Hola (again!!) I’m in Madriddddd which means plenty of cheap wine, delicious tapas, late nights, and futbol. … I’m a bit under the weather though, but I’m trying to make the most of it while also killing some germs with alcohol and some (legal) drugs hehe
For those who may not know, I “studied” abroad here (as well as Cape Town) about ~6 years ago (mas o menos!) I put “study” in quotations, because truthfully, I’m not sure how much studying I did… I will say i tried my best to immerse myself in the culture by drinking, partying, and staying out till the weeee hours of the morning….. and also eating tons of tapas and churros con chocolateee… here are a few of my finer moments from SU Madrid Fall 2009 (15 lbs lighter too.. WAHHH)
its been fun to be back., though it’s always bizarre to visit a place that has a lot of good memories, only to realize… life continued on after you left, though fat spiderman is still in Plaza Mayor and the rattail is still a thing (le sigh.. nothing is more tragic than seeing a cute guy and then having him turn his head and see a dangling piece of grossness hanging down) Walking around the city has made me smile and cringe a bit when I think about being 19 and being legal (and broke) in a city for the first time… lotsss of DON SIMON, lunches & tinto de veranos at 100 montaditos and clubbing in Kapital….
Being a 25 year old backpacker has not raised my standards tooo much… but I will say, I splurged on the 6 Euro bottle of wine (#treatyoself) I also realized that I hung out with all Americans while I was here, which is such a shame (que lastima!) Luckily I have a friend from high school, Kristy, who is currently living in the city so I met up with her and her friends on Saturday night after the Real Madrid game... which btw they lost (oivey...)
It was the kick-off to San Isidro festival, the patron saint of Madrid, so we went to the park with and watched Pitingo, a famous flamenco singer, perform. Apparently her boyfriend and all his friends REALLY REALLY like flamenco (their families are from Southern Spain, though they all grew up in Madrid) so they were singing along and trying to teach me how to dance (it’s all in the hands.. apparently…) We were obviously drinkinggg... Apparently botellons are now outlawed in Spain, with the exception of sanctioned festivals. Anddd smoking indoors is no longer allowed…. Which is insane because the two things I fondly associate with Spain include collective, massive outdoor drinking at parks… and the smell of cigarettes lingering in my hair after a night out. Anywhoseeee.. we didn’t stay out tooo late (I was in bed by 4 which is early for Madridlenos) but I had a great time. It’s always good to catch-up with old friends and see how your lives have changed… also her Spanish is sosososososo good and perfect and she says its because she’s dating a guy who can only speak Spanish so I guess my new goal in life is to find a Spanish speaking loverrrr. I will also admit, seeing her with her group of friends made me kind of homesick… I started missing my friends too :(
Other than that, I’ve just literally walked all over the city. I’ve visited (and drank) at a few of my favorite touristy places, like the Prado, Reina Sofia, Retiro Park, Mercado San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Santiago Bernabeu (Hala Madrid!!) as well as El tigre (best bar in the whole wide world where u get a MASSIVE drink and HUGE AMOUNTS of tapas for 6Euros… rice, tortilla espanola, manchego cheese, jamon.. so much jamon, and even free shots, though I may have been flirting with the bartender a littttle for that…), Taberna del Sur... where i had a nice long dinner with my best friend's sister, Jennifer, who was coincidentally traveling in Madrid at the same time, and just walked around some of my favorite neighborhoods, Chueca and Lavapies. It also doesn't get dark until around 9PM here (which is just in time for a little nappp before dinner) so everyone is constantly gathered outdoors drinking in squares and on the sidewalk. its amazing. I seriously don't understand how everyone is beautiful and fit here despite eating and drinking carbss alll day, every day (andddd getting their daily intake of fruit aka WINE. Wine is made of grapes.)
While some people I know consider Madrid quite boring and not as glamorous as Barcelona… which I can totally understand… I think of Madrid as a place to live and experience the wonderful Spanish culture… Spaniards, and specifically, Madridlenos are the best.. they have such an ease and indulgence about life that is absolutely contagious.