Our Time in Madrid

by Cameron Ross

From our First Day of orientation and getting to know each other at our open dinner for our study abroad trip made this experience so much more fun and I wished we could stay longer in Madrid. On the First day of our exploration, we found ourselves in la Plaza de Santa Ana where we learned about some important individuals who lost their lives to the civil war wanting to unify the Spanish people with love, and one of those great individuals is none other than Federico Garcia Lorca himself. 

The next day we went on a trip to Segovia where we got to experience this beautiful gate like structure that you think is being held by some type of cement or glue, but actually the weight of the stones keeps the structure enacted and have been present since the time of the Roman rule! And to think at how advanced the civilizations were during that time with such complexity!

Next, we also got to see the Royal palace which had so much character and personality that the place was filled with so much tactical planning in case of a war/fight were to break out that it frightens many of us in the group of how much planning went into it as well as the lengths that were made. Also, to mention, if you have a fear of heights, I would take proper medication before coming because the drop offs are dramatic and sharp. Talk about game over if you were to slip… esp during those times. 

Also, we got to witness a beautiful mountain that had a shape/outline of a woman attending her womb laying down in the mountains. If you stare for about 10 seconds, the image of the woman will appear. (look at the mountains in the middle) 

On our 4th Day in Madrid we got to experience the Royal Palace where the King has his formal meetings and other activities here and its more often than not heavily guarded. Also, we learned that the King does not live in the Royal palace, doesn’t spend the night there either and travels to his home elsewhere in the country once his duties are completed.

And to top it off we got to experience some really good Chocolate Churros! Its very busy establishment so make sure to come early if you want a seat! 

As if we thought the views couldn’t get any better, we visited the Valle de Cuelgamuros! Not only is it the largest monumental Display of the Christian faith, but the works of art that was built inside the hollow mountain would leave you speechless. Unfortunately though pictures and videos could not be taken inside the building but the amount of detail that went into building this monument is extremely impressive exp during those times. They also hold Mass at the monument every day and also been known to host weddings at the very location. Even though it may seem bizarre to some, the political and emotional stances on sides of history this place holds still runs deep to this day! So, if you do plan to visit, just remember to mind manners because there are some vastly different views on this matter that are very sensitive to some. 

As we were closing out on our last few days in Madrid, we got to experience the El Rastro! On Sundays, they close down some of the roads to make way for locals and tourist to walk and experience the many vendors that have plenty of things from old ancient/ dated items that may have been lost in time to some potentially collectables and hidden gems that are a rare find! Also to mention, because there’s thousands in attendance to go to these shops that cover several blocks, that it is also a hot spot for theft so mind your belongings! 

On Monday we got to meet the famous James Blick, who was dropping countless gems on finding your passion and purpose in life and it’s not always a straight shot to find that purpose in life. Also, to be adjustable/flexible with the times and continue to push yourself to reach your greater self! 

Finally on our last Day we went to experience La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, where we learned about the legendary Manuel Laureano Rodriguez-Sanchez otherwise known as Manolete or Superman for being the best bullfighter and the Legend Victorino Martin Andres (The best Bull Raiser). 

Then to top off the night, we enjoyed some very authentic and cultural celebration of expression and renaissance through what is called Flamenco that has some other cultural influences that is often times performed with strangers without practice and it’s all improv. It’s such a magical experience that it’s something that you could never forget and makes you feel so immersed in the culture that you feel as though that you are of Spanish descent and belong there. Madrid is one for the books that you must visit at least once at some point in your lifetime.