Back in America! To extend my post-Europe glee, I will break up the trip into as many blog posts as possible. Please let me know when you are sick of my gloating.
First Up: Madrid, Part I.
As we learned last week, if I were to approach a thin and gorgeous Madrideleña to compliment her on her leather purse (fact: 90% of women in my age range in Madrid are thin, gorgeous, and deserve compliments on their leather purses), I would say: Eso es tan trae.
Madrid was ridiculously trae. I arrived on a red-eye on Sunday morning, and by a feat of pure magic (unassisted by Google Maps and without misplacing any luggage/riding any trains in the wrong direction), managed to take the Metro from the aeropuerto to my friend S’s apartment in Malasaña, a Village-meets-Brooklyn-meets-charming-countryside neighborhood of the city. Within an hour of setting my luggage (carry-on only–after hundreds and hundreds of Euro spent paying for oversize and overweight suitcases when I was abroad, I have learned my lesson) down in her apartment, we were off for excellent activities that continued on for the next four days. Unsurprisingly, they consisted of eating, shopping, bopping, and sightseeing.
Madrid was a fascinating city in it’s juxtaposition of modernity and old school charm. It seemed that every corner I turned led me to either a Zara, or a 17th century cathedral. The two aspects of culture meshed seamlessly for the Madrideleños, who walked around in four inch platforms rapidly chatting on their iPhones, but also seemed thrilled to stop for lost Americanas and spend 15 minutes circling points of interest on their map (oops).
[Essentials: Cafe con leche y saccharina (Spanish Splenda, which I attempted to order from a non-amused cafe owner as “azucar para personas non gordas,” or “sugar for people that are not fat”), my guidebook, a pouch full of crucial items for turistas (S was quite impressed w my pouches for all occasions), and a snack while people-watching]
[The street my friends lived on. I desperately want one of these balconies, which, from my observations, I hypothesize are used exclusively for smoking cigarettes and looking chic]
[Tapas at El Lateral, a fun spot with a wonderful ambiance. These were spicy mini-hamburgers with a shockingly good sweet jam. We gobbled them down with vino rojo, priced appropriately at € 1.50]
[View from the top of the Reina Sofia, the more modern of Madrid’s two infamous art museums. While I appreciated The Prado, I simply loved the Reina Sofia, whose works ranged from Picasso’s Guernica (photographs of Guernica were not permitted, and two highly unfriendly women sitting on stools on either side of the massive painting ensured of this. I don’t really understand the security precautions taken to protect an 11X25 foot painting. One can’t exactly rip it off the wall and waltz on out with it–I don’t think it’d fit through a single door in the museum) to post-modern sculptures of metal and light. I enjoyed this museum so much that, (after 20 minutes of arguing in broken Spanish), I was willing to accept their denial of my student ID,–something which has happened nowhere else in my time in school and after]
[Street art by a group called Boa Mistura–five guys who create awesome murals and paintings–and work conveniently across the street from S’s apartment. We actually got to meet the artists and track down their murals in Berlin, where we took a similarly touristy picture]
[Honestly, can anything negative be said about a country that has a whole museum dedicated to jamon? No. The only thing that can be said is “Nikki, you idiot, that’s not a real museum. It’s a restaurant.” Oh. Kudos to you anyway, España)
[The Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the Fundación Mapfre. To be honest, I stumbled upon the YSL exhibit completely by accident while angrily trying to direct my Google Maps to a totally different attraction–which made it all the more delightful. I walked around this stunning collection alone and loved it]
Part Dos (a day in escuela, even more tapas, and some forays into Spanish nightlife) to come tomorrow.