There to Andalucía and Back Again to Madrid

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I come to write again about the phenomenal week I just experienced in Spain. After the last time I made a blog post, I traveled to the outskirts of Madrid, to the cities of Cordoba, and to the roads of Seville—naturally stopping by a couple of amazing restaurants on the way. This week, I was able to dabble a bit in my photography hobby abroad. I was able to find 35mm film and its respective services in a little area within Madrid. I was also able to expand my knowledge of the Spanish language by continually putting myself out there and attempting to translate my favorite tv shows in Spanish. Finally, I began to actually put my hands on some lab equipment and lab manuals, a step that finally allowed me to start my research a couple weeks into my program
As you might recall, I was not initially a fan of Spanish cuisine. The food I experienced this week totally flipped my opinion. The food I consumed in the first few weeks of being in Spain was a low-tier representation of the food you could find in Spain: freezing-cold Spanish tortillas, under-seasoned chicken and fries, dry Bocadillos de Calamares without sauce. However, as I get more familiar with the country and where to look, I have been eating quite well. I have had some of the best Thai cuisine just around the corner of my university simply by asking the locals: I gorged myself on amazing beef cheek and prawns, tostadas with flavorful olive oil and turkey cold cuts, and delectable ramen from a restaurant inside a marketplace. Slowly I am starting to appreciate the cuisine that lies in the nooks and crannies of Madrid and Andalucía, local or international. That is not to say I get a little homesick sometimes and will have a bit of Five Guys for lunch here and there.
This weekend I came back from Cordoba and Seville in the southern part of Spain. I was able to go on a train for the first time in my life, and during the ride I was able to see the beautiful Spanish countryside adorned with mountains and plains as far as the eye can see. First arriving in Cordoba, I was greeted by a beautiful Jewish Quarter with white buildings all around me to which I followed all the way to the Mosque Cathedral. The cathedral was amazing and an excellent site for me to tour. I arrived in Seville in the night and saw amazing domes and towers lining the inner-city skyline. I was able to tour the Alcazar and the Seville Cathedral, both of which were beautiful sites. I spent hours walking around, trying to absorb every etching on every wall. Overall, I would have to say I have seen absolutely gorgeous, picturesque, and historic sites that are integral to the Spanish Culture.
One of the biggest hurdles I have to cross every day is understanding and attempting to speak Spanish. Every day, I go to Spanish class to learn verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Albeit a bit slowly, I am definitely learning. This city provides great opportunities to practice one’s Spanish, such as going to the grocery store, eating out at a restaurant, or simply reading the signs of various stores. In the end, I am proud of the progress I am making and the time I have spent in Madrid has already proved to be truly enlightening. I have decided to leave you with two pictures of my time in Cordoba and Seville, both of the grandiose monuments that are part of Spain’s storied past. I will see you all next time in my post for next Sunday and have a good week.