January 15, 2016

First Day of School

Classes have begun.  There is Spanish to be practiced and culture to be learned.  I will be taking four consecutive Spanish courses in one semester, equivalent to two years of Spanish at my American university, so I should be more comfortable with my lingual abilities in no time.

Running in El Retiro

Campus is only a short metro ride away from my apartment. Also near my building is the Parque de El Retiro.  What I call the Spanish Central Park, in terms of a natural and recreational presence in a metropolis, El Retiro is a runner’s paradise.  The park offers trails, inclines, declines, and most importantly, safety.  Everyone, though, seems to spend a part of their day weaving through the garden paths, lounging in the mild winter weather, and admiring the beautiful statues that surround the Retiro Park Lake.  Even in January, the heat of the sun is enough to sustain parkgoers.  Visitors be warned: El Retiro is a hot spot for couples, so if you’re longing to spend your days with a special someone, you may want to take a stroll with a group of friends.

America?

New night, new nightlife.  My friends and I left the high maintenance Madrid club scene and opted for casual night at the bars instead.  First impression thoughts of Sidrería El Tigre were that it both sounds and looks like a place you would never want to be.  The cheesiness of the giant print of a tiger head on the side of the building nearly turned me away before entry.  I knew, though, why we had come: free, endless tapas.  The inside of El Tigre proved to be much more inviting than its exterior.  Crowded with young people who appeared to be locals, the brightly lit wood and stone space was filled with chatter as cheerful waiters wove in between tables to deliver the main attraction.  The purchase of a drink grants you unlimited tapas to share with friends, a great deal for travelers on a budget.

My group continued our night at Dubliners, an Irish pub recommended by a fellow student who had studied abroad in the fall.  In Dubliners, and in its next door neighbor twin, O’Connell St., I was back in America.  With American music, American people, and American sports on TV, there was no sign of Spain.  Though I enjoyed my time at the pubs, I do not plan on being a regular.  Studying abroad is about stepping out of your comfort zone.  I will not gain from spending my time in a place that feels like home, nor do I want to miss out on all of the other unique and exciting nightlife options in Madrid.  Though I may return to watch the Super Bowl in a few weeks, I can check Dubliners and O’Connell St. off of my explore list.

 

Chocolate con Churros: A Madrid Tradition

The final destination of the night was the famous Chocolateria San Ginés.  Open 24 hours, the sweet shop offers chocolate in various forms, but is best known for its hot chocolate and churros, or chocolate con churros.  These sticks of fried dough are not my pastry of choice, but when dipped in the hot chocolate, which I have found can be served anywhere on a thickness scale from melted chocolate to pudding, they transform into warm bites of perfection.  In a city as large as Madrid, I am hesitant to visit anywhere twice, but I know I will be back at San Gines soon.  Yum!

Destination Locations

 

Paz, Amor, Madrid

A.J.H.

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7 thoughts on “January 15, 2016

  1. Pingback: January 28, 2o16 | Abroad Perspective

  2. Pingback: January 28, 2016 | Abroad Perspective

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