After a busy week of exams and adventures in the heat of Spain (summer weather has finally arrived), I am able to write my blog about my adventures this past weekend in Madrid. As I've done before and will continue to do after each weekend trip, here is a timeline of my favorite weekend yet:
FRIDAY, JUNE 3RD
After a full day of classes, I got to the train station and hopped on my train from Salamanca to Madrid! My study abroad group was scheduled to be in Madrid for the weekend but only Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. I decided to go a day earlier than the group to Madrid to visit one of my best friends since 2nd grade, as she is living and interning this summer in the city.
After navigating the train station and metro for my first time in Madrid (since I was 10), I finally arrived at my friends apartment. Of course, because I told her I'd be there by 8:30pm and instead arrived after 9:00pm, I threw my suitcase down quickly and we raced out of the door to our dinner plans with her friends.
After eating the most delicious salmon and guacamole dinner (don't knock it til you try it), we needed to come up with something fun to do for the rest of the night. My friend and her coworker decided to walk me through some fun areas of Madrid. We ended up wandering around the Plaza Mayor (which apparently exists in every town/city in Spain - something I found out after yelling "wow, Salamanca has a Plaza Mayor too!" ... Silly American). We also wandered into the cutest market, Mercado de San Miguel* (below), that had been renovated into a mixture of a lot of little bars and tapas vendors! I could've ate dinner there just on all the delicious looking tapas they were serving.
*Photo is not my own
We arrived at my friend's apartment and after drinking some wine, something I still can't down without making an EXTREMELY (un)attractive face, we decided to head out to a club! The club we happened to stumble upon was called "Joy" and it was a very joyful place.
I was finally in bed, going to sleep. Girls night was a success!
SATURDAY, JUNE 4TH
If you're paying close attention to the times, you'll notice I got less than 3.5 hours of sleep - something that's always tons of fun (feel the sarcasm). The reason I got such little shut-eye was because I clearly stayed out too late ("too late" is on an American standard... I actually went home wayyyy too early from a Spaniard standard). The real reason I got little sleep was because I had to meet up with my study abroad group at the Palacio Real first thing in the morning since that was their first stop once arriving in Madrid.
After metroing to another part of Madrid and stopping by Heaven (Starbucks), I found my group at Palacio Real (royal palace) and we toured my future home for a few hours. I think I'll be making my first down-payment on it soon. Thank you South Moon Under for giving me enough mula to afford it (jokes...).
OUR HOTEL WAS AMAZING!!!! Rooftop pools are my new hotel must-have. No rooftop pool? I just can't stay there. As much as I loved the pool, we had less than an hour to enjoy it the entire time we were in Madrid but that's OKAY because we still got to enjoy it. I love rooftop pools (in case you missed that).
We headed off to the "Centro de Arte Reina Sofia," where Picasso's Guernica is located. Super, super cool. One day I hope to have Picasso's artistic talent... one day.
We had dinner in the hotel and then headed across the street to watch the Spanish version of "Cabaret." Let's just say, I wasn't prepared, ready, listo, nada. Cabaret was interesting and I suppose I needed to experience that once in my life to know what things actors can do to make me uncomfortable in every way possible. Overall though, when looking past the sexual jestures and nudity, Cabaret was a very good show.
Back out for a night out in Madrid, this time at Teatro Kapital - a seven story club that apparently is the hotspot of nightlife (as it should be considering I paid 23€ just to get inside).
After a night dancing my feet into two giant blisters and sweating my entire day's caloric intake out, I was back at my hotel room getting ready for bed. Yes, getting ready to go to bed at 6:30am... after the sun had already risen. All of Spain was 100% proud of me for having my first "Spanish night out" - aka staying out until the sunrise.
SUNDAY, JUNE 5TH
Yes... once again, take note of the time I went to bed and woke up. One. Hour. Of. Sleep. Good thing for me, just because I was up so early, I got Starbucks, hung out in a park by myself, ate a sit-down breakfast, and was able to see Cervantes' house, as well as Lope de Vega's house - two huge Spanish authors - in the "Barrio de las Letras".
We went to the Prado museum! After taking art history at JMU, I will most likely find every art museum I go to cool in some aspect even though before I would've felt like looking at paintings for hours on end was a punishment. I really appreciate this change in perspective on art!
We left Madrid (internally crying), grabbed lunch, and toured Escorial - the place where all of Spain's kings and queens are usually buried.
We finally made it back to Salamanca and I can truly say that Madrid was my favorite place by far that I've been to in Spain. Not only was I proud of myself for my true "Spanish night out" (despite 4.5 hours of sleep in an entire weekend), but I also loved the culture and big city feel. I am definitely a big city girl at heart, especially considering that I grew up in Washington, D.C., and coming to another country has changed absolutely nothing about that.
I loved Madrid so much so that I will be back there for another weekend of adventures in less than two weeks. Let's just pray I get more sleep this time. :)