Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

Hola Chicos!

It is now my third week in Spain, and this past week has flown by.  This past weekend I went to Salamanca which is known as a huge university city in the west of Spain near Portugal.  Since it is summer vacation, the city was filled with tourists and some locals.  The city isn’t very big but it is absolutely gorgeous.  We had a walking tour which was awesome.  One of my favorite moments of my trip so far happened during our tour.  We had the opportunity to go into the Cathedral.  There is an old Cathedral and new Cathedral attached to each other and they look like one big building.  We were able to climb to the top of the bell tower for the most amazing view I have ever seen in my life.  It was incredible.  On one of the old schools in Salamanca is tons of detailed carvings.  Hidden in them is a frog.  If you can find the frog on the wall, it will bring you good luck and you will pass your exams.  Lucky for me, the tour guide pointed it out!  After, we went kayaking and I absolutely loved it.  I don’t have pictures because I didn’t want my phone to get wet. 

(Catedral Vieja de Santa Maria)

. (Can you find the frog??)

(To show this is the new Cathedral there is an astronaut carving)

(View from the top)

(Mis amigas)

Classes are also going well for me.  This week we had midterms. (Crazy right? Only 2 weeks in and time for midterms)  I only had one and it was pretty easy.  I can’t say enough how great the professors are.  It is obvious they have a passion for teaching.  For the most part, classes are fun and easy to follow.  They start a little too early for me, but it is so nice to be done by 1 everyday. 

Now that I have been here 3 weeks, I have had more time to explore Madrid.  Sometimes people who study abroad spend so much time traveling that they forget to explore their host city.  I do not want that to happen to me!  Some of my favorite places to go during the day are the Retiro Park, which is huge, or the pool.  The weather in Madrid is exceptionally hot and today’s high 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Thankfully, my host mom decided to turn the air on yesterday once it hit 97.  I also visited the Reina Sofia this week which is the modern art museum that holds much of Picasso, Dali, and other amazing works.  The coolest part of that was seeing “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso.  I studied this piece for over a week in my history of Spain class and got to see the real thing.  

(Parque Retiro)

(Guernica, photo from online, pictures in museum prohibited)

The country of Spain also has huge rebajas (sales) during the month of July.  So a ton of shopping must be done!  The streets of Madrid are filled with stores to check out.  Madrid is also known for its night life.  At night, my friends and I will often go to small bars such as El Tigre or Copas.  El Tigre is the best because if you order 1 drink, they bring you free food such as tapas, croquettes, y patatas bravas.  It is a great place to hang out and see locals. 

It is nice to have to opportunity to visit and travel throughout the city and country and the transportation is very easy to figure out.  With my host mom, I don’t have a curfew but if I don’t want to take a cab, I must be in the metro before 1:30am.  I really like the independence.  But I also have the responsibility to do my homework, write blogs, be home for dinner at 9, and not skip school (this is the hardest).  One of the other hard parts about have the freedom to do what I want, is to say no when I need sleep.  Many people get sick when studying abroad because they go out every night, wake up early for class, and explore all day.  Sometimes I have to say no and go to bed early so I can have more energy for weekend trips.  I have two more weekends left in Madrid and I will be visiting Segovia this weekend and Barcelona my last weekend in the country.  I can not wait!

PS.  The frog is on the top of the skull that is on the left side of the pillar!













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