Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weekend Trips, Bonding Time, and Exploring Madrid

By Delana S., Panther Blogger

Since the last time I wrote, a lot has happened!  My friend Annie and I spent our long weekend in Madrid checking out the city, exploring the sites, and making new friends.  It was not my first time in Madrid, but since she wanted to take a trip with me and eventually go to Madrid, I agreed and I am glad that I did.  Three of our other friends from our program met us there, along with some French girls that we have gotten to know during our time here.

We stayed at a hostel that was central in the city in the sense that from there, you could walk to everything and get anywhere that you needed to.  It was called Las Musas and it was very nice! The hostel gave us a variety of activities to participate in:  pub crawls, flamenco shows, walking tours of the city, and more.  The staff were all so nice and were thoroughly surprised that we knew Spanish so well.  That really allowed us to make friends, and they gave us all the information that we wanted on where to go, where to eat, and things of that nature.  We stayed in Madrid for three days and four nights.

My friend Annie and me
Night number one was spent resting, interacting with the other people staying at the hostel, and getting to know the area we were staying in.  That in itself was an adventure, but that's how I like to live.  The next day was spent checking out all of the great artwork in el Museo Nacional Del Prado (Prado Museum).  It was great that we decided to do that because it rained off and on the entire day, but luckily, we were inside where it was nice and dry.  I remember going to the Prado before, but it was great going to tour it again with my friend and finding pieces that we really and truly enjoyed.  After that, we spoke with some of the people from the area and they told us about a unique little restaurant that had amazing food.  Annie and I were very happy with what we ended up ordering, and the employees were very funny and welcoming.  They thought that we were pretty amusing as well, since the whole time we were there, we spoke in a mix of English and Spanish, depending on what we were talking about.  That night, we participated in a pub crawl and met lots of new people from all over the world, but there were especially a lot of Australians.

Royal Palace view from the gardens

My friends Meriem, Felle, and me

The next day, we met up with our friends at the Palacio Real (Royal Palace of Madrid), walked around a little bit in the gardens, and enjoyed our time together.  How vastly different our lives are now due to our experiences here and meeting one another!  I know that I at least have 30 or so new friends on Facebook, and many of them are from here in Spain, Ireland, France, or other countries.

My friend Alex and me
View from the Reina Sofia

We then went on to explore the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia National Art Museum) and looked at all of the great works there.  The most amazing piece was a painting by Picasso that took up the whole room!  It was magnificent and one of the best parts of touring the museum.  That was my second time there and I highly recommend that travelers to the capital go visit it.  Other than that, it was a nice train ride home and doing homework for class the next day.  Well, until next time!  :)

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