First couple weeks in Madrid!

Hi everyone, sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve caught you up on my Spanish conquest! I can’t believe I’ve already been here for a month. Time is truly flying by (as I knew it would) and I am doing my best to soak up every last second of it. I have been doing a lot this past month, but starting this weekend I really begin my travels all around Europe!  It’s weird to think that I’m pretty much 100% used to living in Madrid. Now when I go out of town, I am relieved to return back to Madrid as it is a familiar place and my temporary “home”.

Things I LOVE(d):

1. The Cerveceria – there is a chain of cervecerias called 100 Montaditos that we have come to find is extremely popular all over Spain. There is one in between our apartment and school and we go there quite often. On Wednesdays and Sundays, everything on the menu is only 1 euro. It has 100 different kinds of bocadillas (mini sandwhiches) and really cheap but really good beer. We often get tapas here or grab a casual beer before going out. Me drinking beer? I know, it’s weird. Must be a Spain thing. Image

2. Soccer – Something I was really worried about before coming to Spain was how often I would be able to exercise and where/what I would do. Lucky for me, my university provides lots of fun workout classes and pickup games, my favorite being soccer every Sunday from 2-4! I thought I would be terrible the first time because it’s been so long since I’ve played but that wasn’t the case. As the only girl showing up to what was supposed to be a coed pickup game, I managed to score two goals and assist one. The only bad news about the timing of these games is that I will be gone lots of weekends coming up. Still though, knowing there is a soccer field 10 mins walking away is really nice!

3. Night life – I’m sure you all are wondering how the night life is. It’s insane it what it is. Going out at midnight, staying out until 7am… it’s a crazy lifestyle! There are two huge night clubs Joy and Kapital that are quite famous in Madrid. They are both HUGE with giant dance floors and loud music. It’s a fun environment and activity however It’s so intense that I must keep it to minimum of maybe once every two weeks. When we aren’t at a club, we often hit up local bars, some with dancing others with soccer games on TV, etc.  Also, I may have already mentioned this but there is an AMAZING pizza place in Sol (where all the bars and clubs are) that we go to almost every night after being out. I’ve made friends with one of the workers and every time I come in he yells “Hola Adriana!” allows me to cut the entire line and usually gives me free pizza. Then he proceeds to make a comment about how much my friends and I eat and we talk about our days (in Spanish of course). I love it.

4. Retiro Park – By far the most beautiful park I have seen in my life. Sorry, Central Park, you just aren’t quite there. Imagine that but bigger and more beautiful with some of the prettiest and most interesting architecture you’ve ever seen. Not to mention the little lake in the middle of it. I spent almost two full days roaming around the park as one was simply not enough! The first day, we walked the streets surrounding the park and ate at a bomb restaurant where I had amazing chicken curry.

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Then we walked through the park and saw the Palacio de Cristal! It was breathtakingly beautiful. Image

After that, we walked through a contemporary art museum in the park. To my surprise, it had some really cool stuff!

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On day 2 at Retiro, we got a bottle of wine, rented a paddle boat, and paddled in the lake for an hour. It was beautiful and relaxing! Here James doing all the work while I sat back and relaxed…

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And a view of this really cool thing…

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That day we also attempted to visit Museo del Prado but it was closed. We did see really cool buildings, walked into an old church, and witnessed a big (apparently famous) bike race where people from all over the world were gathered to watch.

5. FOUND PEANUT BUTTER!!!

One of the things I had been craving was typical American food. All they eat here are tapas, bread, more bread, carbs, potatos, bread, and like maybe one slice of meat with it all. I’m constantly craving fresh ingredients, protein, and even sugar as I walk so much and don’t get a lot of fuel. One day while wandering in a grocery store I came across a jar of peanut butter. It literally made me so happy, I bought bread and jam and must have made 3 PB&J’s right there. Fun fact. It was delicious.

Things that were funny and/or weird:

1. Bought a 2″ hair straightener…

I was in desperate need of a hair straightener so I went to a common department store called El Corte Ingles. I got the cheapest one, only 13 euros. The box looked normal sized and the picture was most definitely of a hair straightener, so took it home. When I got home I opened the box to literally find a 2″ hair iron, one that could fit in the palm of my hand. Are you kidding?! Low and behold on the back of the box it said “his and hers” meaning it was nothing more than a bangs straightener (or something weird.) As IF that would work on my mane of hair.

2. I look Serbian

I’m not kidding when I say that on three completely separate occasions, three complete strangers have approached me and directly asked if I was Serbian. They swear I look soooo Serbian. I thought that was interesting because I’ve never heard that and don’t remotely know what Serbians look like. It made me happy though! Looking exotic is a good thing, right?

3. Two of my roommates switched to kitchen privileges…

…meaning I awkwardly eat alone. Well actually it’s me and our 4th roommate “The Russian” as we call her since she doesn’t speak English or Spanish and we really don’t even know how to pronounce her name. Makes for interesting table “conversations” filled with gesturing, awkward nodding, and laughing. When all fails and the language barrier brings you down, giggle. That’s what I’ve learned thus far.

Moral of the story, Madrid has been treating me more than well so far. I’ve gone on two day trips to Toledo and Segovia and one weekend trip to Valencia since I’ve gotten here but I will talk about those in my next post. Don’t wanna overwhelm you!

For now, I love you all and miss you all. This week I am sitting FRONT ROW at a Real Madrid soccer game and then I am off to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest!

Oh, and here’s a pretty picture of flowers that I took with my new camera.Image

xoxo, Adrienne

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