set, and so hence we obviously went crazy taking pictures. But really it was so beautiful and definitely one of my favorite parts of Madrid!!
(I know this is blurry but THE COOLEST PICCC right! The sunset was gorgeous!)
So by the time we left the park it was about 8, and we were starving. The bocadillos (sandwiches) our señoras had packed us for lunch were wearing off fast! So the three of us wanted to find some cheap dinner somewhere. Usually in Sevilla that’s not hard, because you can find any tapa place and order two or three tapas that are cheap, but good sized and fill you up! Madrid…not so much. It was almost impossible for us to find a tapa place, we searched high and low, and no such luck. We ended up in a restaurant that had told us there were tapas, but not really. We split croquetas and a salmon pasta dish. Croquetas were solid, some filled with chicken, the others ham. Salmon pasta…NOT so much. First problem, normally when I see the word pasta, I think of noodles. Not necessarily a croissant. This thing came out as raw salmon in a croissant type thing with cheese and a mayonnaise-y type of dressing. I mean it wasn’t AWFUL, there were parts where I actually enjoyed what I was tasting, but definitely nothing I’d get again. But hey, we got food, and that’s what was important!
So after dinner, we made our way back to the hostel, which was pretty close to everything, which was really nice. Later on, we met Andi again, along with her friend Erica, who apparently was Miss Teen Iowa which is pretty SICK, to do some bar hopping and explore the bars of Madrid. Okay, another LARGE difference between Sevilla and Madrid…YOU CAN GET SO MANY FREE DRINKS IN MADRID! I had TWO free Sangrias, and after that a few of them even got free beer! We all know how I am about beer, so I passed that opportunity up, but still! So weird. Bars just want to give everything away! Sadly, they all hope that you stay in them all night, but we were pretty quick to bounce after we had our drinks! After that, we went to El Palacio, another place that was giving out free drinks. I passed up the offer, BUT we stayed at this one all night because of the DANCE FLOOR! We were a few of the first people to start dancing (it was early..12ish), but eventually it got pretty full and it was really fun! My other two friends, Brittany and Brittany (weird that all of my friends have the same names?) found us there too! It was awesome.
So we all ended up dancing together and staying until about 2:30 in the morning! Kind of weak I guess for Spain time, but we had had a busy day!
So we headed for bed! The next morning was Saturday, and we all got up relatively early for how late we’d been out…but we didn’t want to miss the free breakfast at the hostel! Gotta travel cheap. Haha! Breakfast was nothing special, just toast and coffee and stuff, but it was good! It was always kind of a cluster with all the people in the hostel scrounging around for food, seats, and all sharing one microwave and toaster oven, but it worked! So after that, Daysy and I ran for a bit around the city! It was cool to run by all the new sights and stuff. After that, we all went out for the day! We met Andi again at Puente de Sol, and she took us to Plaza Mayor, which is like a big plaza with restaurants, some touristy attractions, some shopping, etc! Photos below OBVI! We also walked by the Palacio Real, a famous palace, but didn’t go in, just took pictures from the outside and dreamed of being on the inside.
walked by the Palacio Real, a famous palace, but didn’t go in, just took pictures from the outside and dreamed of being on the inside.
THE EXACT CENTER OF ALL OF SPAIN! How sick is that! Most famous meeting point!
After that, she showed us Spain’s version of Quincy Market, only more classy and the food looked way better! Can't remember the name. So we walked through that and tried not to let our mouths water too much. IT WAS TOUGH.
After that, we went to have lunch at a park-ish thing by the Opera House. Of course we took pictures, had lunch, and enjoyed the afternoon.
We then visited Madrid’s version of the Plaza de España, which by the way Sevilla’s version COMPLETELY conquers. Madrid’s is cute, statue of Don Quijote, some nice trees, but Sevilla’s is way better!
And so then after that, we plunked ourselves on some grass and relaxed for a bit, which was really fun. Two of her friends, Mandy and Krystal, who are also at the University of Madrid, met up with us there and then we all went to an AMAZING coffee place, Faborit! I got ICED COFFEE WITH SOYMILK IN IT! That, I can officially say, was Spain doing coffee RIGHT..for ONCE! So pleased. So we hung out there for a bit, and then at six the Prado museum opened up to the public for FREE! So we of course hit that up. I can’t say I was enthralled, I mean, it’s a museum. But I do love the paintings of Velazquez and Murillo, and Goya’s were pretty good too! Place is seriously HUGE though, I would totally have gotten lost if I was by myself.
After that, we left our friends, and Adrienne, Ky, and I got pizza for dinner and ate it in the Puente de Sol. Probably the most intimidating place I’ve ever gotten pizza from. You get in line, they scream at you, asking you to pick your two selections from all that are in front of you, grab what you want, they throw it in the toaster, you move up and pay as fast as you can. Seriously, like it was intense. I can’t really put it into words how scared I was, but all I can say is don’t get in line if you don’t know what you want! I had part of a veggie calzone, and a piece of caprese pizza! Delish.
After that, we had a big night ahead of us. We went back to the hostel for a bit to freshen up and change, then headed out to meet Andi, Erica, Krystal, and Mandy at a Hawaiian bar. THIS PLACE WAS SICK! So you order one drink to split between 6 people, and it comes out in a VOLCANO!!!! The drink we ordered was called Dr. Fuzz. No idea what was in it, but it was fruity and delicious! They then give you peanuts, fried corn, ham sandwiches, and chips! Oh, and don’t forget the lays and flowers to dress you up! It was awesome, so much fun and only cost 6 euro! Great experience, and very cool place.
After that, we walked around a bit with them, and then they left us, because we had BIG plans for the night! Madrid’s famous club is KAPITAL. 7 different floors, bars on every one, karaoke, insane amounts of people, etc. So around 1, we met up with a bunch of our friends and got in line for that! We got in around 1:30, had some drinks at the bar, and then danced the night away! I’ll be honest, I think the place is a little hyped up for what it was. It was pretty crowded, and pretty hard to move, and the dance floors were somewhat small, but it was still a SICK place! There were shows that went on on stage, and the BEST part was when a cloud of smoke/air would shoot down from the ceiling! Happened every 15 minutes or so. It was wicked cool, you definitely couldn’t see anything when it happened and every time Adrienne Ky and I said we thought one of us was going to disappear! So that club was fun, but not like out of this world. We left at like 5:30am, of course, the Spain way! Felt great.
Next morning, woke up relatively early..9ish, didn’t want to miss breakfast, and we didn’t want to waste the day sleeping either. So we had breakfast, Daysy and I ran again (not entirely sure how I got the energy to do so, but after I woke up surprisingly I was alive and ready to face the day! Adrienne..not exactly. And let’s just say Ky skipped breakfast.) But afterwards we went to la Reina Sofia, aka a modern art museum, which had Picasso’s Guernica!!! SOO COOL, and absolutely surreal to be standing in front of. There was more cool modern art there too, but I was kind of dead from my lack of sleep the night before to really be looking at a million different paintings. Regardless, the museum was cool!
After that we got lunch and ate in Puente de Sol, which was nice! Our plan after that WAS to go to a street flea market that they have apparently every Sunday, but we got there around 4, and it was closed! Early bird gets the worm I guess. So after that, we were all pretty tired, so we went back to the hostel and chilled for a bit! But Ky, Adrienne and I didn’t want to waste time and still wanted to see more of MADRID! So, of course we had no idea what to do on our own, so Ky made best friends with the woman who worked at the hostel, who gave us some recommendations. So we set out around six, got another soy iced coffee of amazingness at Faborit, and went to hit up some places! We walked a ton around the city, but I’m pretty sure the only place on the list we actually MADE it to was the train station, but it WAS THE COOLEST TRAIN STATION I’VE EVER SEEN! It’s so cool because there is like a legit plant growing inside of it. It’s huge. Like a forest in there! So we probably spent a good solid HOUR in there, taking pictures and what not, but it was so much fun and so worth it! I don’t think I stopped laughing.
After that, we had dinner, and then did what we had been waiting to do since we GOT THERE. HIT UP MADRID’S BEST CHURRO PLACE OBVIOUSLY!!!! This place was sick. It was a legit sit down restaurant where you order and they serve the churros to you. We split churros and chocolate, which were absolutely delicious! But wait, it gets better guys. So we came to realize that more people go for the chocolate rather than the churros. These people actually get the chocolate and straight up just DRINK IT. So the two men next to us we noticed drank all their chocolate but didn’t touch the churros. NATURALLY, WE DID NOT WANT TO SEE THEM GO TO WASTE!!! So when the waitor came down to take the churros away after the two had left, we asked for the leftover churros, and though he wasn’t too impressed with us, he GAVE THEM TO US! Free seconds on churros? YEAH! It was hilarious, awesome, and obviously DELICIOUS!
2nd plate free? Okay.
After that, we were pretty tired, so we made it an early night. We got back to the hostel, packed, and then went to bed! Sadly, Monday was our last day there! But we still had fun and made the most of it. We got up, had breakfast, and at first got nervous because it was raining, but once it stopped, we decided to go to the Palacio Real again, and actually pay this time to get in! 5 euro, but SO worth it! It was such a cool place and we got a ton of cool pictures!
After that, we didn’t really have much time to do anything else. We headed back to the hostel, grabbed lunch to go, and then headed out to board the bus around two to head back to Sevilla! Unfortunately for Adrienne and I, we weren’t lucky and didn’tget the handicapped seat, but Ky did. But she kind of got jipped considering the lady next to her took up the entire seat. Fun times for Ky! But the ride back wasn’t too bad, seemed about the same as the first.
Some solid views though :) Loved that!
I was DEFINITELY ready to be back in Sevilla, though, when it was all over! I LOVED LOVED LOVED Madrid, but I think I totally made the right choice by coming here. Fits me SO much and it felt so good to come home to! We made it home by like 8:15, but then of course walked back to our homestays, so I finally was home around 9. Long weekend, but SO much fun and SO worth it!
Just so you are aware, this post has officially taken me ALL DAY! Never ending. But I'm glad I wrote all I did. You can pick and choose what to read, I understand it's deathly long, but it was SUCH a fun weekend and I'm so happy I went!
ONE LAST THING BEFORE I DEPART FOR BED..it's 12:28 here on March 3rd, wanted to give a big 19 year old birthday shout out to my sister and best friend in the world! I miss you every day Krit, wish I could be with you on your birthday SO badly! I love you so much and you're the biggest blessing in my life. Miss you always, have the best day in the world and you know that I'm with you in spirit, because I carry your heart and you carry mine. I LOVE YOU!
Alright, now I'm really hitting the hay! But just so you know, WE JUST OFFICIALLY BOOKED BARCELONA! :) March 17th-20th! SO EXCITED. Another city to conquer! Can't even wait.
Buenas noches all :)
PS -- How sick is this? LOVE IT!