8/17/15 Date of Arrival
After a long day traveling with Air Canada and not getting an ounce of sleep(I am always cursed with having little kids behind me and due to being 6’, I never have enough leg room), I have finally arrived in the Spanish city of Madrid. As most of our study abroad group is together for our week in Madrid, we met up at the airport and all took taxis to the place we are staying at in the Abrantes area. It was quite the experience with our driver driving rather erratically and never using a turn signal, but the whole ordeal of getting a taxi was easy because there are loads of them waiting right outside the arrival area. Don’t fear about the language area barrier, just point at the address and they will get you there, but be weary because it can get expensive. Metro is also easily accessible, but our group was extremely tired and we did not want to lug our bags up and down stairs since some stations only have stairs at some parts. Our apartment is nice, a little packed with the six of us, but it does take around 20-30 minutes through a mixture of walking and metro to get to the touristy areas of Madrid.
I did not go into this trip having any expectations about Madrid, but I was fairly surprised by how dry and complimentary the colors are here with most buildings being a shade of brown, yellow, or orange. After living in PNW for so long, I am used to the green colors, diversity of building appearances, and less litter than many other states. I never expected for the areas outsides of the touristy areas of Madrid to be so overrun by dog poop and trash so be aware since even though people litter in the US, it does not compare to the amount we saw in Madrid. When we first arrived, we headed to the closest grocery store that we thought to be lacking(we found a better one close by) to find the ingredients to make up a stir fry. I already knew this since I have traveled to Europe before, but Spain does not have big grocery stores or not as many compared to the United State’s huge Walmart and Costco stores. Then the rest of the day was flight recovery time so nothing too exciting except planning what we would do the next day which is, explore the nearby park, Parque Emperatriz Maria de Austria, and heading to downtown Madrid. I am really excited to explore this city more and see how the Spanish lifestyle and customs is different to my own.