La semana final

Hola, me llamo Ana, y estoy triste.

Last week in Madrid.  This sucks, I’m sad, I don’t wanna leave, and I have no interest in coming home.  I’m sorry for everyone who misses me but I don’t miss you that much, I just want to stay in Spain forever.  Please don’t take offense to that, you’re just not as great as this country.

Before I get to the actual events of this last week (aka everything since July 14 because I’m horrible at updating this and don’t have enough friends who read it to remind me to update…) let me add to the disaster of Harry Potter for a hot sec.  Before we walked all the way to the cine to realize that Spaniards can’t tell time, we took an adventure down prostitute street.  Yes, I said prostitute street.  (It’s really called Calle de Montera but in reality it is Calle de Las prostitutas so we’ll refer to it as that).  There is a street that branches off the biggest night life plaza in Madrid that is lined with prostitutes.  Naturally, myself, 5 other students and one of our professors from UC decided to go check it out.  After we walked all the way up the street to see all the girls wearing shirts as dresses and more make-up than I’ve ever owned in my life, we decided to have a liiiitle experiment.  Have you ever wondered how much a whore costs in Spain?  If you haven’t, wonder now, because I will tell you.  We had a young college boy with us who loves us enough to play into our ridiculous adventures, and so he separated from us in hopes to get picked up.  It worked within less than 30 seconds, no lie, and so he asked how much and for what.  It’s 25 euro for 20 minutes of whatever you want.  Thanks, Juanito.  Then he said no thanks and walked away, however us girls weren’t quite satisfied.  Once you pay 25 euro for only 20 minutes of supposed satisfaction, where do you go?  So back into the lion’s den Juanito went, and again within 30 seconds he was picked up again.  Apparently all these sluts share an apartment somewhere where they can bring guys back to perform their services.  Lovely.  Spain, please make prostitution illegal, the 4-year-olds dining with their parents on Calle de Montera don’t need to see 37-year-old overweight women groping an 80-year-old man’s junk in hopes to make a few bucks.

ANYWAYS.  So last Saturday we took another field trip to Ávila, a walled city in Spain.  The city is completely surrounded by walls which were built during some war time to protect the city.  Before we entered the city to see all the “cool stuff” we went to some important landmark outside of it that had something to do with St. Theresa of Ávila so we could see the whole thing.  While there, some other little family of Spaniards came up to see the city.  While they were taking pictures, I noticed one of them had silly bandz, and seeing as I am an ignorant American who doesn’t think before I speak, I yell to Sue who is standing right behind him to look at him because he is wearing silly bandz.  He proceeded to turn to Sue and say “…I can understand you.”  Awesome, I’m a fool.  It’s okay though because after that he came up and talked to me and asked whee i was from and about my life, so maybe he doesn’t hate Americans and I kinda made a new friend.  The city was really pretty and cool to see but we walked around way too much, it was 4324 degrees C, and I got too tired so instead of completing the walk around the whole wall I siesta-ed on a random bench on Sue’s lap.  I have the best roomie ever.  Then we finally got on the bus and I siesta-ed the whole way home.  

Saturday night we went to el Kapital, that seven floor dance club in Madrid.  It was a lot of fun and we stayed out once again until the metro opened at 6 AM just to say we did it one last time, and so we didn’t have to pay for a cab.  Even though I didn’t go to sleep until 7 AM, Sue somehow managed to convince me to get up by 11 AM to go to El Rostro, an open air market.  It never ends, there are tiendas and tiendas of random stuff that just goes on forever.  We obv managed to drop some euros on some lovely souvenirs, then finally called it quits after about two hours of wandering. 

Sunday evening we met our professor Dr. Bryant at Museo del Prado.  He works as a curator at the Cincinnati Art Museum and knows a lot more about history and art than I ever will even attempt to know in my life, so he walked us around the museum and showed us all the important paintings and explained all the history behind them.  I feel so much more informed.

On Tuesday, we got to try REAL chinese food, homemade by our Chinese friends in our class.  I struggled with the chapsticks, but it was deliciousssssssss.  Then after class we wet to Parque de Retiro, the largest park in Madrid.  There, we paddle boated, saw the only known public statue of the devil, and the memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack on the Atocha train station.  There are 191 trees for the 191 victims who died on the train, as well as an additional tree for the “FBI” agent who died during the investigation.  After that, we went to the actual Atocha train station to see the memorial there. All 192 names are inscribed in glass, and in a huge bubble glass thing, there are millions of messages inscribed that were left in notes after the attack.  

On Wednesday, we just went to the pool and then that night, and did one last Madrid Pub Crawl with everyone.  Thursday, we went to Kapital with everyone for one last raging night in Madrid.  Friday we didn’t have real class, instead we walked around the city and got coffee/drinks with each of our professors, then got our certificates for passing the class.

Friday night we had one last dinner with María and our host sister, Fai.  María and Fai both tried Skyline Dip and Kraft Mac&Cheese and absolutely loved them both.  We gave María some University of Cincinnati memorabilia and she gave Sue and I a gift, obv I cried.  Dinner was so good and so sad, I was definitely in no way, shape, or form ready to leave María.  Then after dinner we went to Casa de Cerveza with everyone who was left in Spain for one last hoorah and goodbye, before heading home to start packing at 1 AM.  

It was an amazing last week, an amazing six weeks, but I was not ready to say goodbye.

Los españoles son imbéciles y la vida me odia

Me llamo Ana, y estoy MUY EFADADA.

So I know I’ve complained about the lack intelligence some Spaniards seem to have before, but trust me, this takes the cake.  The people who work at the Yelmo Cine Ideal theater in Madrid, España have to be the most idiot gillipollas I’ve ever encountered.  We know (at least those of us who have read my complaints) that Spaniards sometimes like to do things a liiiiitle differently than those of us who live in other parts of the world, for example, America.  Or in the case, they like to do things differently than the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD.

Let me ask you a quick question.  If I tell you something is happening at 12:15 AM on Friday, July 15, do you think you should be there 15 minutes after Thursday ends, or 15 minutes after Friday ends?  If your answer is 15 minutes after Friday ends, please stop reading, buy a plane ticket, and move to España, because you’ll fit in much better here.  For those of you who aren’t completely moronic and agree that 12:15 AM on Friday, July 15 occurs 15 minutes after Thursday ends, please read on.

So we all bought tickets for the Harry Potter premiere at 12:15 AM July 15, which meant that we would be the first people to see it, an hour before all our friends who went to London for the premiere and SIX hours before all our amigos in Los Estados Unidos.  Buuuuttt OH WAIT.  Life hates me.  Apparently in the GREAT COUNTRY OF SPAIN the days don’t change to the next day until like 2 AM.  Sooooooo 12:15 AM July 15 in Spain is really 12:15 AM July 16 TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.  WTF.  Needless to say, it is 12:54 AM.  Harry Potter has officially premiered in Spain, and I am not watching it.  

"Spain you know how to party.  You know how to nap.  But you don’t know how to tell time?   America, you are winning."  -  Coray Bernecker

Laugh all you want, but before you give me some serious caca for bragging about being able to see it before EVERYONE, just let me remind you… I’m in Spain, you’re… in Cincinnati?  Working?  That’s what I thought.  Thanks.

In other news, I learned this week that people in the South of China (only the South of China, this was made very clear) eat 4-5 month old babies that die in the womb.  And the placentas.  Also they eat fertilized eggs which contain growing chicks.  YUM.

Buenas noches.

San Fermín y más toros

Hola, me llamo Ana, y me estoy recuperando.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.  If you aren’t familiar, let me give you a quick summary of the main event: a few hundred brainless individuals decide they want to be courageous and… well, brainless, and run 826 meters of cobblestone street with 6 bulls and 6 oxen two centimeters behind them.  I’m all about traditions and customs, but these people are dumb.  However, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that with any tradition or custom in Spain comes a huge fiesta.  San Fermín, the fiesta during which the encierro de los toros takes place, is a 7 day fiesta in honor of San Fermín (imagine that) in Pamplona.  Quick summary of the week long fiesta: lots of people wearing white and red, lots of alcohol, lots of bulls, and lots of dirty, dirty plazas and calles.  (If you’d like to read more in depth, real information about the Running of the Bulls, feel free to visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_of_the_Bulls (although I think my explanations of the the encierro AND the fiesta were very accurate)).  While I am not brainless or dumb, I do like fiestas, so myself and a group of 15ish more students from UC hopped on a bus at 2 PM Saturday to head to Pamplona to party until 9 AM the next morning.

The bus trip from Madrid to Pamplona takes 6 hours.  I am a sleepaholic, and so I slept.  The whole time.  No surprises here.  My life is so interesting.

We finally arrived in Pamplona at 8:30 PM (we made two stops on the way), and we all get off the bus decked in our white with red scarves to join a million other people in white and red who are drinking in a dirty grassy area.  We hang out and chill for a while and then… (please take this moment to remember how much life loves me and how everything ALWAYS works out so well for me…).  IT STARTS TO RAIN.  Rain is an understatement.  It pours.  If anyone can please tell me why it has yet to rain one single drop the entire four weeks I’ve been in Madrid, but then the one night I am forced to be outside for 13 hours in a white dress without the option of going home, it decides to pour.  I’ll tell you why, because this is my life.  We find some thick trees and decide to post up until the rain stops, which luckily wasn’t too long, and we somehow managed to not get completely soaked.  The rain finally stops and some fireworks go off.  Remember how I said we didn’t do the 4th of July justice?  Don’t worry, once they start shooting off the fireworks we all start telling each other Happy (belated) 4th of July because we are American and have to make everything about us.  Yay America.  

After the fireworks we all walk around for a while and find some bars and just hang out, then the 3 guys that were walking around with us who were planning on running with the bulls decided they needed to scope out the course.  I wanted to see the course and where everyone would be running before it started, so myself and another girl accompanied them on the journey, trying to figure out where they should start (you can start at a few different locations, not necessarily just right in front of the bulls), and then we walked it all the way back to the door of the Plaza del Toros, where it all ends.  At this point it was only 3 AM, and the next 5 hours (until the encierro starts at 8 AM) go as follows: sit down because we’re tired, get bored and try to go dance, get hit on by creepy Spanish men and get creeped out and want to leave the bar.  Rinse and repeat.  For 5 hours.  

Finally the encierro starts (with the first rocket), but not before all the intelligent gentleman about to run sing this little canción: ”A San Fermín pedimos, por ser nuestro patrón, nos guíe en el encierro, dándonos su bendición” (“We ask Saint Fermín, as our Patron, to guide us through the encierro and give us his blessing”).  Listen, bud.  You’re about to have 12 bull horns up your butt, you’re going to need a hell of a lot more than the blessing of a Saint, but best of luck to ya.  So the first rocket goes off, and the race starts.  People run.  Bulls run.  People fall.  People trip over the fallen people.  People are trampled by bulls.  People are paralyzed, injured, but no one is gored (yay!).  PEPOLE ARE DUMB.  2 minutes and 6 seconds later the fourth rocket sounds, which signifies that all the bulls and oxen have been collected at the Plaza del Toros.  2 minutes and 6 seconds, that’s it.  For the ONE run we saw (please don’t forget that there are SEVEN freaking bull runs for this week long fiesta), only 10 people were injured and no one died.  

It is now 8:02:06 AM.  We have been partying for 13 hours and have not slept, and we’re all ready to go home.  People are still drinking and bars are already retransforming from a breakfast diner back into a discoteca.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely time, but I can only handle so much.  Yo quiero agua, no quiero bebida.  Seriously just give me some freaking agua and a bus seat.  (Actually at this point, I was extremely jealous of the homeless men camped out in sleeping bags all over the street/grass/train stations/sidewalks/benches/anywhere else you can manage to sit/lay/stand in any position to allow sleep.  I would have given anything to not be surrounded by excessive trash and the foulest smells I have ever encountered without some sort of soft surface to lay on.  I would have paid someone to carry me to Cincinnati.  I drank water out of a rusty water pump/fire hydrant, I’m not really sure what it was, because it was all I could find.) “That guy is living my dream right now,” I told Maloof.  ”Anna, that’s a freaking hobo,” he responds.  Pamplona turned me into wishing I was homeless.  Finally the bus shows up and we all hop on to go home.  Literally every single person PTFO’d within 5 minutes of hopping on.  I don’t think anyone woke up until we reached Madrid 6 hours later.

Pamplona, you were fun.  We came to party, and party we did.  I came happy, and I left in misery.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, but I will not be returning.

Pamplona, you win.

Video from the Bullfight.  It starts when the matador stabs the bull for the first time and ends with the bull dying, so watch at your own discretion.  Feel free to ignore the commentary so graciously provided by myself and mis amigos.  

BULLFIGHT PICS.

Los toros y los gays

Hola, me llamo Ana, y estoy ocupada.

Clearly I’m not very good at this blogging thing.  I KNOW I have so many loyal followers who check this on the reg so please accept my sincerest apologies for disappointing you.  My excuse will be that I’m far too busy living it up in España, however those of you that know me well or are on this trip with me will know that’s only partially true, and in reality I am too busy sleeping.  However, scattered throughout my various siestas, I have managed to do the following in the past week: laid out at a public pool a couple times, make it into VIP at a discoteca, went to Orgullo Gay (the biggest freaking homosexual festival in the world) and watched the Mr. Gay España Pageant, saw a bullfight, celebrated the 4th of July, went to Museo del Prado, failed a spanish test, and was somehow involved in our brand new profesora quitting her brand new job on her second day.  (Okay, apparently I did more than I thought I did, this might be long).

I’ve been mildly paranoid about losing my wonderful tan I had going on pre-Spain, so I made it my personal mission to find a pool in Madrid.  Lucky for me, there are plenty of public pools, so we just had to take our pick.  We find the pool and wait in line to go in.  Let me just tell you now, this is nothing like the luxurious Lakota Hills I’ve been a member of since I can remember.  There are no chairs to lay out in, the bathrooms are vommy, the pool water is 3 degrees, and the women don’t wear tops.  I’m not sure which part is the worst.  Maybe that the pool has no lounge chairs.  Or normal chairs.  Or tables.  Just some concrete bleachers on each side of the pool, some grass, and a tile pool deck.  Pat, I don’t suggest you replace our lounge chairs with poolside bleachers, but no, it’s not the worst part; it’s not the end of the world.  In the sun it’s a mild 100 degrees F, so I obv had to get in (and by get in I mean dip my feet and perhaps part of my body in the water since I refuse to get my hair chloriney for no reason).  However, the water in the pool is freezing.  Don’t get me wrong, I know cold water.  I swam for 15 years, at 7 AM that water is not warm.  I have never experienced water so cold in my life.  I could not even force myself to put anything above my knees in the water.  But still, I can get cooled off from getting my feet wet, so probably not the worst part.  We all know I’m a girl.  I’ve seen boobs.  What I hadn’t previously had the pleasure of seeing is plenty of 80 year old woman boobs, or the breasts of a woman weighing over 200 lbs and still in a bikini (by that I mean the bottom of a bikini).  Nor had I experienced my poolside cooling off sesh being disrupted by a topless woman in a thong doing a flip turn RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  Thank you, España, for the splash and flash.  What could be better?

Fast forward to Saturday night, and we find ourselves in the VIP section at Club Joy, a discoteca.  Not too sure how we managed to get in, but getting any drink we wanted for free all night?  I’m not mad.  I’d elaborate but… you know.  Sorry friends, you’re welcome Ma (and Dad, and any other relatives, and all the mom’s I love from the pool, even though you’re all probably a little upset I’m not elaborating).

Last week was Gay Pride week in Madrid, so naturally we went to Orgullo Gay.  I have never seen so many divas, transvestites, or gays in my life.  They were everywhere, and I loved them.  I also had the pleasure of meeting two Lady Gagas, some pirates, a nun or monk or something along those lines, and some rando with huge pink hair.  How fun.  What is not fun is how sexy all the gays are, it is actually rather depressing, and there is no more depressing event for a straight female than a Mr. Gay España Pageant.  But nevertheless, it was fun and… interesting.

I will warn you now, if you are a member of PETA, an animal rights activist, or in any way, shape, or form against bullfights or the unwarranted cruelty of bulls, you might want to skip ahead to the next paragraph.  Or stop reading.  I’m not one for torturing animals, I like them, and I probably miss Maya more than I miss any real person from the states.  However, Spanish people like bullfights, and when in Spain you do as the Spaniards do, so to Plaza del Toros I went (there’s more to the name of the bullring, but it’s long and all in Spanish so you probably wouldn’t understand anyway).  So there we are all squished together in a space too small for half the people there, and the first bull comes out.  He runs around a bit and the little guys trick him with capes, not very nice but I can deal.  Then some horn sounds, and two horses come out.  The horses are blindfolded, decked in armor, and there is a man atop each horse.  Out of the blue, the bull charges the horse, and so ensues my freak out.  My poor friend Richard who is also on the trip had the misfortune of sitting next to me; my apologies for the loss of circulation in your right arm.  These horses are either the dumbest animals ever or are so old and don’t give a caca, but they literally don’t move when they get hit.  While the bulls are trying to bust their horns through the metal surrounding the horse, the man on top is stabbing the bulls neck a couple times.  Kinda mean, but the damn bull is trying to kill the horse, and I like horses more than bulls, so I’m not that mad.  Then some horn sounds again, and the horses leave.  A banderillero enters the ring with two colorful sticks with barbed wire at the ends of them, then somehow gets the bull to run towards him before stabbing the sticks into the bull’s back/neck area.  This happens a few times.  The bull starts getting bloody and I’m kinda sad, but I’m not excessively worried with the rights of the bull, so I’m doing okay.  Then they all peace out and leave the matador/torero alone in the ring with the bull with a sword and red cape.  He gets all fancy and thinks he’s hot stuff and dances with the bull for a while, a really long while, way too long, and I get bored.  Eventually he stabs the sword through the bulls spinal cord and he dies.  Then they haul the dead bull away with a few horses and clean up the arena.  Okay, that wasn’t that bad, I thought.  And then I find out I have to watch this five more times.  Yes, each bull fight has SIX bulls.  Six bulls get killed.  I have to watch six bulls get killed.  I make it through the next two okay, but then it gets kinda gross.  I’m over it.  At this point I’ve decided that Spaniards are prettttttyyy messed up in the head for finding this a sport and wanting to watch it every Sunday.  I’ve decided to root for the bull.  All I really wanted was the bull to get one good hit in on the matador, which probably makes me more messed up than the Spaniards who like the people killing the bulls, but it’s okay.  Good ol Diablillo came through for me, he was the fourth bull, and got a good jab at the matador’s leg.  It wasn’t as great as I thought, I felt kinda bad, but he lived and was man enough to finish the fight and kill the bull (he probably just wanted some revenge), so all was good.  I made it through the whole thing without crying or screaming or being scarred for life, however it is safe to say I will not be going again.

You may or may not know this, but Independence Day is not celebrated in Europe.  This obv means I was lucky enough to have class on the 4th of July, but after a quick siesta we were all ready to celebrate this joyous American día (and Maloof’s birthday).  We ate dinner at TGI Friday’s and ordered some Budweiser in attempts to be as American as possible in a country that has yet to encounter so many American ways of life.  Then we went out, and the lovely Spaniards blessed us with some Journey and other sing along American songs to belt out.  Unfortunately, that was the best we could do.  Yay America.

Among all these social and not very cultural events, I did manage to go to Museo del Prado.  It was huuuuge (like over 100 rooms and most of them have A and B components, ridic) and has more artwork than I’ve ever seen in my life.  Unfortunately, the only art history lessons I’ve come across were in my senior year of high school, so I wasn’t always sure what I was looking at, but it was still interesting to see.  I did remember some random facts of the important paintings, like Las Meninas and some of the stuff Goya did once he went deaf and crazy, so I made a point to see all of those, as well as the ones the brochure said were important, and now I feel a little more cultured.

Then I failed a spanish test.  Yes, I am a Spanish major; yes, I am in Spain; yes, it was hard.  I’m not worried.  

And then we find ourselves at yesterday, Tuesday, and what a day it was.  We got a new teacher Monday because our last one, Clara, who we loved, was rudely taken from us to teach another group of kids who just got here.  Let me make one thing clear: there are 5 people in our class.  We have two teachers.  We ALL love both teachers, and both teachers love us.  Then Monday, a new lady comes in.  She didn’t tell us her name, didn’t ask us our names, and just started writing on the board and reading her notes.  Needless to say, things were a little different than our last professor.  She did not have a teacher’s personality and things got awkward and the class dynamic and atmosphere plummeted.  After our class on Tuesday, we had to speak with the director of the school, and he tells us she quit.  And that her first day had been Monday.  She apparently tried to blame us for saying mean things behind her back (literally) and making fun of her in english because we thought she couldn’t speak english.  Clearly she needs to check her fluency in our wonderful language because the only person that got made fun of was me (what’s new) and no one said a mean thing about her the entire time she was there.  If you can’t handle us, you can’t handle teaching.  SEE YA.  Here’s hoping the new teacher we get tomorrow is better…

Hope you enjoyed that book.  If anyone actually read all of this you clearly love me, so I love you back.  Someone remind me to do this more often so they aren’t 8 volume novels every time I actually blog.

Adios.

Walt Disney used Alcázar while designing Cinderella’s Castle

valle de los caidos

valle de los caidos

Cosas que he aprendido en España

Hola, me llamo Ana, y estoy cansada.  Siempre.

Now that i’ve been here for two and a half weeks, I’ve learned some things about the country that you probably wouldn’t experience without being here for a while.

1. Customer service does not exist.  Spain hates to customize any order.  At McDonald’s you can’t even order a cheeseburger without onions, it’s all or nothing.  They will pretend like they understand and tell you that you’re going to get a cheeseburger with everything but onions, however when you get to the table, it is burger, bread and cheese.  If you’re lucky they’ll give you a packet of ketchup on the side.  Also, if you try to customize your sushi and just ask for a SushiClub roll without salmon, they will bring you a roll filled with only shrimp, omitting the avocado and cream cheese that were supposed to be included.  And then they will charge you extra because apparently you asked for extra shrimp, and will not entertain your argument, but instead will just demand that you pay 4 extra euros.  Not only do they not like to cater to any pickiness or special requests, they also like to live freely and by their own schedules.  Stores are closed randomly throughout the day for siestas, and close for the night strangely early.  Literally every store is closed by 10 PM, and 24 hour anythings have yet to be even dreamed about.

2. Spaniards like to waste time and be inconvenienced.  Not only are stores not open at normal hours, but each store only sells one type of food or item.  Want bread? Go to the panadería, where you can buy only bread.  Want fish?  Try the pescadería.  Some fruit?  Find the nearest frutería.  Meat?  Carnecería.  I’m not kidding.  Our host mom goes to at least three different stores a day to buy all the food she needs or wants.  There is one store that has everything, Corte Inglés, which is basically like a Macy’s with a grocery store in the bottom.  Basically, if you want a variety of groceries, enjoy walking around for horas trying to find each specific store.  You’ll probably get to walk around even longer because once you find the Carnecería it will probably be closed, and you’ll have to find the next one.  When I get rich, I’m inventing WalMart in Europe, and I will be even richer.

3. Schulyer Wheeler is my hero.  While Spain does not believe in aire acondicionado, they do believe in fans.  Thank God for both Schulyer Wheeler, who invented the electric fan in 1886, as well as my host mom María, who had two mini fans waiting for us in our room when we got home from class today.  Honorable mention to whomever made it acceptable to walk around with hand fans in some sort of attempt to withstand the 100 degree heat. 

4. Nothing is free. Free refills? That’s funny.  Free water?  Even funnier.  You can’t even order a glass of tap water in half the restaurants in Europe, and you’ll never get it without a fight.  They usually insist on you buying a fancy 3 euro bottle of water, which you will down in all of 10 seconds before having to order another one.  I’ve never appreciated tap water more.

5. Daily naps are not only acceptable, but encouraged.  It is not weird that I take 4 hour siestas during the day, no matter how long I sleep at night.  Even the stores close mid-day so everyone can go home and nap.  While there are many luxuries I would like to bring from America to Spain, this is one thing I’d love to introduce to the United States.  I love sleep, I love siestas, and I love Spain.

6. Fruit is a dessert.  Fruit. Is. A. Dessert.  Really.

Luckily I have had more than just mal experiencias with the country.  We have been taking many field trips to various cities and famous landmarks in España.  First, we went to Palacio Real de Madrid, which is the palace the king uses for special events and meetings.  There are more than 3,418 rooms, and yet the king still doesn’t live there.  He and his family live in another palace just outside the city of Madrid.  We also visited El Escorial, which is where the kings used to live, but now is a combination of school, church, and tourist attraction.  Thirdly, we saw Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen).  It’s basically a 2 football field long church built into a giant mountain, with a 500 foot tall, 200 foot wide cross sitting on top of it.  Muy impresionante.  Franco is buried here, and apparently it’s causing some ruckus amongst the Spaniards.  I’d probably understand more if I knew anything about history, but I don’t.  My favorite thing about all three of these places is that you can’t take pictures inside.

We also went to Segovia, a city in Spain.  It is known for it’s giant aquaduct which is literally built out of just stones, no mortar or anything to keep it together.  We then spent 6 euros each just for some water so we didn’t pass out from dehydration and heat stroke, then climbed 159 steps to reach the top of the tower of Alcázar.  This castle is the one that Walt Disney designed Cinderella’s castle after.  (So while my family is in Disney World looking at the imitation castle that Disney built, I am in Spain looking at the real deal.  Ma, if you’re reading this, I hate you for going to Disney World without me.  Totes not fair.  But I’ll forgive you a little because I just got my package with Skyline.)

Hasta luego.  

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la vida en Madrid

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