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Published: February 2nd 2011
Top of a Málaga hill
¡Buenas Tardes a Todos y Todas!
I hope you all have been well these past couple of months, I know I have!
On November 19th Marshall came to visit me! And I could not have been happier. He arrived that morning and departed the 29th- 10 days of travel was a little hectic but SO worth it!
Marshall landed in Madrid so I took a bus to meet him in the city. I was fortunate enough to have a friend from high school studying abroad there so I could stay there for the night and go straight to the airport in the morning. I was a fool and wandered the wrong terminal for over an hour before I found him but when I did, it was wonderful! It's always nice to see someone familiar after months of being in an unfamiliar place! Once again, I was a genius and got a us a little lost before we made it to the hotel but when we did, it was GORGEOUS! We rented a little apartment, not any more expensive than a hotel and it was SO quaint. I was so happy to be comfortable in a new city and
First Spanish Dinner
Tapas were not his favorite
with someone so special to me.
Madrid was wonderful but so cold! I've been rather spoiled by living in Málaga, right on the coast, meaning the temperature really doesn't get colder than 50 degrees. So, Madrid was definitely a city to pull out a more serious outer layer- Marshall was nice enough to bring my trench coat which was perfect for their weather (around 35 at night with wind)!!! This was a difficult transition from the sunny n lovely Málaga. I know all my Minnesotans are scoffing at the past couple sentences...haha. We went to dinner that night, Marshall's first Spanish meal and he certainly was not impressed! He has a pretty specific palette and Spain loves their tapas (small plates), which have minimal seasoning, lots of seafood and much of their cuisine is cold- NOT a good match for a hearty dish loving fellow!
The next day we wandered that city, we went to a an Egyptian temple- not impressive but the Palacio Real was FANTASTIC! This amazing palace was built in the 1700s and is full of the most ornate and detailed rooms one will ever find, unfortunately photography was prohibited... The kings and queens of
Outside of Palacio Real
Spain certainly owned their titles judging from the decorating of the castle. Then again, maybe this is just me because it was my first encounter with a palace. For what its worth, the palace was beyond immaculate!
The next day we went to a contemporary art museum, the Reina Sofia, and we saw the "Guernica" by Picasso. This is a painting I have been seeing in my spanish books since high school, so it was UNREAL to see the real thing up close and personal. I couldn't believe the size, it's something like 20 x 10 feet. The rest of the museum was full of, well... contemporary art! Most of the artists were European and a few were American.
That Saturday afternoon in Madrid, we were bombarded with little girls, around 13 or 14 asking if we would sign a petition for handicapped children. Initially it seemed as though they were simply conducting a survey but then we realized they were insisting we donate a minimum of $20. We said no, tried to escape, but they proceeded begging. After we claimed we had no money, one of the girls pleaded Marshall to take out his wallet, to "confirm
his nationality." I immediately realized they wanted to see his wallet to point out that he did, in fact, have money. I grabbed him quickly and sped away before they got their wish! I can say, this was the first time someone had seriously attempted to hustle me since the Dominican Republic! I was not expecting this from Spain, but I should have known better, big cities across the globe always have some type of scheme, ready to appear when least expected.
Madrid immediately reminded me of New York City. It was fast, bustling, stressful and very concrete. It was hard to find a tree anywhere! Madrid has a huge park called "Parque de Buen Retiro" (park of great retreat) which was gorgeous, and of course reminded me of Central Park. The people are more straight-forward, no nonsense, a quick- talking people, much like New-Yorkers. Although I'll always love NYC, Madrid did not catch my attention as much as Barcelona, which we visited the following weekend.
We finally made it out of Madrid and back to Rincón de la Victoria to my little flat on the beach which was a nice recluse after a hectic weekend, full of
Atop a hill
activity. During the week I went back to work and Marshall caught up with his own work and it was all very relaxing. We went on a four hour bike tour of the city of Málaga, which was amazing and full of history and interesting info! I would recommend a bike tour to anyone who travels to ANY European city, they're pretty common and SO interesting!
Thanksgiving fell on that following Thursday. This is my second Thanksgiving outside of the US, I am going to try my best to avoid missing this wonderful US tradition again, if possible. Ummmmmm, my flat doesn't have a stove! So, what is there to make? Anything that is stove-top ready....for Thanksgiving?! No, thank you. So, no turkey, no macaroni and cheese, no ham, no nothing! It was pretty depressing thinking about all the wonderful food my family was eating at home but I tried my very best to fill the table with comfort foods. We invited the neighbors, two chicas from down the street (also English teachers) and another Californian that happened to live in Spain because his family is Spanish. So the six of us ate, drank and proceeded to be very
merry with the pitiful meal we managed to whip together. My friend Kenzie made some lovely mashed potatoes though, kudos my dear!
Finally we went to Barcelona, what a city! Barcelona is certainly my favorite place in Spain (thus far). Antonio Gaudí, an architect from the early 20th century has his creations all over the city, his buildings dot the entire place- his style is very whimsical, colorful, Dr. Seuss-esque. The Parque Guell and the Sagrada Familia are the most popular Gaudí works and they were TRULY breathtaking. As much as I loved these places, its pretty hard to describe their aura; they were kind of like animated sculptures with their own personalities, they were swirly and magical, like the entire piece might come to life and move a little if you looked away for a second. Gaudí had an original talent, especially for the time he was alive, he died in 1926 yet his buildings and sculptures look so contemporary, nothing you'd imagine the late 19th and early 20th century would possess! Barcelona has a laid-back feel, still a big city with tons to offer yet the ambience is artsy, fashionable and unique. It's a fun-loving place with
a lot of entertainment and the people are low-key and very pleasant. Barcelona could be compared to a west coast city while Madrid holds the East coast attitude and fast-paced life-style.
Marshall's flight got a little mixed up, he was supposed to leave from Barcelona but ended up leaving from Madrid, so we ended up having a couple extra days together, which was really nice. I sent him on a bus to Madrid Monday night which concluded our fabulous trip, time well spent!
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