Today went by so fast I can hardly believe it. Jessica had class this morning until noon so I slept in, took a shower, and got ready. When she got back we went to a small resturant and split a sandwhich, which was delicious.
Our plan was to shop and sight-see a few churchs Jessica had to see for her class to write a paper. Luckily Jessica is just as obsessed with shopping as I am and we spent hours wondering the streets of Madrid stopping in all the cute shops. Shopping in Madrid is insane. There are stores EVERYWHERE and more resturants than I could ever count. I have NO idea how they all stay in business. Isn't the competition tough?
We tried on clothes, bought clothes, and browsed through dozens of stores. The shopping is absolutely fabulous. (I would be 100% broke if I lived in Madrid...that is a fact!!) It's funny-in every store they blast American Pop Music-Britney Spears, Avril Lavinge, Black Eyed Pea, Rap-even some Jack Johnson. Every single store played English music. Since I've been here I haven't even heard Spanish music. I literally have no idea what it sounds like. I decided that next time I need to ask someone a question (and I obviously can't say it in Spanish) I just need to think of an American song that has the words. Like, if I want more of something, I'll simply start singing Brittany Spears' "gimme more" Perhaps then they will understand me.
It's absolutely hilarious when they have signs translated from Spanish to English. One sign in the store said "50% The last one will be the cheapest" which I think was supposed to mean that you buy one item and you get the second (cheaper) item for 50% off. Another sign said "Please, take care of your things. Thank you" I have no idea what that was supposed to mean...perhaps don't leave your items unattended? It's really funny! So many of the T-shirts sold here have American sayings on them...there are no shirts with Spanish words or sayings...only English. And usually they make zero sense...They just say "happy" or "funny" so random. And some fashions are absolutely ridiculous. Things that would NEVER sell in the states...like these coats (Only 14 Euros!)
We stopped and toured inside the Basiilica Pontificia De San Miguel chapel. WOW! I have never seen a church so beautiful. The stained glass, statues, and paintings are absolutely amazing. Cathedrals are all over Madrid...and every single one is decorated more incredible than the last one.
Jessica needed to see another chapel (which I can't remember the name of) so we walked down the street to find it. When we got to the cross roads, we asked some police where the chapel was. They had never heard of it. One policeman took out his iPhone and searched it...turns out we were right infront of it. We pushed the door open and walked inside. It was by far the creepiest moment I've had in Madrid (and I was here alone..with no friends, phone, or language translator). The church was empty and dark. I thought at any moment someone would jump out and scare us. There were statues of the Virgin Mary and random paintings but the church seemed to be completely deserted. Every other enternce door we tried was locked. Too bad for Jess-we couldn't even tour the chapel she had to write about for her paper. Good thing the internet exists so she can research it there.
Remember how I wrote that during my flight I thought Spain had so much open land and greenery? The exact opposite is true for Madrid. Buildings are EVERYWHERE and they are so close together. The streets are extremely narrow...I highly doubt a bus or semi could get through most of them. There are no patches of grass and there are very little trees. The entire city is cemete, rocks, and buildings. Although, I must say, the sight is far more beautiful than any greenery. The architecture is mind blowing.
We went to the Plaza Mayor, a plaza completely surrounded by buildings built in the 17th century. We sat down and had a quick snack and talked about how surreal it was that we were both in Spain. All around the plaza were artists painting beautiful paintings of Spain, Spanish dancers, and bull fights. It was fun to watch them and sift through all the gorgeous artwork.
Jessica had talked about seeing the oldest restaurant in the world, Botin Mediterranean, which started in 1725. We traveled down the street to find it. The restaurant was a cute little thing. We entered and got to take a tour of the bottom level. Inside they showed us where the oldest oven in the world was. INSANE! They even had a certificate from the Gennis Book of World Records stating it was the oldest restaurant in the world.
We continued shopping and walking around. I swear we walked more than 8 miles today. Luckily I wore comfortable boots! Jessica wanted to take me to another resturant before we headed home but couldn't remember the name. We walked up to a group of police and she asked about it. The first guy didn't know the answer so he asked his partner. When his partner didn't know the answer he asked another policeman. That guy didn't know what Jessica was talking about either, so they got on the police radio and asked the entire force! They kept saying to Jessica (in Spanish of course) "we're the best police...aren't we? We'll get you directions!" haha. So nice! We ended up finding the resturant...and it was closed. such luck.
There are two odd things about Madrid that I am going to rant about for a moment. First of all, EVERYONE smokes. The young, the old, the rich, the poor. Absolutely everyone. They also smoke everywhere they go! On the streets-even in the restaurants. We were talking to one waiter and he said that people can no longer smoke inside starting January1st (too bad both me and Jessica will be gone). But seriously, everywhere you go you are surrounded by smoke. It's a bit annoying when you are trying to finish a meal and someone is smoking at the table next to you. They don't have "smoking" and "non-smoking" sections either. ew. The other thing...Madrid is obsessed with ham. I'm not talking about the type you find in a deli..sliced and packaged...they hang their ham. There are just ham legs EVERYWHERE. it is absolutely disgusting. I am deeply scared from seeing ham being hung all over. We were having a snack at one small restaurant and surrounding us were ham legs! Over dinner one of Jessica's roomates told us that the reason they started doing it was to annoy/offend the Jews. That is such a Spanish thing to do. GROSS! I told Jessica I wouldn't be having ham this entire trip. How is that sanitary? The meat is just like...hanging there!
We walked back to the apartment and the house mother cooked soup, meatballs, and potatos, and Flann. It was another delicious dinner. I do feel a bit odd though, they have the entire dinner conversation in Spanish. I am left sitting and wondering what the heck is going on.
After dinner Jessica and I decided to walk around. It was another gorgeous night in Madrid. It's true that this city comes alive at night. There are so many people EVERYWHERE. If you've ever been to Canal Street in NYC...you know what I'm talking about. People shoulder to shoulder walking the streets after 8PM. It's so much fun! I have no idea how I'm ever going to leave here.