The day before class started, we checked into our hotel and had some time to explore the area. Gladys and I went to lunch across the street from our new hotel and had some tortas. The waiter quickly noticed that Spanish was not my first language and began speaking to me in Brazilian Portuguese (?). After, we met with a few classmates and visited a few places such as the Spanish National Library.
First day of class and we got to visit the stadium of Real Madrid: Santiago Bernabéu. When we first arrived, there was a special event happening so we had a few hours to stall before coming back and getting tickets; unfortunately the tickets were first come first serve with no previous reservations… this place must be quite popular.
In the meantime, a few of us decided to head back and visit a fruit market that we had seen the day before. I bought some cherries and a small fruit tray of mango, apple, kiwi, strawberry, and dragon fruit.
Of course the fruit had a different taste being from a place that I am not used to. The apples and kiwi tasted especially different from normal and not in a good way (makes sense for the apples, being from the apple state of Washington and such (; ). The mangoes, strawberries, and cherries on the other hand were incredible! This was also my first time trying dragon fruit. It tasted pretty plain, but fairly delicious. While adventuring around and trying fruit, we also went to a Starbucks and learned a few new things: First, Starbucks cards do not work in Spain. Second, iced coffee does not exist here either! The best they can do is provide a hot coffee and a cup of ice.
We headed back to the stadium where I witnessed an escalator pile up for the first time… not pretty. We headed to the top of the stadium and worked our way through the floors, from the museum to the locker room.
Throughout the tour there was a strong sense of pride. The trophy displays were dramatized, videos replayed Real Madrid victories and best moments in time, favorite players were highlighted. It was also extremely crowded and many visitors wore jerseys. By the end of the tour we were all exhausted and hungry. We still had another tour to go on: a walking tour of Madrid.
A storm hit during the second tour. It was raining, not like Seattle raindrops, but raining pennies. We finished the tour at a chocolateria for chocolate churros. Afterwards we headed to dinner and had paella; a Spanish favorite. This was my first time eating paella and certainly not my last.