Saturday, September 29

Last Night

Plaza Mayor

The beautiful view from the rooftop bar Los Viajeros
My hostel friends

Barajas Airport and some sites near my hostel

Barajas Airport
Palacio Real
Catedral de la Almudena

Friday, September 28

My first days in Madrid

After flying for 14 hours, from San Diego to Dallas to London, I´ve finally made it here. For the better part of a year, I will call this city home. I arrived just past noon at Barajas, the most modern, cleanest and without a doubt quietest airport I´ve ever visited. It has a museum-like quality to it, not a single upset child.

I am welcomed with blue skies and dry heat. My taxi driver points out all of the sites as we drive toward my hostel. It´s just what I hoped it would be, nineteenth century buildings, great big parks, and crowded streets.

The hostel is nice. I quickly made friends with a couple Americans from Newport Beach, Kyle and Chris. We hung out in the hostel, played card games and drank a plastic bottle of wine that they bought at the market for 1 Euro, tasted pretty good actually. A french guy Julian and Jack, an Australian, quickly joined in. I´ve met one girl, Katarina from Germany, and the receptionist Sylvia and I get along well, I´d love to get a drink with her... have her tell me about the city. The rest of the girls have come here in packs and it´s not quite as easy to mingle with them. Last night, Kyle and Chris and I went to a cerveceria and sipped beers and snacked on empanadas. They had just arrived that day too, we returned to the hostel exhausted. I slept better than I had in weeks.

First thing I did was buy a cell phone. It´s a prepaid phone deal so there´s no contracts and I just pay as I go. When I leave Spain I can just sell the phone back to the shop and it will be completely out of my hands.

I spent all day today looking at ads for apartments. I called up 16 different ones, 6 of which are no longer available. I looked at 2 today... both a little further than I´d like to be from my school. The first was pretty nice. I would be sharing it with a 31 year old Spanish woman who works all day, every day and stays at her boyfriend´s on the weekend. My room has a double bed and a big closet. I like it but I´m afraid I´ll be lonely there and I really want to live with cool young people who I can practice Spanish with and meet others through. The second apartment was cramped and messy and in a shitty neighborhood. Online I found a bilingual American looking for a roommate. I spoke to him on the phone and he sounded really nice and on the level. Though I would prefer to live with a Madrileno, the price is right and he assures me the apartment is a gem. He said he´d call me back tonight.

The Metro is nice and clean and the whole city is very well connected.

Tomorrow I am meeting some of the program participants at a nearby park. That should be fun. My legs are already tired from walking so much. Time to go back to the hostel, make some more calls, maybe take a late siesta, and then enjoy the night.

Friday, September 21

Pre-trip travel

I've spent these last couple weeks visiting friends in NYC, Philadelphia and Colorado. I know I will miss them all so much when I'm away.

Thursday, September 20

Solo falta una semana

In one week exactly I will step foot on Spanish soil and begin my search for an apartment. Man, what do you pack for an eight month trip? I've got to make a list. Yes, that will be my task for tomorrow.