After an amazing weekend in Madrid, I am finally back home to the states. I am exhausted, emotional and miss Spain already. What is it with me and Europe that makes me always want to stay when I am there. I think because I move so much I can make some place my home easily... of course, I get homesick, but Sweden, Spain, Costa Rica, where ever, I always feel like I leave part of my heart when I spend a month or more in places. When I got off the plane in New York and I heard english speaking people, I thought I was going to be excited, but instead I was unusually annoyed and missed Spanish. It's like I needed more time hearing Spanish, wanted to hear it longer, craved it, needed it, and got irritated because I left too soon.
The rest of the week at school was great. Probably the best Spanish school I have attended based on my teachers. They teach fast, but well, and it makes you have to study to keep up. I will be on a strict schedule here in the states, every other day for at least an hour (if not two). Also watching Spanish speaking movies to hear it a lot, or radio, etc. Then in Feb, I will study again in Mexico. Please, though, do not come up to me and start speaking spanish fluently and fast, or i will feel like a complete idiot because I still probably won't understand you! :)
So what did I do on my last weekend in Madrid? A LOT!
Friday I decided to go try and get tickets for RealMadrid Soccer match for Saturday night. No such luck. I get down there, stand in line, to have them tell me they only accept cash. Tickets were about 60 euro, but I only had about 40 euro in my pocket. They gave me a phone number to call and use my credit card, in which it was a recording all in spanish and extremely complicated, so complicated that when Marcos came to Madrid and tried calling on Saturday, we couldn't get an operator to try and get two seats together. (Yeah, Marcos is here for the weekend!!!!) Sooo... Saturday Marcos and I went down the stadium, stood in line for an hour and then was rejected one more time... no more seats :o( Have I mentioned I hate RealMadrid? Go Barcelona! haha.. j/k . . it worked out anyway. Marcos and the city was entertainment enough for me.
Saturday after our rejecting at the stadium, where we also met a Chinese man who spoke no spanish and very little english, (so very entertaining, like playing Charades, but you never really know if he got it), we played tourist for the rest of the day. The best was Retiro Park. It's massive, one of the world's largest parks!! It has this big lake in the middle with little boats and ducks. Along one side of the lake it this massive structure with mermaids, lions and other statues, and steps to sit on and enjoy the view. Marcos and I rented a boat and ate our packed lunch. Yum!! It was nice. Marcos is nice. He's like a breath of fresh air. He makes me laugh, super silly all the time, and just very easy to be around. It's like we have known each other for years, it's just that comfortable. I was so glad he was there with me this weekend. We also visited the Crystal Palace in the park. This massive size building in the park made all of glass. So cool!! Took some pictures being monkeys in the trees and then headed out of the park to the center. Here they are pictures...
I love Mermaids!
Marcos being attacked by a Lion!! RRAAARR
The Crystal Palacen - Built in the 1880's
The only statue of the devil in the world, created in 1877 by Ricardo Bellver
I told you Marcos was a monkey!
I tried to be one too!
Plaza Mayor (they filmed Vantage Point there) was packed!! It has a carasoul, and many artists/actors trying to make a pretty penny for a day. It was so packed in the streets, in some areas you couldn't move. It was holiday in Spain until Wednesday so everyone was out and about. Illegal selling of CD's and perfumes in the street, avoiding the police, people dressed as Christmas deers to sit and entertain people, salsa dancers, face sketchers, and more. We visited San Miguel Mercado next door, where we sipped red wine and watched the pig butchers carve ham off pig legs, so interesting for me to see... it's almost like an art.
Plaza Mayor during the day.. notice how it's not that busy!
At night!! INSANE!
Mercado de San Miguel - A very cool market indeed.
This is a street just close to Plaza Mayor... every street was this busy...
usually cars drive here but because it was so insane, it was all walking traffic!!!
Since I officially hadn't had proper tapas yet in Spain, only little tapas, we decided to find a good tapa bar, which we failed miserably. We ended up at a nice little restaraunt/bar where we shared a dish... it consisted of french fries, eggs and blood sausage. Yes, I said blood sausage. Marcos wouldn't tell me what it was until after I tried some...it actually looked like brownies, and tasted like cinnamon, but it was blood sausage. Interesting enough, I liked it and kept pretending it was brownies so that I would eat more. but BLOOD SAUSAGE???? now that I think about it.. sick.. i ate that.. eww. Tricky Marcos. But he did it in a way that allowed me to try something new, as I would have NEVER eaten it if I had known what it was before I put it too my lips.
The black stuff is the blood sausage... yuck (but good) haha
Sunday we enjoyed another day out in the city of Madrid. We packed a lunch again and ventured out to the flea market they have every Sunday. Again, it was so packed you couldn't even really look at much. If you were a pit pocketer, this is a playground for you. So many people, and so so sooooo many vendors selling things. Streets and streets of antiques, clothes, arts, etc.... it was overwhelming. Here is a picture...
The street goes on and on... and plaza/squares were full of things to buy!
Next stop was a museum, but because it was Sunday, it closed early. So instead we ate our lunch (Marcos's first time eating egg salad sandwhiches), and had Dunkin Donuts. . um.....they were so yummy... i had no idea! I feel they taste better in Spain then they do in the States. . . I swear, it's true. Please, for the love my hips, keep me away from this place in the states.. DO NOT tell me where one is located or I could be in big big trouble.
On our way back to the center, we found a theater that had New Moon in english... umm... yeah i almost peeed my pants with excitment. So nice that Marcos would go with me.... he liked it, but agreed with me that the acting is just bad. I'm sorry, but Bella and Jacob our horrible actors. It's true. So forced.... but I still loved it!! My favorite was Dakota Fanning in all of her 5 minutes in the movie... she is just amazing. Such a fierce little girl. Sunday night dinner was at a bar close to my house ... more potatos (french fries) with chicken and different sauces. I love their green olives here too... hate them in the states, love them here. Everything just tastes better here!
So that was my trip.. and what a trip it was! It honestly went by so fast and I met the most amazing people ever... from my long lost relative from Norway in Malaga, to Thomas and Jana from Germany in Cadiz, to Patrick and my Italian friends in Seville, and my Swedish room mates in Madrid, but especially my sweet cheeky monkey Marcos. Did I mention he is triplet, and one of those is identical to him? The triplets made his family consist of 7 children. Yep, 7... his mother is so so brave!! I just want to give him a shout out of thanks. He really made my trip such an amazing time! Sometimes in life you come across people you just really connect with, where hanging out with them is just really easy, as if you have known them for years, that is Marcos. Even silence with him was easy... and talking about things was as though we had known each other for ten years. He is silly, smart, witty, and he whistles (like Terry and Matt) and I like it. Such a happy spirit, but also real and honest with human qualities that I admire. I laughed til I cried with him and it's been a long time. Like he said, he finally woke up and maybe I did too a little. After my very hard year of feeling sad (almost two years ago in May) and this last year still coming back, I finally feel like I'm 100% back. My eyes are open and ready, my thoughts seem more clear (of course I will always be indecisive and a bit lost, that is a natural Libra haha), but I feel so much better. I was unsure of this trip from the beginning, not sure why I had decided to go to Spain by myself for a month... and the first week feeling like I needed to be somewhere else.... but I am so glad I came here. Sometimes you have to do things, even if you are unsure, to get out of your shell, your comfort zone, to challenge yourself, embrace vulnerability, only to find you experience some of the best experiences. I separted myself from all of my closest friends and family. Rosie, my mom, my siblings, Hans-Eric (beside email and an occasional chat session) and learned, again, how to enjoy myself alone, to push myself, and to be a social butterfly, if and when I wanted to be. I felt free, a little crazy, but most importantly alive. Thank you Spain, thank you new friends, my host families (Encarni and Terry love you!), thank you Marcos, and thank you friends and family for reading my silly stories along the way. I will continue this blog even when I am not traveling and of course when I am traveling (next stop Alaska for holidays, and then Mexico in Feb).
ps. here are just a few extra pictures, I liked.
pss. As I was about to hit Publish Post, i heard a baby cry. Tova, my neighbor had her baby while I was gone!! YEAH!!!
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