Monday, May 9, 2011
Madrid: Day 3
Today was very different from last weekend. One, we didn't leave the city and two, my parents and I got to spend some time exploring the city on our own. This morning, we took the metro BY OURSELVES to Calle Fuencarral, a very trendy shopping strip in Madrid. They have all the latest fashions and anything that a trendy hipster like myself would want to buy. We stopped at a nice soap store (not by my choice) so some of the ladies could buy some trendy soap, then we stopped for coffee and snacks at a trendy coffee shop called Café y Tapas, where our waiter was very rude, but I guess that's the trendy thing to do. When my Dad was trying to order a pastry in English, Mr. Waiter appeared to have no idea what he was saying, so my Dad took him inside to point our what he wanted in the display. When they got inside the man asked my father, "Do you speak Spanish?" "No," my Dad replied. Then the waiter said "Well, I speak English." Well why didn't you tell us when we were trying to order!?!?! You gotta love Spanish people! Anyway, after we finished our mid-morning coffee, we went to a very trendy store called Skunkfunk. No joke. They carried all of the latest fashions, and almost had me sold on a nice hat until I saw THE wallet. I knew that it was the one right when I saw it. I'm sure no one back in Illinois has one like it. After completing my retail therapy, we kept walking until we arrived at Plaza del Sol, a very famous square in the heart of Madrid. Literally, the heart. In the square, there is a gold tile on the floor that marks the center of the city. I took a picture.
The view of Fuencarral from the bottom of the street.
The plaque in the middle of the Plaza del Sol
Bob Esponja (Spongebob Squarepants) in Plaza del Sol!!
After this wonderful morning excursion, the family headed back to the apartment to reconvene before our next adventure. Once calmed down and refueled, we went to my sister's landlord's apartment to drop of the rent. I didn't know what to expect, but it was a cute old lady and her husband, both in their late eighty's. They were very funny and Spanish. The spoke absolutely no English, but I managed to follow most of their conversation. They forced us to stay for coffee and cookies (it is rude to turn it down in their culture) and we stayed and talked and laughed for an hour. I think they really connected with my grandma...
After that nice break, we went to the other end of Madrid to my sister's university. She really wanted us to see it and for us to be there to accompany her on her commute after class. It was a very nice campus and we ate a surprisingly good meal in the cafeteria. Nothing too special, but much better than what I'm used to when it comes to cafeteria food. When we finished eating, we went to a little courtyard and waited in the shade until my sister got released from class.
Then, we had a nice twenty minute commute back into the heart of the city and we went to my sister's apartment for the first time. It was much different from when I had seen it before on skype. It is a very nice place, a bit of a tight squeeze for four people, but I think they really like it there. There is also a really nice park a block away, and it is always filled with old people playing cards and walking with their friends. We ate at a little restaurant across the street from said park. It was very cute and is a favorite of my sister and her roommates. They know the wait-staff on a first name basis. Legit. I ate some potatoes with peppers and meat of some sort and a calamari sandwich. Delicious! I am really going to miss the food here. And the eating schedule, I suppose.
Tomorrow, I go to the Prado to see what I came to Spain for, Goya's Black Paintings. I am very excited to finally see them in person and to be able to brag to all of my artist friends that I've been to the Prado. It's been a wonderful trip and I have been blessed to be able to see all that I have seen and experience it all with my lovely family.
Aden and Jorge