Thursday, January 17, 2008

Exploring Madrid

We explored Madrid for the first time Tuesday night. About 25 of us rode the train from Alcalá to La Puerta del Sol. Now don’t be deceived. It is not actually a door, it’s more like a plaza in the middle of around 12-15 streets. Some of them allow cars, while others are only pedestrians.

Everything was covered with people, and it was incredible how many shops they squeezed into that are a. We all split up into smaller groups—25 is just too many. You attract too much attention and it’s hard to agree on where you want to go. I split off with Brock, Rachel, and Tina. We enjoyed just walking around and taking it all in. One of my Spain purchases is Spanish boots. I was constantly distracted by all the Zapaterías, and everyone was kind enough to come with me—even Brock. I think he simply enjoyed being there. After all, it is SPAIN. And not just Spain, but MADRID, Spain!

We found, mostly by accident, La Plaza de España. We hung around there for about 40 minutes simply taking pictures and being struck with awed. It had two separate fountains which made for gorgeous picture opportunities. And then in the background there was a massive sculpture of kings and queens with a reflection pool and fountain. We found it just as the lights came on and it was absolutely gorgeous—even though by this point we were all rather cold!

We took the metro back to La Puerta and began exploring a different street. We found a bakery/sweet shop that had the best pastries! I had a chocolate Neapolitano (or something close to that) that was absolutely delicious. I absolutely love Spanish food! They have wonderful comida, and they’re postres (desserts) are absolutely scrumptious. We don’t have anything like them in the States.

We then went to La Plaza Mayor which is absolutely enormous. It was actually kinda strange. If you didn’t know where the plaza was, you’d walk right by it. It’s completely encased in buildings and has back-way alleys that lead into it. I didn’t really take pictures of it because by this point it was night, and I know we’re coming back there in daylight.

By this time we headed back to La Puerta and went up another street—the most crowded, and busiest one we could find. The big space in the middle was because a police car had just passed through. We found a mariachi band, a group of friends singing and playing instruments, and mimes as we went down the street. For the friends, it seemed like they had had nothing to do that night and decided to go sing in the street for fun. I, being me, pulled out my camera and started taking a video. The lead guitarist saw my camera and started walking towards me singing. Of course I turned red and got all embarrassed, but it was fun.

Oh, and check this out, we found mannequins wearing newspaper dresses. I thought it was amazing and had to take a picture. They’re actually really cute styles of dresses.

The awesome thing about January and February is that there are constant rebajas (sales) in every store. Everywhere you looked there were signs for 50% or 90% off. I found a pair of amazing boots for only 10€. Unfortunately, I was stupid and didn’t buy them immediately. When I went back to buy them the place had closed.

So, we finally all meet up again, and then we get on our train back home. Unfortunately the 30 minute ride turned into an hour 45 minute ride. We got on the right train, just and hour too early. We made a loop and then came out of it in the right direction. But it was all fine, we had left around 8:30, so we just enjoyed ourselves and had fun.

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