January 24, 2013 by cmcguigan91
Just a quick update in the midst of orientation;
I am OVERWHELMED!
“Madrid nunca se duerme,” one of my friends told me. She was right! The past four days in Madrid have been loco.
I’m staying at Hotel Moderno, which is right in the Plaza del Sol.
I’ve been exploring, eating tapas, drinking lots of wine (Spanish wine is FANTASTICO), and getting used to the fast paced Spanish that surrounds me everywhere I go.
The day we planned to go to the Palacio Real de Madrid, it was closed because a diplomat was visiting. We walked instead to La Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, and then walked around the city. Later, we visited Museo del Prado, and saw some gorgeous paintings by El Greco, Diego de Valázquez, and Francisco de Goya.
I had my first paella! Deliciosa!
Everywhere we go is within walking distance, so I’ve been getting my exercise! The architecture in Madrid is wonderful. It’s a big, busy city, but everywhere you go the buildings are different and beautiful. You can’t walk anywhere without being accosted by people handing out flyers for lunch specials or clubs. The whole time I’ve been here it’s been Spanglish chaos. Most of the people that I have encountered are very patient and helpful waiting for me to find the right word, or saying something a few times until I understand. “Más despacio, por favor,” is my new favorite phrase.
This morning we went to El Escorial, an hour north of Madrid. There, we went to the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial. It is a royal palace and monastery, where all of the Bourbon kings and queens of Spain have been buried. We went through rooms and rooms of marble caskets and tombs. I expected it to have a somber feel, but the magnificence of it amazed me. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We also saw the private library of Philip II. It contains 50,000 of some of the oldest, hand-written books in the world. Increíble.
It’s been a little hard getting used to everything. I’m so glad I got to meet my friend Julia for drinks the other night!
I’m slowly adjusting to the Spanish lifestyle. It’s 8pm now and I’m headed off to find some tapas. Tomorrow I’ll be waking up early to finally head to Granada. No puedo esperar!