Thank you for being so patient this past week. I know you have been anxiously awaiting our newest blog post and so here it is. It’s almost the weekend and you still don’t know what we did last weekend! Que lástima. Below are the highlights:
Exactly one week ago, October 12, I had off from classes for Spain’s national holiday, Fiesta Nacional de España, which is Spain’s Columbus Day. Just like in the United States, they have a day to “commemorate” Columbus arriving in America to enslave the Native Americans and spread diseases! All “jokes” aside, the fiesta felt more like a celebration of Spain rather than a celebration of Christopher Columbus. Either way, the parade started around 11 AM and it was packed. Gabriela’s apartment is very close to the plaza the parade ended in, so we were nice and close to the festivities. From what I could see of the parade from my viewpoint (see photo below), it consisted of rows and rows of military cars, trucks, tanks, and boats, but more importantly a car with a dog standing on the hood. Yes, a real-life dog STANDING on the hood of a car as it drove past. If I didn’t think Spain was cool already, you can only imagine what I think now. I also was able to watch all the horses unload and get put back in their mobile stables. (Honestly, unsure if that’s what the truck is called, but you get the point.) Because it was Spain’s national holiday, museums were free! So after the parade, Derek and I headed over to Museo de Prado to save the normal entrance fee of 18 euros and see Madrid’s most famous museum.
Friday blurred right into Saturday and began with a taste of good ol’ America (cereal). Derek and I visited Cereal Hunters Café in Malasaña, a hip, young neighborhood. Due to a mildly cold refrigerator, I have consumed less cereal in these past few weeks than I have ever in my life, which is probably for the better. Regardless, mildly cold milk couldn’t keep us away from a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and pink milk (for an extra .40 euros)! It was the most expensive bowl of cereal we’ve ever consumed, but the pink milk was a beautiful touch. After we had our cereal, we shopped for a bit in the area and stopped in Telefonica’s Museo de Telecomunicaciones. The museum walked visitors through the history of telecommunications as well as featured a 3D printing exhibit with some trippy pieces that Derek enjoyed.
After the museum, we were starving because our medium bowl of cereal didn’t quite fill us up – what a surprise! We stopped at Oven Mozzarella Bar for some delicious pizza to fuel us before our trek to Parque del Oeste. We wanted to go on the park’s cable car that has city-wide views, but once we arrived we found the line to be so absurdly long that we decided to make the cable car a weekday activity. On our way through the park, we came across a beautiful garden with rows and rows of flowers, as seen in Derek’s video. We also stumbled upon some zombies chasing after a group of people dressed all in black. Don’t ask what was going on because we don’t know. So many props to the zombies for staying in character, getting that limp down and really giving their moans and groans all they had. Our final destination of the day was Templo de Debod to witness the sunset as it set behind the 2,000+ year old temple that was gifted to Spain from Egypt. Unfortunately, everyone else heard the temple has great views at sunset. Even more unfortunate, the sunset was terrible. At least we had a good time watching teenage girls have photoshoots to presumably be posted on their Instagram pages for over 100 likes or else they’re deleting it.
You’ll never guess what Derek convinced me to do on Sunday. WORK OUT! Gabriela’s apartment is close to Parque Santander, which has an extremely large “footing path” as well as an outdoor workout park. Too many pushups later, I was out of breath and barely holding onto life, but hey I finally stopped being sore today. Fun fact about Parque Santander – they built a humungous activity center in the middle of it, including a golfing range, a chip and putt, and soccer fields, but closed it when they realized no one in Madrid plays golf. We ended our Sunday and weekend sunbathing by a pool filled with fountains.
Before closing out this week’s blog post, Derek and I have chosen an apartment! Yay! It is still a 15-minute walk from my campus and located in a safe area. We will be living in a studio apartment and will have a shower that has a tanning bed, spa jets and music. Confusing, right? We don’t have a picture to show right now, but use your imagination and expect one sometime in November.