Happy one month anniversary to us! As of yesterday, October 28, it has been exactly one month since we arrived in this beautiful country.
Last weekend Madrid held a free art festival called Luna de Octubre. The program converted various parts of the city into canvases for different art exhibits that lit up the night. The event started at 9:00 PM and ended at 3:00 AM. When we originally saw how long it went on for, we laughed, but it turned out every minute was necessary. We arrived at 10:00 PM and left at 2:30 AM and didn’t even see every exhibit! Why go into more detail when Derek has created a video to show you guys what we saw? Enjoy.
This past week has been very busy for me as we get deeper into the program. I spent majority of my days on campus, as expected, and used my free time to read, eat, sleep and turn off my brain for a bit. I can’t believe I used to think an hour class was long. This past week has also been very busy and exciting for Derek! He has decided to get his student visa and do a Spanish language immersion class starting in February 2018. He will go back to the states early December to get his visa in order before returning to Spain in January. The program he is doing will allow him to take classes as well as make money as a teacher/tutor. In the meantime, he has lined up various tutoring sessions.
This past weekend wins as best weekend in October. Friday night, Derek and I checked out Stock! Feria Outlet Madrid, which was located a little bit outside the city in an area called Casa de Campo in a glass pavilion. It was basically a huge flea market, but with brands like Vans, Levi’s, Calvin Klein (Derek’s favorite), and more. Sure, there were better brands at big discounts, but it was just as crowded and claustrophobic as a flea market, which is probably why Derek and I didn’t try to seriously shop – minus looking for a pink furry jacket which I still have not been able to find. (Santa?) There were also about 10-15 food trucks there with live music and cotton candy! Failed shopping trip, but fun night.
Saturday is the real reason why this weekend wins as best weekend in October. We woke up early to take a 45-minute bus outside of the city to a town called Manzanares El Real. Located at the base of Pedriza, a part of the Sierra de Guadarrama (Guadarrama mountains), this little town is gorgeous. By the end of the day Derek was done hearing me call everything cute – from the old man we met to the other old man we saw at the bus stop to the birds that looked like mini-seagulls – you get the point. Regardless of my lack of synonyms for cute, we had a very busy day visiting one of the castles in town, Castillo de los Mendoza, as well as hiking along the Río Samburiel, the river that leads into the big reservoir, Embalse de Santillana and enjoying the local craft beer festival and flea market, Feria de la Cerveza Artesana. Once again, rather than going into more detail, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Derek is working on a video and we will share it as soon as it's done.
The only thing I do want to share with you is my near-death experience and the dumbest moment in my life thus far. As we hiked to the river, we came across a cow or so we thought. He was in the middle of the field along a stream leading into the mostly dried up Rio Samburiel. First thing I said was “Oh my gosh. Look at that cow – how cute!” We decided to walk on the field at get a closer look as well admire the beautiful mountains around us. I assume the river was at one point huge considering there were various entrances onto the field/river for fishing. Entering through one of those gates, we sat down to take some pictures and watch the cow graze. Photographer Mandy saw what a cool picture it would be to have the cow and the mountain range in the same shot and animal-loving Mandy wanted a closer look at the cow. So, I make my way down towards the stream he is grazing by and stood opposite him. I took a video of the scene, which you can see below. Watch until the very end.
In case you missed the last second.
The very last second of the video you see the cow turn his head and look directly at me. My stomach dropped and I slowly backed away as he continued to pierce my soul with his big eyes. He didn’t take his eyes off me for about 30 seconds and I forgot to breathe for about 30 seconds more. Fast forward three or so hours later on our way back to the town, we see the same cow from the bridge that goes across the river, now field. I obviously start jumping around and successfully trying to get his attention. He sees me and starts running under the bridge to the other side of the field, which immediately makes me wonder – why is this cow running? I then send the two videos to our family group chat to which my dad asks if the “cow” was a wild bull. I finally put it together – cows don’t have horns, they don’t have bulging muscles, they normally aren’t all white, and they definitely don’t run. I then immediately realized how stupid I was by getting so close to him. Derek thought it would be a good time to go through what would happen if the bull decided to run after me and attack me. Just a short excerpt: I’d be lying mangled in the field as he ran and tried to distract the bull and then we’d both be lying mangled in the field. See below for the video of the bull running and me being excited like the oblivious girl I am.
A positive note: my friends and family can stop worrying about a human hurting me in any way and focus their energies on educating me on how to appropriately admire wildlife.
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