Sunday, February 19, 2012

Madrid and Carnaval

Last weekend our whole CIEE group went to Madrid for the weekend!  It was so much fun and definitely a good change from Barcelona because all of our activities were already planned out for us.  The bus ride on Friday was... 6 hours long and definitely felt longer haha.  Once we arrived we went to Parque el Retiro to walk around then headed to El Prado museum.  El Prado was definitely one of my favorite parts of the weekend and we were able to see paintings by Goya, Picasso, Velasquez, etc.  It was so beautiful and I could have spent hours in there.  We started our day early on Saturday but I have to admit I didn't mind because the hotel breakfast actually had a substantial breakfast.  They had omelettes and my love for eggs drove me to eat two omelettes!!  

After a taste of home at breakfast we headed to Escorial, a palace that is now a museum about an hour outside of the city center.  It was really neat and the best part about Escorial was the underground crypt made of marble and gold,where all (minus one or two) of Spain's past kings and queens are buried.  We also got to see the library, where I loved seeing all of the old hand-written manuscripts and books.  We returned back to the center of Madrid for some free time which a few of us spent at the Reina Sofia, a contemporary art museum.  I was excited to see some contemporary art like Dali, but wasn't prepared for the oddities in there.  I never knew a chair and umbrella were considered art or one paint streak across a canvas.  I just have to say I was glad we didn't pay to enter but it was still interesting to see how strange some of the 'art' was. 
A group of us in front of Reina Sofia before our interesting art experience.

Later in the day we went on a tour of Estadio Santiago Bernabeu- the soccer stadium where Real Madrid plays.  We got to tour the whole stadium, through a museum with old jerseys as well as trophies, the locker room and even press room. 
In the Real Madrid Stadium

After our soccer visit, a group of my friends met up for Katie's (our friend from Wofford) birthday!  It was so great to be with a group from home and her parents were there too.  We had a lot of fun and were able to celebrate her 21st birthday even in Spain.  Sunday we walked through the Rastro, a large market in the city.  I restrained from buying anything but enjoyed walking in the main Plaza to see musicians playing in the street and people selling various items. 
Me, Katie, Mackenzie (Katie's mom made this so she could be with us to celebrate!), and Natalie for Katie's 21st 

Sunday was Chuck and I's 3 year anniversary and I can not believe how time has flown by!  This week was our first full week of classes and I have really liked all of them so far. This week also marked that I have been in Alicante for a month; it feels like I just got here I can't believe this has been my home for over a month now.  This weekend we celebrated Carnaval in Alicante, a festival throughout Spain and many other countries.  It was a huge street party where everyone dresses up just like Halloween.  There were whole families dressed up, young and old, even babies and dogs.  My favorite costume was a large family dressed up as Dominos and they would all fall down together just like the game.  With spring break being only a little bit more than a month away everyone has started planning trips.  I am so excited because Chuck and his dad are definitely coming for a week and I am planning to visit my friend Florence in Italy another week!!

This weekend a group of us are headed to Morocco, Africa!!!! We get to ride camels and tour through two different cities.  Another continent down off of my travel bucket list, can't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment