One of the goals that I had defined for myself before arriving in Madrid was to learn how to explore a city as someone with no experience traveling, so that I can help others when I come back home. I feel this weekend I have really worked towards reaching my goal, as I set out on a mission to find a place recommended to me by locals. This semester I’m taking a class completely in Spanish with other Spanish students and they were the ones to help me find out about special mysterious cookies that I absolutely needed to try.
You may be asking yourself, why are these cookies so special ? Well these cookies are sold by nuns from el Monasterio Del Corpus Christi , however google maps is very vague about where exactly they are located. Essentially, you are set on a quest to find them with very little direction. However, the Spanish students did give me a tip and told me to look up what the door looked like. With the help of my roommates I learned that the location was actually close to where we live ! The secret cookies were only really about an 8 minute walk and near the market of San Miguel. When I got closer to the exact location, I was very surprised that it was actually a lot harder to find than I expected. I turned into the wrong alleyways, but eventually I found the door I was looking for and got to the secret cookies.
I stood outside the door and really didn’t know whether to knock or ring the doorbell on the side. However, before I could make a decision, someone spoke from an intercom and instructed me to enter the building. Nervously I entered the monastery, and didn’t really know where to turn but eventually saw signs leading to an old turntable. On the side there was the menu for all the different types of cookies they sold. I would also like to mention that throughout the whole transaction I never saw a nun or anyone inside the building. The feeling was very nice and felt like I was in the city’s confidential gem. Luckily, the Spanish students told me that they did not accept cash so I was ready to hand that over when it was time to order. I ordered ½ a kg of Lemon and Powdered cookies, and left the cash in the turntable. In a flash, someone turned the turntable and two boxes of cookies were in the place of my cash. I left very content and my roommates also couldn’t wait to get home to eat the cookies we ordered.
I think what I learned from this experience is that interacting with people from the place you are visiting is so important. Many people want to go to the most touristy areas when they visit a place, however it is vital to get experiences that are more meaningful and intimate to the city that only a local really knows. To any first generation student, I definitely understand how it can be scary at first to ask others for help or suggestions because we are used to figuring it out ourselves. However, when you travel it is more than okay to ask around and learn from other people and many locals are excited to relay information to you. I can’t wait to learn more about traveling, and I’m glad that I’m slowly gaining more knowledge during my time here in Madrid.