May 22: Going With the Flow

Nearing the final days of our time in Madrid, Professor Z planned for us to meet YouTuber James Blick who runs the channel Madrid Revealed. We had watched some of his videos when prepping for our time in the city and Professor Z is a huge fan. Our time with James Blick was entertaining and insightful. 

James Blick has a very fun channel and is not only good for providing entertainment but is very informative if you are planning a trip to Spain! James shared with us his journey to becoming a YouTuber and some valuable life lessons he thought would help us. I enjoyed listening to our New Zealander friend share words of wisdom many can so easily forget in regard to how we should approach life. I will share a few of them with you. To start off, James encouraged us to pursue our passions and what interests us. Our excitement and desire to continue learning and growing in that area creates motivation and you will enjoy what you do more. With that, knowing that those can change is okay! Evaluating your life and moving in a direction of growth is healthy and good. A few other things that stuck out to me were in regard to community and intentionality. With community, James Blick talked about how having people in your life is not just good but needed. When collaborating with others at work or living life in a neighborhood, having people to connect with is how your community is built. We all need to have people in our corner, can’t journey in life solo no matter who you are. In relation to intentionality, prioritize the things that matter most in life. Take time to evaluate your life and consider what you currently have on your plate to see if you have taken on too much. Very easy to live in a cycle of busyness and isolate ourselves from those who matter to us and miss out on experiences in life. James Blick was very popular in our conversations because of all he taught us through his videos, it was cool to meet him and our professor was ecstatic to spend more time hanging out with him.

Professor Z introducing James Blick

A group of us decided to go to Toledo and spend the rest of the day exploring the sites in this medieval history-rich city. In true college student fashion, we went to the train station with the intent to catch the next train out with no pre-purchased tickets. The spontaneity of the trip was not in our favor and could not get on the train, it was 1:30pm and we wanted to catch the 1:45 train, the next one out was leaving at 5. Instead, we decided to grab lunch together at an Italian sandwich shop in the neighborhood of Chueca. We took our sandwiches to Retiro Park and had a little picnic in my favorite park ever. I took the opportunity to ask if anyone else wanted to walk further into the park, and that park does not disappoint. It is 350 acres of pure enjoyment to me. People bike, run, workout, and rent boats in a pond, there are places to stop and grab a bite or a drink, pretty monuments, fountains, and sights to see. I do not think you can get bored there, definitely lost, but nature is just so relaxing, a great place to go for a walk with a friend or after a meal.

To end our last free night in this city I have grown to love, a few students and I went to the rooftop of our hotel building after eating some soufflé pancakes from a Japanese dessert shop called Sufu Cake. These pancakes were so fluffy, nothing I have ever eaten before but I have seen them online which made me curious to try them. The type I got was almond butter and chocolate drizzled on top and it was delicious. I found this place when researching the neighborhood of Las Letras in one of Professor Z’s assignments. Our rooftop is so relaxing, a great place to lay on a reclining chair and bask in the sun or enjoy the music playing by a chamber on the streets. For us, it was the latter and we also enjoyed some snacks we picked up from the local market. 

Rooftop of our hotel

The day had a lot of hiccups and uncertainties, however, each day is an experience and can be a good day despite plans not going the way intended. I enjoyed today and getting to explore and experience the city with different people.

-Stephanie Ceballos