Hola, from sunny Madrid! It’s spring break at Temple Rome, midterms are over, and spirits are sky high. Everyone has flights or trains booked to travel all over Europe, from Budapest to France. Spain, namely Madrid, Barcelona, or Seville is definitely a favorite destination for students.
My friends and I sent off for the airport as soon as our last exams were complete. I had all of my midterms within the span of two days, but the warming weather and thought of spring break definitely gave me the energy to push through it. Despite being on what seems like an endless adventure/vacation, we all still have to study.
Our first stop is here, Madrid, Spain. Home to the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, Royal Palace, and many more sights, Madrid is a manageable trip from Rome. Many other study abroad programs also take place in Spain, so we were able to meet up with friends outside of the Temple program. I lucked out especially, because my boyfriend is studying here this semester in a Spanish intensive program.
At the airport, to my surprise, he met me at the gate (Yes, he’s sweet), and I immediately sent my baggage ahead to our apartment and headed into the city with him the way the locals do, via the metro.
The Madrid metro is much larger than that of Rome, with at least nine different lines in contrast to our two. The metro is a bit cleaner, but lacking in the diversity and animation of the Rome transit. That said, it was around dinnertime, so maybe there weren’t that many travelers.
Since it was dinnertime, that was our first stop upon reaching the city. For dinner, my boyfriend took me to a tapas restaurant that young people frequent to socialize, often before a long night out. I tried the “tinto de verano” a drink made with seltzer water and an amount of red wine. After dinner, we walked our food off through Retiro, a giant part with paths around a gorgeous manmade lake.
The next few days were a flurry of rushed sightseeing. We visited the Prado Museum, which houses hundreds of masterpieces. I loved this museum, as it placed many artists that I had recently learned about in my High Renaissance course in a world context. One of the amazing series of works to explore are those of Francisco de Goya. The museum contains such a large amount of his pieces over time that viewers are able to follow his transition from early lighthearted works, such as children playing amongst farm work, to his dark days, which include the piece, Saturn Devouring His Son. Looking at these darker works, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated as well as in awe.
Next door to the Prado is the Reina Sofia. She holds an incredible collection of modern art, including Pablo Picasso’s famous Guernica. Another short walk away, after reenergizing with some café con leche (coffee!), is the Palacio Real, or Royal Palace of Madrid, old home to King Charles the III.
And the perfect way to end the night after a long day of walking? Churros! Made specially by the silver machine pictured, churros are fried dough perfect for dipping in a cup of hot melted chocolate:).