Hello friends and family! I hope you are all enjoying the 25 degree weather back in the States! Here in Granada, Spain, it is about 50 degrees, but let's rewind about a week ago when I was in Madrid (and it was cold and rainy).
After a 6am arrival and almost zero sleep on the plane, I was ready for a nap. A 6 hour one at that.. Welcome to my life, Jetlag! I spent the day walking the streets of Madrid, eating tapas, and drinking chocolate and wine. However the day would not be over anytime soon. My Spaniard friends were ready to party, and for those of you who don't already know, party time in Spain starts around 1 or 2am, and ends around 5 or 6am. Obviously I was ready to go home around 2:30, but I ended up surviving my first night of la vida loca.
I spent my week in Madrid learning how to take the Metro, a very convenient means of transportation. To my Downers Grovers, picture the Metra, but instead of all railways leading to the city, each stop would have other railways that lead to suburbs on other lines. So not only could I easily get to the main part of the city (Chicago), I could also take a line to another suburb not on the BNSF line (say, Wheaton). Got it? Good. All in all, the Spanish have the public transportation thing figured out.
My sightseeing included The Royal Palace, The Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor Square, Gran Via Avenue, and Puerta del Sol. Oh and of course the futbol stadium, which happens when your tour guides are men. No pictures, however feel free to use google images ;)
As for the food, I am not a picky eater, so I tried and enjoyed almost everything that was put in front of me. I particularly love 'chocolate a la taza,' which we all know you can dip churros into, but to straight up drink it?! Marvelous. Okay, so on to the real food. My favorite tapas include jamon serrano, and anything with salmon (which is served raw). I also really like the meat and cheese plates, however I couldn't really get past roquefort. Something about food looking like it has mold growing on it.. not appealing.
Random things I noticed in Spain:
-Spaniards listen to our music. All of the time. Keith Urban, Taylor Swift.. you name it.
-All Spaniards dress the same. Girls: Pea coat, scarft, tights or leggings, booties. Guys: Pea coat, scarf, jeans, nice shoes. This includes small children and grandparents. General observation: The Spanish are stylish.
-People don't say 'excuse me' or 'sorry' if they are trying to get by or bump into you. Also, they walk very slowly and will stop in the middle of the sidewalk unexpectedly. This is especially strange for me because my parents are basically olympic level speed walkers.
-Some shops close between 2pm and 5pm. Nap time!
-Breakfast: Whenever you wake up, or never. Lunch: Between 2pm and 4:30pm. Dinner: 9pm or later.
-Spaniards are energy efficient. For example, lights in the bathrooms, including each stall, are timed (in public places). So if you need a little extra time to do your business, you may have to tap the light switch a few times.