May 19: Fusion of the Past/Present, and of the Day/Night

Day 4 in Madrid started at 0:00 military time. It was our first night experiencing the night life in Madrid. As a group of us students walked through the streets we continuously got approached to enter different pubs/clubs. In the back of my mind I knew they are promoters and looking for fresh bills to be spent. Nonetheless, one of the promoters we met, Maria, was quite sweet and convincing. So, we ventured off with her and actually ended up enjoying the night. We made friends with a group of Canadian girls  in which we spent the night listening to Reggaeton. This night was the night my hand gesturing skills were perfected — we met plenty of friendly Latins who did not speak English so I had to find some means of communication since Google translate could not keep up with the long conversations and loud music. I realized that communication was not mutually exclusive which language (although an important component). I practically spent the whole night signing and gesturing with my hands.

Fast forward 4 hours and its time for breakfast ! My roomate, Heather, and I compensated for the early start to our day (0:00) with espresso at breakfast. I don’t normally reach for coffee, but it was very much helpful to persist through the day with a full tank of energy. Five hours is normally plenty of sleep, but mix that with jet lag, energy expenditure, and its actually 2 hours of sleep. After breakfast, the group toured the city with Tino (our tour guide for the day) . We walked down Gran via where there are 3 major sections. Considering the fact that I’m not particularly interested in the arts, I was surprised to find that I liked the third section the most. The streets were filled with theaters/cinemas from the 40th century. Although most building were renovated, the ambiance of them still reflected the traditional/historic arts of Spain — which is why I liked them.

One thing that caught my attention during this tour was the fact that even though most of the renovated buildings had a deeper meaning that what meets the eye; yet, most people knew the stories and origins, regardless of what they are repurposed as today. For example, the building symbolizes the strength of the country because it used to be an important political building before Franco made an agreement with the US. Other notable, and quite impressive buildings we toured include the Hotel Florida ( La Corte Ingles), Pestana CR7 Hotel, Casa del Libel, Royal Palace of Madrid, and the Cathedral of Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo Partnership with Pestana Hotel Chain

After the tour, I continued to explore the city, and ate one of the best tapas up until that day (unfortunately, I can’t recall the names only how good they were). So if you are reading this go to Casa Lucas ! The day took a quick turn when I met the famous Fat Spider-Man. By the end of this encounter I had less hair on my had because spider-man decided he wanted a handful of my hair. He hated my hair, or loved it so much that he wanted a souvenir — I’ll go with the latter. I then left to the hotel to get a quick break before the next adventure of the day.

I regained energy at the thought of chocolate con churros at San Ginés. They are highly spoken about, so my expectations were pretty high. Turns out I am not a fan of chocolate con churros, it was average at best ( I really wanted to like them). I am planning on trying a different location in hopes to change my mind. The churros left me with an unsatisfied sweet tooth so I decided to get gelato with my roommate on our walk to Reign de Sofia. The gelato did the trick; lemon was refreshing, raspberry had a delicious tang, and pistachio was creamy – overall, a great way to end to the day.