OK SOOO , before I go on some long rant about how much of an amazing time I just had in Spain ( and yeah... I TANNED!! HAHAHAHA! OK....not really a tan, more like burn, but hey! ya take what you get! ), I would first like to take the time to talk about a lovely picnic that I had, that was suggested to me by a genius and wonderful person!
About, six days ago, I had the great opportunity to go by myself to a park and have my very own french style picnic! Cool right? Yeah folks, it was pretty cool! After buying a freshly made sandwich from the market, stopping into the bakery to pick up some macarons and a bottle of iced tea, I went down to the park for a picnic on my own, only to spend two hours "reading a book" and listing to my ipod, in the brilliant sun! Now, to answer the most common question one may get upon reading this blog, "why is she telling us this...?" I just thought that it would be nice if this made you very very jealous of the way I spent my Friday afternoon, but to be honest, if I would have had some friends or family there with me, my picnic would have been about 100000000% better, because honestly, 2 hours with only yourself, some birds and the occasional bumble bee to talk to... one gets lonely very easily. Basically, the just of this is that, I MISS MY .... EVERYTHING, and even though without doubt I am having the time of my life in this glorious country, VOUS ME MANQUE! <3 : )
Anyway, on to more important things (just kidding!) ;
I have just passed four of the most wonderful ( the things I saw, the people I was with ), hot ( the temperature....and maybe some Spanish QT's, but mostly the temperature ;D ), sunny ( not one day of cloudy, rainy weather ) and cultural ( the palaces I entered and the cities that I toured, learning about their history and creation ) days of this whole exchange! Truly eye opening! Due to the sight seeing areas and buildings important for the past and present Spain, and given massive amounts of free time ( In which Chris, (the other exchange student and friend), and I walked and walked and wandered into parks and shops and museums to see on our own what we could discover) our "little" trip to Spain without doubt lived up to any high expectation it could be given! We were able to see things, both by the help of guides, but also on our own, and I really think that it was the perfect way to be introduced, to not only a new city, but a new culture, for also, on our own, we spend four nights in the house of a Spanish lady, where we were supposed to communicate, learn and understand the differences of the "Spanish ways" and, of course, eat.
This would have made the trip EVEN BETTER.... if I actually spoke a word of Spanish...other then "Si". Well actually, here, considering I have the time, why don' we go over a little list, titled: Jenny's Spanish Word Count ( I.E pathetic list of words she knows) -
Si, Senor, Senorita, Chicka, Chikos, Chico, Mucha, Gusta, Buene, Aseso ( asenos? asensos? ... bathroom!) Sol, Gracias, Buenos noches, AIEEEE, Estudios.... and that is about it-
For conversation with said lady, this leaves me with these next phrases-
" Buenos Noches", "Buenos Dias" , "Gracias senora", "Mucha Gusta" , " Si Si Si ahhhh si si si... (and so on) ", and " sol est grande "....in other words, thank goodness for my room buddy Marion, who takes Spanish as a course.
Without her, I am not sure that I would have been able to do many things, such as ask where the bathroom was or if I could leave to catch my bus that was supposed to leave ten minutes ago, and tell the lady that she was wrong when thinking that it arrived at 830 when we were told the day before that it was 8! Thank you Marion! THANK YOU!!! Haha it was funny, and we made the bus in the end, but juuuust barely, and from then on the Seniora ( who's name I unfortunately did not catch, and I know that that is sad considering I lived there for three nights, but I seriously don't know what it is because I just called her senora) didn't argue with us about our time schedule! :P
Other then that, the stay was quite pleasant, EXCEPT FOR THIS ONE THING! OMG! OK SOO! Like the last night Marion and I were there, she served us this pudding thingy that was (debatable) edible, and seriously tasted like cigarettes ( and yes I know I shouldn't be complaining like this because it was really nice of her to let us stay in her house and all, but seriously, guys, she was just B-I-Z-Z-A-R-E), but the pudding should actually be pretty impressive because she didn't smoke, so having a pudding that tasted just like what cigarettes smell like, that must have been a hard task to accomplish, I can only assume... so respect there, but other then that! OMG, ok, so she put it in front of us and then just stood there...like for ten minutes until we finished the whole thing...just watching us eat it.... I was a little worried, and later that evening after Marion and I were in our room, we came up with a theory that the pudding was actually poisoned, and we were going to be stolen and forced to watch Spanish soap operas until three o'clock in the morning, and be isolated into Spanish speaking solitude... (if that makes sense) EEP! ha ha although very strange and a little unnerving, being in Senora's house gave me even more stories to tell, so for that! Thank you Mme. Senora! You shan't be forgotten, and although I would like to forget the pudding, that shan't be forgotten either.
Anyway, now on to the things that I saw!
I have to say that Madrid is quite an astonishing city, but there are also many cities surrounding it that I personally preferred visiting, just because they were less crowded and the smaller community and old features were something I enjoyed more then the constant hustle, bustle and more modern look that Madrid has. Now, this does not mean that I did not like Madrid, oh no, that is FALSE. I truly loved Madrid! I thought it was beautiful! There were many things that I saw that I never would have imagined possible! For instance, we went on a tour in the Royal Palace, and learnt that apparently in the time that the palace was used by the Queen and King, many members of the royal family suffered from depression because they did not know what there was left to do in life, because they had it all already, and at first, this struck me as a little hard to believe, no one can really have it that great right? yeahhhhh, I was really wrong. These people had everything. It was ridiculous. My reaction wasn't even like, wow I am so jealous, it was actually "this is just ridiculous." For instance, as a wedding gift, the Queen received many gold embroidered furniture pieces, actually, she received a fully furnished bedroom, with everything from a stool, to a flower pot, to a bed.... embroidered with gold....as a wedding gift... :/. They royal family also had people that would check and wait for them in the anteroom, to make sure that they were, yannow, going to the bathroom, or weren't getting bored, or were eating, or needed their nose to be blown or something ridiculous like that. And as for the children! HOUIIIEE! Ok so, you know that little rocking horse that you had when you were a kid that was about two feet long and rocked at the perfect pace and you thought was the best thing ever because when ever you went to your grandmas house it was always there and it was just so perfect in every way? (yeah, that is a reference to myself...) OK WELL, that horse can just go rock itself to horsey-shame-heaven because it has officially been...rocked! The horses provided for these children, to play on, were .... RIDICULOUS! it was about 4 feet high, standing up on its hind legs with stirrups and gold hooves, carved to have the exact facial and body features as a real horse and given to them as a casual present. OH! Guess who actually worked out and had a gym with equipment similar to the ones found in gyms today? THAT'S RIGHT! The adolescent royals actually worked out! With velvet covered weights and a machine for pulling weights just like the ones used today! It was so strange, I just always assumed that they went cow tipping or something to stay in shape...well so much for that theory! They actually worked out! HARD CORE ( hehe pun! Core, like abs and core like hard core... haha yeahhhh). Yes, but all in all, to finish off my rant about the inner royal palace, it was absolutely beautiful in every way and I actually can't describe it. There would just be too much to cover, but if you ever have the opportunity to go, TAKE IT!
We also visited Toledo and Aranjuez for the other two out of four days that we were there and I think that it is safe to say that Toledo was my favorite city! Most likely because it was very very old and every single building, I though, was picture worthy and presented the famous " flower pot on balcony" Spanish style home. Along with that, all the roads twisted and turned and there were little roads that led to quite little restaurants, or more shops, or to churches or old mansion like homes. I'm going to have to say that, although I disagree with this word as a descriptive word for a city, it was really cute! And I wish we could have had more time there. Something interesting that I found out about this city is that its building was done by both the Jewish and Christian community, so many of the buildings combine the designs used by both cultures. For instance, many of the buildings are made with a combination of materials that the Jewish community and Christian community brought with them, and then combined to make the city... I don't know from where, and what materials, but the guide said that if you look closely, many of the buildings will have a combination of materials to create and you can tell by just looking at it. In addition, on the walls of some buildings, there will be Hebrew or Islamic writing passages from either the Christian or Jewish belief, stating a belief of a family.
Note: this may not be 100% accurate, but I think that it is pretty close because it made sense, and the french speaking Spanish guide showed us some of these passages, so I am pretty sure! But, I just thought it was cool.. : )
Other then that, the temperature was so so soooo perfect! SHORTS AND TSHIRTS ALL THE WAY! The food was...good, and interesting ;) and I just had a really great time learning things that I had no idea about! :)
So I guess! Until next time! Adios Amigos! ;)
Jenny : )