La Comienza//The Beginning

The trip is underway! Here are some quick notes about my first few days along with a small collection of the hundreds of pictures I’ve already taken 🙂

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

  • Arrived in Madrid at 8:00am Madrid time, so 2:00am EST
  • Met up with a friend at the airport and we shared a cab to our hotel, Paseo del Arte in downtown Madrid. Just around the corner from the Prado Museum!
  • Found another girl from our program and the 3 of us walked around the neighborhood and ate bocadillos for lunch
    • I had pollo, vejetales, bacon, y queso
  • Got settled in our hotel and took a siesta to help combat jet lag!
  • Went to El Jardín Botanico around the corner from our hotel (the garden is next door to the Prado Museum)
    • It was huge!! And for only 4€ we were able to have access to the entire 8 hectares of garden…about 20 acres in the middle of the city!
  • Had orientation dinner at our hotel where we met everyone that is in our program
  • Finally it was time to shower and go to bed in my room that I shared with my roommates, Ana
I love the pretty street views!
I love the pretty street views!
Started off Madrid right with bocadillo!
El Jardín Botaníco

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Can’t get over how beautiful it is!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

  • Had orentation for my USAC program
  • Went on a 2 hour walking tour of Antigua (the old parts of Madrid that are touristy) where I got to see El Prado, La Reina Sofía, El Palacio Real, La Plaza Mayor, El Botín, Puerta del Sol, El Mercado San Miguel, Gran Vía, and more!
  • Had my first real Madrileño lunch at a tapas restaurant (since lunch is the main meal of day here)
  • My host mom walked me around el barrio and showed me where the essentials were…aka the metro stop and the main shopping street 😀
  • Dinner in Spain is super late so the day ended with dinner at 10pm!
    • My host family usually eats around 11 or 12!
Churros con chocolate are very popular here…and I am not complaining!
A vertical garden
La Plaza Mayor
Lunch, their biggest meal of the day, was a 3 course meal and I had to get something very Spanish…aka meat (pork) and potatoes (papas)!
El Palacio Real

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Friday, July 1, 2016

  • I navigated the metro for the first time alone and made it to my university just fine!
  • We had orientation at the university, La Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, that took up the whole morning.
  • Some amigas and I found a super cute restaurant to eat lunch where I had gazpacho con fresas (a traditional Spanish tomato soup with strawberries), lomo de vaca con una crema (basically strip steak with a delicious sauce), mousse de chocolate (it was as good as it sounds), and finally I tried some Spanish coffee! Overall, the meal was delicious and I am putting on my list of places to potentially take my family when they come…. J
  • A friend, Tori, and I went shopping on a calle (street) near mi piso (my apartment) and got a little bit of a feel for mi barrio (my neighborhood).
  • Dinner was a very traditional plate prepared by my host mother, Pura, full of typical Spanish foods like croquettes (her specialty…and I can definitely tell why!) made of fish, lomo, jamón (ham), and cheese with pan (bread).
  • This weekend in Madrid’s Pride parade and it is the biggest in all of Spain so the city is completely filled up! We went to a very popular plaza for an hour or to see Spain nightlife and get a taste for the pride festivities. We left at 1:30am and the night was JUST STARTING!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

  • The metro stop we used, Operá, had a mini museum in it with ruins for the old city which was small, but pretty cool since it was in a metro station!
  • First Tori and I went to El Cetedral de la Almuneda and climbed all the way up to la cúpula (the dome) to see panoramic views of the city! Absolutely stunning and a gorgeous cathedral as well.
  • Next was the main event: El Palacio Real (the Royal Palace). A gorgeous courtyard led up to the palace which did not disappoint by any means! It has over 2,000 rooms and we got to see a small collection of them that were absolutely breathtaking. The palace has the original copy of Don Quixote (Miguel Cervantes is a big deal in Madrid because he is from here) along with about a dozen violins designed by Antonio Stradivari himself! Every room had at least one massive chandelier and the intricacy of the ceiling paintings and detailing was fantastic. It was breaktaking!
  • A lunch of melon con jamón (a big piece of honeydew covered with thinly sliced ham) and paella (!!!!!) followed along with a lot of water!
  • Then we just walked around the city a bit and went back to Plaza Mayor, el Mercado de San Miguel, and wandered to get a better feel of what the city is like.
  • Our day ended with a walk along Gran Vía (the main road in Madrid) where we got a glimpse of El Banco España and the entrance to Retiro Park. On Gran Vía we went into Zara because the one in Madrid was the first one in existence! Zara started here so of course we had to buy some things… 😛
  • The Orgulloso de Madrid (Pride) parade is tonight so we got off the streets in an effort to avoid the craziness and we were exhausted because it has been a crazy past few days!
pictures were not allowed in the palace but I snuck a few anyway 😛
the ceiling of almost every room in the palace looked like this!
Inside the cathedral
One of the gorgeous views of the city from the top of the cathedral!

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Well that’s all for this week! I hope y’all enjoy the posts and pictures! We shall see if future posts remain this detailed with photos…nos vemos.

¡Hasta luego!

xoxo Marie


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