I haven’t had much time to do things around Madrid since we have a lot to do for school, but I thought I’d post a few pictures of recent happenings.
Last Sunday I joined Giorgiana, Enrico, Stefano (all from Italy) and Sorina (Romania) for a tour of an Impressionist exhibit at the Thyssen-Bornamisza Museum. Thyssen usually gets overlooked by tourists because El Prado and the Reina Sofia Museums are more popular. Our plan was to enjoy some tapas at Mercado San Antón after the museum, but it was quite chilly. Instead, we ducked into a nearby café and enjoyed a coffee and some conversation. We discussed everything from American pride to the culture of Moscow. Have I mentioned that I love this MBA program?!? I am learning so much from my classmates.
Wednesday and Thursday were holidays here in Spain. In fact, International Labor Day – which was Wednesday – is celebrated on this day by many countries. In true fashion, most Spaniards go on vacation. We, however, had class on Friday so we didn’t go far. Many students went to a Capea on Wednesday. Capea is where you go to a farm, enjoy some Spanish barbecue and sangria, and then learn how to “bull fight” with a baby bull. As much as I wanted to be social with my classmates and soak up something cultural, I chose not to participate. There was no physical harm to the bull, but there is some teasing involved. Bull fighting is very popular here. Although Cataluña (where Barcelona is located) has now banned the practice, it is still quite common in the rest of Spain. I enjoyed the photos of my classmates at Capea, but I have no regrets about my decision to not attend.
That evening, we went to a social event organized by some students from my school. We went to a bar that has a view of the skyline of Madrid. It was very nice and the music was great. When I say “great”, I mean that it was different from the typical house/dance music that plays in nearly every club in Madrid. I was so thankful for this because I’m getting really burned out on the same music. If you know me well, you can probably guess that I danced my shoes off. Literally, I took off my shoes. I needed to get to business and the heels were holding me back. A few hours later, we took several taxis to a much larger club with – you guessed it – house music. Not really my preference, but I joined anyway. Outside are Ferraris and all kinds of fancy cars. Apparently “someone knew someone” and we were ushered right in without waiting in line. For that, I was thankful.
The next night we celebrated my friend Svenja’s birthday. We started the evening in true Madrileño style – watching the Real Madrid vs. Bayern game at a friend’s apartment. Unfortunately Real Madrid lost, but that didn’t dampen our evening. We headed to a bar called 1862 which specializes in fancy cocktails. It actually reminded me of cocktail bars in the U.S. I enjoyed the speakeasy style, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra tunes, and several Moscow Mules. Many IE classmates showed up to celebrate Svenja. All in all, it was a great evening.
Saturday morning, I woke up early to head to Día de Mercado which only occurs on the first Saturday of each month. It offers fresh vegetables, cheeses, olive oils, breads and wines from farmers around Madrid. What really lured me here is the fact that you can “purchase” a wine glass for 2 euros, and you can taste up to 3 samples of wine from the wine vendors’ booths. After purchasing some vegetables and enjoying some wine, we headed to the park next door, Casa del Campo. This one isn’t as busy as Retiro Park. Casa del Campo has some woods that you can hike and there are also bike trails. It also has a zoo. I would say that this park is more for the outdoorsy types. Retiro is more for strolling and picnicking. We enjoyed a walk around the lake and then headed to lunch!
Saturday evening, a Cuban-American classmate organized a Cuban dinner and dance night. We went to Cuando Salí de Cuba restaurant for dinner. I tried my best to resist meat, but I ended up ordering ropa vieja. Nearly 48 hours later, my stomach is still in knots. But it was worth it! After dinner, we headed to Tropical House for some salsa dancing. It was so nice to hear music I love and to dance with friends from all over – Portugal, U.S., Peru, Colombia and Switzerland.
It sounds like I’m pretty social, but I promise that I am often studying. Here’s a picture for proof. And now, I should get back to studying! 🙂
Rachel’s List – this is a space where I plan to include links to interesting articles and videos that I’ve read/seen on the web or in class.