Posts Tagged ‘spain’

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plain

29 July 2009

Not that I would know, because it was sunny and hot as all get out the whole time I was there.

This is getting out of hand people…I got to Spain at the end of May…almost two months ago! For shame, woe is me, etc etc.

Getting to Madrid was pretty easy. We navigated the subways with ease and only briefly walked the wrong direction once we got streetside. Our hostel was weirdly Moorish, but nice enough. Hannah and I were a bit sad about the loss of our beloved traveling companions, Grace and Tyler, from whom we had parted in Switzerland (it was such sweet sorrow), but it was very exciting to FINALLY be in a country where we could speak the language.

We met up with a guy I know from Columbia who was studying in Madrid and went on a mini Tapas crawl. It was a Sunday night at like 9:30 pm, and the crowds were RIDICULOUS. I’m not sure I could handle that on a regular basis, but it was fun to try.

We decided to make Monday, our 1st full day, Day Trip day because of Museum closure schedules. I had looked up places online that were close enough to Madrid and found Segovia, which boasted quaint spanishtownness, Roman aqueducts, an impressive cathedral, and a “fairy tale” castle.

However, it seems I did not do quite enough research, because, as we learned at the train station that morning, the ride was two hours, and the trains leave every two hours, which left us with an unfortunate amount of waiting time. Turned out ok though because we were able to stroll through the Botanic Jardens down the street from the station.

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So we settled in for the long ride to Segovia. I was really surprised by the landscape outside of Madrid. It reminded me A LOT of Texas hill country.

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And I was glad to see a giant hillside cross…much bigger than the “Christ of the Mines Shrine” I saw in Colorado (my only other giant mountainside religious symbols experience).

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Once we got to Segovia, it was not at all what I was expecting. The train station was in the “new” part of town, and it was not very pretty. Kind of run down. My insufficient directions guided toward the aqueduct from the Bus station and made it seem like the bus station was right down the road from the train station.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

After much turning around, and asking of directions, and walking much farther than we expected to, we finally found the quaintly spanish part of the town. And yay! The Roman Aqueducts from the Olden Days.

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After that, we were really rushed for time because of the infrequency of trains, amount of time we spent lost, and distance back to the train station because we really wanted to have time to see the Reina Sophia (modern art museum…and it was closed the next day). So we had a bit of a meander through the seista deserted streets,

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(um…give or take those people…but it was seriously mostly deserted)

peeked inside the Cathedral,

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bought some postcards, and then high-tailed it back to the train station. Luckily, we made it back in time to go to the museum and see Guernica and some other modern art (including an incredibly disturbing multi-media film installation with creeeeepy rat and panda costumes).

Tuesday was our crazy cram-in-the-rest-of-Madrid-highlights day. Of course, there were the Big Three of any European city visit:

1. Palace

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2. Cathedral

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3. Art Museum

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The palaces of Europe are starting to all run together in my mind. The Cathedral seemed oddly new on the inside. El Prado was super cool. Countless “cultura” discussions from high school Spanish culminating in one fateful museum visit…

We also saw Don Quixote, and an Egyptian temple (think Temple of Dendur from The Met…only outside), and the Parque del Retiro, and Plaza Mayor. All in all a very successful (and tiring) day. It was soooo hot.

After El Prado, we were seriously jonesin for Paella and Sangria, two staples we hadn’t tried yet. We finally found a good looking/cheapish place. It was probably 8:30 or 8:45 by the time we got there…and we were seriously the first people in the restaurant.

My paella had eyeballs and stared at me, which was a little bit disconcerting, but it was good nonetheless.

paella

After dinner, we had a really cool conversation in Spanish with our waiter. Foreign language for the win!

I definitely want to go back to Spain to practicar la lengua someday. Check out the rest of the pictures here.

Madrid was the last stop on EA!P2, so we packed up on Wednesday morning for the final days in England! Ay dios mio!

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