Spain speaks a whole lot less English than Portugal. Being a student of Spanish since middle school, I thought maybe I had a slight advantage on the average American traveler, pero tal vez not. As one would assume, the locals here talk much faster than the teachers back home, and the mixed in slang doesn’t help. It also turns out that Ryan and I’s AirBnB host, whom we still do not know the name of, doesn’t speak a lick of English either. However, after hearing more of it each day I have become comfortable communicating in their language. Today being the last day in Madrid, I’d give myself a report card with a solid B- on it… Ms. Serbalik would be proud.
Besides the language barrier, most of everything in Madrid was quite simple. The food was abundant- I’m about 98% sure Ryan had thirty empanadas in the course of our five day stay. The music was prominent- besides the ever so often street music played by random bagpipers and violinists, we attended the last day of Mad Cool Festival; a three day music fiesta in downtown Madrid. Between Wilco, Kings of Leon, and Foster the People, the performances were epic to say the least. And the parks were stunning. Yes, I said parks. Amongst our favorites was El Retiro. This area was perfectly groomed with a wide variety of trees, monuments, and fountains dedicated to the strangest things. The most questionable one was a statue made in honor of the Fallen Angel, located in the one spot that was 666 ft above sea level. As eerie as it felt to be there, it was impossible to deny the sculpture’s beauty. A place full of much more light in the park was Crystal Palace. Made of only steel and glass, this unique see-through structure politely demanded the attention of every passerby. The fact that we arrived at its gates just around sunset made the experience even more captivating.
Madrid came and went en un parpadeo, now onto Pamplona to celebrate the San Fermin Festival! Move over bulls. Cheers.