Monday, March 12, 2012

Post 10: Madrid

The aqueduct in Segovia
This past weekend, I went with all of the students in my program to Madrid.  We also stopped in Segovia along the way to break up the five hour bus ride.  Not surprisingly, we looked extra touristy walking around in a group of eighty, but it was definitely a good time and a lot different than Bilbao.   

Segovia was a pretty amazing place to see.  In Segovia, we toured the Alcázar de Segovia, a beautiful castle, and saw a Roman aqueduct.  The Roman aqueduct is especially amazing because there is no mortar anywhere within the aqueduct.  The aqueduct is constructed solely out of granite blocks.  It's even more impressive when you learn that it has been around since the mid first century.

After Segovia, we continued onto Madrid.  We arrived at 9:00 pm, just in time for dinner.  There was no sarcasm involved in that sentence.  Dinner here is always around 9:00.  In fact, the afternoon is considered to go until 8:00 or 9:00 pm.  After dinner, everyone went their separate ways and enjoyed the night.

Alcázar de Segovia, an amazing castle
The next day, we saw the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Almudena Cathedral.  Both places were beautiful.  After checking these tourist attractions out, we hit the streets.  The street performers in Madrid were really something else.  Some were definitely more impressive than others.  Spongebob was an extremely common costume.  At points, I'd see five Spongebobs all next to each other.  For a child, I imagine this must be incredibly confusing.

On Sunday, we went to El Prado, a museum that houses some amazing pieces of art.  For me, this was definitely my favorite place that we visited.  I  saw some of the pieces that I've studied back in the U.S.  I think my excited reaction to seeing Diego Velázquez's piece "Las Meninas" might have freaked some people out though.  I've learned so much about the symbolism in this peace, so it was a real treat to see it in person.

One of the street performers in Madrid...
he never strayed from this position
Another highlight of the trip was when my friend Maggie and I were carded for the first time in Europe.  We tried to order drinks, but the waiter initially denied us.  The man guessed that we were both fifteen. If we truly look that young, then most of Europe should probably stop saying that they have a legal drinking age because we've never been questioned here before.  Also, we saw a vending machine that had beer outside of a hotel.  Obviously, a vending machine can't card someone.  I guess they just follow the honor system.

I did love Madrid and I do believe that it would be a great city to live in, but it is not my favorite city in Spain so far.  As of now, my favorite Spanish city is Seville.  I think part of the reason that I prefer Seville is because Madrid is a more Americanized city, so it didn't feel like it was as culturally enriching as other cities that I've seen thus far.  Madrid is still awesome and definitely worth visiting though.  It is the capital of Spain and it definitely has some interesting and unique people.

I realized this past weekend that I'm over halfway done with my time abroad.  So far, it's been the trip of a lifetime.  The U.S. will always be home, but I'll leave here with an even greater thirst for adventure.

Until next time... ¡Adios!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you again for sharing your experience Brooke! It's almost like being there. Almost being the key word! Continue to enjoy your trip and share your adventure.