Finally Exploring Madrid

The weekend!!!! It came and I concurred!

Finally got to explore some of what Madrid has to offer. Madrid is definitely a place to behold and has some interesting history. But we will get to that. Lets start from the beginning.

The school week was long and a bit hectic. Some of the classmates and I decided to unwind after class on Friday. We decided to go to Entre Caceres y Badajoz which was literally around the corner from school. Oh the tapas…. They were definitely a site but actually really delicious. So Madrid is basically a party city, for 2 euros you can order a beer and get a crap load of free food. So essentially that’s what we did only thing I didn’t order beer I ordered a whiskey and coke. Going with the theme of experiencing new foods and experiences I tried this dish called Morcilla for the first time. It was a little weird looking but actually tasted pretty good. Chilling with my classmates is always a great experience. They are a pretty cool bunch of people.

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Side note: Has anyone seen the commercial for the show Santa Clarita. Well Madrid seems to love posting ads and commercials about this silly show. Its just so creepy looking with Drew eating fingers and bloody. Anyways that’s my little rant about that. Why I brought it up is because one the tapas reminded me of the little fingers in the ad.

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Cannibalism anyone


An up close view of Morcilla


The rest of the weekend was dedicated to mom and I exploring the city. Saturday was a great day. I would definitely recommend the free MadRide Tour. It’s a 3-hour (yes I said 3, but don’t get scared. It’s a lot of walking and stopping to listen) walking tour that pretty much stops to all the important places. If my mom can do it, so can you. Mom was definitely a trooper, she’s been doing very well this trip. The tour guide tells you the history about the places we see and can I tell you Madrid has some seriously crazy history. It was a great day that ended with great food. The ended eating at Rosi La Loca where we got 2 drinks, first and second dish, and desert or coffee all for the price of 12,90 euros a person. Can I say the food was pretty good and big portions! Mom had paella, hake (fish) with tomato and mushroom cream. I had pasta with a spinach cream and veal and potato wedges. We both had cheesecake for desert.

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Moms late lunch


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My late lunch.. Yummy!!!!

After a late lunch we went shopping and walking around on our own. I usually like to explore on my own but I couldn’t beat hearing the history of Spain. As we were roaming around we stumbled upon a guy dance group that did hip hop and impersonated Micheal Jackson.  If your ever around Gran Via at about 6pm check them out. They show is really worth it.

 

 

 

If you are ever around Gran Via, you should definitely check them out. Their pretty cool.  Look them up on instagram @SACMJJ.

After all that excitement it was time for, you guessed it more food. I found this really amazing place called La Casa Del Abuelo that served amazing seafood. They have a few locations around the city but we went to the Original one. It’s a little more expensive but oh so yummy. Their bread is so fresh and delicious, and their food is piping hot (so for all my people out there who loves to eat hot food this is the place for it).

After doing a bit of work on Sunday, we headed out into town and our first stop was El Retiro. So, it’s a park. If you’re into that sort of thing they have a lot to offer. There is a lake where your can rent a boat, mazes, statues, and just plenty of space to enjoy the scenery. Well its fair to say that mom and I we aren’t park girls lol. We left as soon as we could (but you know we had to walk a bit because there aren’t many signs or a map so you just have to pick a direction and hope for the best). After that little adventure we went back to Rosi La Loca to eat and then just walked around for a bit more.

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Our only picture in the park. We were in front of someone’s maze.

First Week in Madrid

If I have to climb another stairs again I seriously might scream. (Just kidding. Kind of) One of the things I had to wrap my head around when I arrived to Madrid is the amount of stairs I have to climb. (my legs and butt better be amazing after this experience) I mean seriously I don’t think they believe in elevators.

On a serious note, the move to Madrid wasn’t too bad. So far, I haven’t had a lot of culture shocks. I think thus far the major shock has been the amount of stairs I have to climb every day. I’m sure some of you are saying stop being lazy but for real when you have to climb everyday, everywhere, constantly, it would get old for you too.

Ok, let me try to move away from complaining about the stairs lol. The first week of classes for me have gone smoothly. Before starting the 4-week intensive course, it was stressed that the course would be very intensive but so far it’s been ok. The first week was just very long because class was from 9:30-6:30pm so by the time I got home I didn’t want to do anything but eat and sleep. I am not staying in the heart of Madrid so my commute to and from school is a bit longer than others. But my little town of Humanes is quaint and cozy which makes it worth it to me.

The weekend finally came around and I had a few things planned. Friday was a short day in class. The evening starting with drinking a little sangria at home while preparing to head out to meet up with my classmates. 1st stop was Madrid De Nata. The place was ok a little weird and punk rockish. The drinks were expensive (not to mention horrible) and they don’t offer tapas with your drink. We ended up leaving and going to an English pub near by where my rum and coke was 5 euros (quite worth it being that it was pint glass and it was half way filled with rum)

Saturday was a day of exploring Humanes and doing laundry. Humanes is such a quaint town with a lot to offer. Mom and I only walked one side of the main street but we saw quite a bit of it. And of course we stopped in the clothing store to check out the bags and purses. Can you say good quality clothes for cheap and their purses were amazing.

Honestly, I haven’t had time to do much with the schedule that I have for this month. Exploring a little at a time is the motto for February.

So far the only shocker is… You guessed it, climbing the abundance of stairs.

Lisbon, Portugal

So, Mom and I arrived to Madrid on a Wednesday around 8pm and on Thursday morning we were off to discover Lisbon. Little did we know it would be a bumpy ride.

Can you say missed flight!!! It’s crazy!! In all my years traveling I’ve never missed a flight (Thanks Mom. Now you know the blame has to be placed somewhere lol.) Despite our lost connection we finally made it to Lisbon around 5:00pm.

The first thing we did after dropping our bags off was find a nice restaurant to have a good meal. We ended up finding a little cafe really close to our AirBnB.  The pastries were amazing but the food not so much. After settling in our accommodations, we decided to walk around for a little bit. It was a beautiful night to explore and get a feel for the place.

Our First Full Day……

A day trip to Sintra

Traveling around Lisbon and the surrounding cities is farely easy. We got a single ticket for 1,95 euros for a single trip on the metro to get to the line that would take us to Sintra directly. Once there we got a round trip day pass to Sintra and all the lines in Sintra for 15 euros. I highly recommend getting this ticket when going to Sintra.

After arriving in Sintra, we found a wonderful café called Don Café for Americano coffee, cappuccino, and pastries. Boy was super delicious and extremely cheap. A a cup of café and pastel de nat there is only 1 euro. I tried traditional Sintra pastry called Travesseiros Sintra to go with my cappuccino. My order was a little more expensive at 2,80 euros. The travesseiros was a little sweet but once I brushed off the sugar on the top it was yummy.

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Visiting Don Cafe while in Sintra is a must do…..

Once we got warmed up, we starting our site seeing. We saw majority of the sites in one day. We saw

  1. Moorish Castle: this castle dates back to the first king of Portugal.

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    Proud of Mom for climbing the infinite amount of stairs…

  2. Pena Palace: is one of 3 most see sites in Portugal
  3. Regaleira Palace: was the brainchild of the owner and an Italian architect
  4. Monserrate Palace: constructed by an English millionaire in the 17th centuryimg_0160
  5. Natural History Museum: is located in the center of the village
  6. Seteais Palace: constructed by a Dutch Consul of Portugal
  7. Roca Cape: This site is known for being the westernmost point of the European Continent. It looks over the Atlantic Ocean (extremely windy and cold in February)

A day trip to Sintra is a most do when visiting Portugal.

Our Second Full Day…..

A new day, not fully rested but ready to see more of Lisbon we set out exploring. With a all day metro pass we were able to see quite a bit of the area. One of the things I definitely wanted to fit in was try an original pasteis de nata and boy wasn’t I disappointed. Belem is the birth place of de natas and oh so deliscious.

The areas that we explored in downtown Lisbon were

  1. Castelo de São Jorge
  2. Arco da Rua Augusta
  3. Patio da Gale
  4. Museu/Catedral Antoniano

In Belém we explored

  1. Torre de Belémimg_0651
  2. Padrão dos Descobrimentos
  3. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

The evening ended with stopping to Pastéis de Belém for our delicious treats.

Lisbon is a beautiful place to visit if only for the scenery and architecture alone. But be prepared to climb uphill the whole time your there (seriously the Whole Time)….

How It All Began

It all began with a passion and a dream to speak Spanish fluently. I always thought that the easiest and best way to learn a language would be to immerse oneself in that culture and that environment. That way you would be forced to use the language and of course the added bonus of living abroad. I seriously thought about moving to a Spanish speaking country after I graduated from Rutgers University but in the end I decided to move to Houston, Texas instead for school related goals.

Fast forward to 5 years later, and I am moving to Spain to learn Spanish and immerse myself in their culture. I chose Spain for various reasons but my top reasons where the easy accessibility to other European and African countries, the high demand for TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign language) teachers, and the affordability of the cost of living in Spain.

The process….

There are a lot of different ways and programs that allow you to move abroad to learn a new language or to teach. It really just depends on you, where you want visit/live and what language do you want to learn.

I chose the program that TT Madrid offers because it combined a 4-Week intensive TEFL course and 10 months of Spanish classes. This program allowed me to obtain a yearlong student visa. (which is important to be able to legally work in the country)

Once I chose a program everything else feel into place. Yes its hard work to get some things together but in the end everything worth having takes sacrifice and hard work.

The Journey……

Tickets to Madrid were not that expensive at all. A round trip ticket from JFK to MAD cost about $450 to $500 depending on how late you book the ticket. Come on now, some trips to different states cost that much or just about depending on where you are going.

My journey to learning a new language has begun and I am excited to see what countries I can explore while in Madrid.

Let’s explore together!!!!