Thursday, June 19, 2014

A week in Madrid

Last weekend (6-8 June), we took it relatively easy by staying in Madrid. I had a late night on Friday celebrating Las fiestas de Getafe with Ana and her friends. We had a wonderful dinner at Home, a partially vegetarian restaurant that allows you to bring your dogs inside. Later on, we ran around town, where everyone was out in the streets partying just about everywhere you looked. I ended up coming home when the sun was already out and took a nap on the couch.


After my four hour slumber, we decided to go hiking around. We walked part of the GR-124 Senda Real, which ended up mostly being us walking along a highway with occasional breaks where we had to dodge people on bicycles. We ate lots of pumpkin seeds and some sweet red peppers that Susan chopped up for us. We eventually got kind of lost because the markers for the trail were confusing and misleading. In the end, we hiked over 13 miles, which I consider quite the feat given my lack of sleep.


On Sunday, we got up and headed to Sol to meet up with Itzá, our Spanish professor from MSU. She's currently teaching in a study abroad program in Segovia. As she was in Madrid for the weekend, we decided to go hang out with her. We ended up checking out El Rastro, the giant flea market that takes place in Madrid on Sundays. Apart from the flood of people, it was an enjoyable experience. Many vendors were taking advantage of the recent abdication of the king and the subsequent call for an end to the monarchy by selling the old Spanish Republic flags. I almost bought one...

After shopping around, we got lost looking for a good place to have lunch. The girls decided to leave me in charge of navigation, which had worked out well up until that point. We got put back on the right track by a nice madrileño and were lured into a fancy restaurant by a convincing restaurant proprietor (who gave us free samples of delicious jamón serrano). Itzá was gracious enough to pay for our lunch, which was entirely too nice of her. We ate very, very well...


After lunch, we headed to Parque Retiro and explored more of it than I had previously done. It was incredibly hot, so we got ice cream before checking out some beautiful gardens and the Palacio de Cristal.





On Tuesday (10 June), I met up again with Ronnee and we checked out Aranjuez. It's a little town outside of Madrid. Not a whole lot was happening, but we had a few tapas and walked around a great deal of the town. There were some beautiful gardens around the palace too, which we didn't really discover until after we had roasted in the sun for hours.








On Thursday evening, one of Susan's friends passed through Madrid on her way back from the Camino de Santiago. Susan cooked up a wonderful dinner and Anna told us about some of her experiences on the Camino. It felt nice to play host for a change and pay forward some of the hospitality that so many others have shown us.


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