Bienvenidos todo el mundo to my 5th blog post of my study abroad trip to Madrid. This week was kind of a boilerplate week; I spent most of my days working at school and doing my research, rather than going to a variety of places. I spent my week retracing my steps to some old landmarks, visiting Sol for some ice cream, going to the Thyssen and Prado museums, and walking through the historic neighborhoods of Malasaña and Chueca to have some delicious meals. This week really marked a shift in my experience during my study abroad trip. I really got more settled in, and I’ve slowly lost that feeling of being in a daunting new city. Although Madrid constantly has me in amazement with its beautiful buildings and historic landmarks, I am slowly integrating into the culture of the city.
Although I did not travel much around Spain, I did make my way throughout Madrid and around my neighborhood. I live close to the Chinatown part of Madrid, known as Usera, and I got to visit tons of oriental markets and try some asian cuisine. Outside my area, closer to the center of the city, lies Sol—I was able to have whiskey flavored ice cream, eat a chicken paella, and stand on kilometre zero there! At Malasana, I had some of the best tonkotsu Ramen I ever had, as well as a late-night, dark-chocolate milkshake. Around Madrid, I ate some of the best international food in my life: some amazing butter chicken, massaman curry, and katsudon. The best part of living in a city is the harmonious blending of all these cultures, creating this amazing international cuisine scene, while still having the influence of the home culture in each corner. I’ve found that late-night walks around Madrid are always really fun, whether you go down an alley booming with partying locals or down a somber street with the lights of restaurant guides. You feel like you are truly in another city.
Going to the museums and other landmarks multiple times helped me really absorb the information of the history of each location. I noticed that when going back to the Prado museum and Retiro park, I saw things I missed previously! The longer I live in Madrid, the more I start to see context. Seeing paintings of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, then actually visiting it, makes those paintings and the location even more impactful. I do really enjoy seeing every monument this city has to offer, and the longer I spend in Madrid, the more I begin to really see the true beauty of every building, sculpture, and plaza here.
Most of my time this week was dedicated to writing a research paper and continuing to work on the research experiment. The breakfast has become more monotonous and so has the morning routine: starting at 9:00, I go to school for the first 5 hours of the day. After 2 is usually the Spain siesta, which makes it difficult to do anything after school as everything is closed. So, I end up simply walking throughout the city and seeing some sites. Though my days are starting to merge together, it does not invalidate the fun I have traveling through the city of Madrid. I will leave you with a picture of this wonderful week and city.