Saturday, September 21, 2013

La vida de noche

Hola de Madrid, I feel like I will forget to tell you a lot because I know there are at least a few things that I forgot in my last post. For example, it was really cool leaving Chicago with the sun at our tails and arriving in Spain with the sunrise. Or I forgot to tell you, that there was a camera on the tail of the plane so they showed that for both the take off and landing. It was pretty neat.

On to yesterday though, I got up for a free breakfast at the hostel that really isn't a lot, but it sure gets me by. Then, I took the metro for the first time to meet up with Karin so that we could look for apartments. While buying my ticket, a couple that were traveling in Madrid asked if I could help them, but unfortunately I could not despite trying. I bought a ten-trip pass which was easy, but they were asking about individual ones and I couldn't figure out how to do that yet on the machine. I'm sure in a few more days or weeks I will be able to help people after getting to know the city more. Once I met up with Karin, we started mapping out the places that we wanted to go to, we then had to put money on the phone and call places to set up appointments and this is when it got hard. It wasn't speaking on the phone that was the hard part (we both actually did very well with this). It was the fact that people either didn't answer, already had the place rented out, or weren't available that day to show us the place. It was kind of frustrating because we had a total of seven or eight places to look at and we only looked at two. The first one was close to a big park, which I thought would be nice, however the place was not so nice and too expensive for it's worth. There were two other guys at the piso visit and one was another auxiliar and the other, a Canadian getting his Master's here in Madrid. They were both really nice and we will most likely see the other auxiliar again. After this first visit we had A LOT of time before our next one so we walked to Atocha (which is the big train station nearby and grabbed lunch). We sat outside and ate next to these interesting baby statues. See below.

At least we didn't sit right in the front of the one that had it's eyes open staring at us. :) Anyway, after this we went back to Karin's place that she is staying right now and just hung out until our next visit. The second visit went well. Again it was a tad more expensive than what I preferred, but at least it was worth the money. It's a place close to the metro, near a huge and really nice park, I would have my own bathroom, and a queen size bed. It really was a great place, but I personally just don't need all of that extra stuff, although it would be nice, I'm sure. After this, we decided to walk through the park that was next door, it took us awhile to figure out how to get into the park, because we had to find the bridge that went over train tracks, but we found it and it was awesome! I'm not much for rock climbing, but my boyfriend is and this bridge had handholds for climbing all over it! So he would love it. People just bring their climbing gear and go climbing on the bridge. Honestly, some of the climbs seem a little dangerous, but it's still cool.

Hand holds underneath the bridge
Crossing the bridge

Rock climbing hand holds go all the way up, across, and back down
Supposedly the only planetarium in Madrid 
We walked through the park for a little bit longer than walked back to Karin's house. I'm not sure how much we walked, but I will say my calves hurt today due to lots of walking, some stairs here and there, and Madrid is a lot hill-ier than I thought it would be. Woo for getting exercise. We hung out for a little bit longer than her family that she is staying with provided us with dinner: ham and cheese sandwiches, ensalada, tomates y torrijas. Torrijas is a very sweet bread with cinnamon (a lot like french toast) and it is a typical food during Semana Santa.
Not my picture, but this is what it looks like
During dinner we discussed the Basketball World Cup (which I really didn't know existed) because Spain was play France on the radio and José, Karin's host brother right now likes basketball. Spain is apparently pretty good. They won two times ago (which would be 7 years ago because it's held every four years). The next one is coming up in 2014 and Madrid is actually hosting it, but I don't think I'll be here still when that happens. Anyway, why I bring that up is because José wanted to take us out last night, but he wanted to finish listening to the game as well. Oh by the way, dinner was at 10 p.m. Schedules here are a little different than the U.S. So Karin and I took a kind of unintentional hour and a half nap and we didn't leave the house until midnight! We went to a plaza near the center of Madrid and many restaurants have tables set up in it. We got a jar of sangria (a typical drink in Spain) to share. We hung out there for awhile and met up with some of José's friends, then we went to another bar that had good music playing. Let me tell you Gangnam style is popular here too. After that it was already 2:50ish and the guys wanted to go to another bar. We walked around but really found no bars open. Apparently bars usually close at 3 a.m. and if you want to party after that you go to the clubs. We just kept walking around though. We got to see the Plaza Mayor de Madrid, but it was pretty deserted because of the time of night. However, we walked to Sol, which is another plaza and it was packed full of people, which is just surprising at that time of night. We even saw a few kids out at that time! Anyway, I got back to my hostel around 4 a.m. and went to bed. I got up for breakfast this morning and then straight back to bed until 11 a.m. I had one place to look at today and it was pretty crappy so I have no other plans for today yet. But keep checking in to see what I end up doing today. Hasta luego.

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