Hola from Madrid!
It has now been a week since we left Istanbul for Madrid. Although it was hard and emotional for all of us to say goodbye to Istanbul, during this past week I feel we have begun to see and appreciate what Madrid as well as Spain has to offer. While I will admit the first few days here I was constantly comparing the city to the high standards set by Istanbul, once I began to experience the city I have come to really appreciate the Spanish culture and the city of Madrid. Never would I have thought I would be lucky enough to experience three distinct cities and cultures during one study abroad program.
Spending time in Madrid, I realize how nice it is to at least partially understand the language. Compared to Rome and Istanbul where I knew little to none, understanding Spanish has been nice. My few Spanish classes in high school have aided me in comprehending about every third word people are saying, which usually is enough to grasp the question. Also having knowledge of basic words like gracias, donde esta, and la cuenta have already proven to be quite beneficial. Another aspect of the Spanish culture that I can definitely take advantage of is siestas. Who can complain about being able to relax and take a nice nap in the middle of the day. This will definitely come in handy later in the semester when we will be working late on our final projects.
Just after a week here, I can already tell you one of my favorite things about Madrid is churros con chocolate. Having an extreme sweet tooth and loving anything to do with chocolate, I was extremely happy to hear about this specialty at our orientation. During the walking tour of the city, our guide then pointed out the store with the best churros con chocolate in the city, Chocolateria San Gines. Having now been there twice already, I can tell you that it does not disappoint. You are able to get 6 delicious churros and a cup of hot chocolate sauce for only 4 euro. Getting churros has already become a part of my daily routine here in Madrid.
This first week in Madrid has been an adjustment coming from Istanbul, but with such a rich culture and people to guide us through the transition, it has been great and I am excited to see what else Madrid has in store for me!
Some photos from our adventures in Madrid thus far: