A Travellerspoint blog

Street Musicians & Flamenco - Madrid| Barcelona| Sevilla

Holaaaaa amigos!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the lack of stories and new posts after Portugal. I really meant to share more about my trip. Most of the pictures are on facebook already, but the stories are all in my head. Here's what happened: After Lisboa I traveled to Barcelona, Sevilla, Madrid, Talavera to visit my cousin one last time, and back to Madrid before going home . In Barcelona I stayed for 5 days and was busy enjoying the warm-weather at the beach in Barceloneta, the live music at Park Güell, the fantastic soccer at Camp Nou (BARÇAAAAAA!)....and so much more.

My first night in Barcelona I stayed in a hostel that was really peaceful and met some interesting people. At this hostel I cooked for the first time in my trip, and shared my meal with a Canadian friend. Soon, the number of guests in our dining table began to grow....after dinner a few of us decided to play a word game in English. Funny thing was that the majority did not speak English so well. The situation made for a very entertaining night. The game itself was fun, but when you add wine and language issues, it makes it that much better!

At this hostel I met a Portuguese couple, Mariana and Fabio from Porto (where I had just been a few days earlier). While talking to Mariana, she showed me their tickets for the Barcelona vs. Ceuta match. I was crossing my fingers hoping that tickets wouldn't be so expensive and still available. Fortunately this match was not really that important, so I was able to find a ticket to sit on the 9th row, right in the middle of the field!!! What an incredible game!! Final score was 5 - 1... and I was able to film the first two goals! (I will post videos of that too).

Bueno, the next few days in Barcelona I spent with a new friend, Sara from Atlanta. Together we explored the city and got lost together. Going to Park Güell took much longer than it should ever take. We ended up taking the advice of old ladies and clueless students. Not a good idea, but we weren't in a hurry, so why not? Turns out that we missed the main entrance, and had to hike up so many hills and a mountain to get to the park. It wasn't until much later that we ran into another tourist and realized we were getting closer to the right place.... and what a beautiful reward we had for hiking all the way up... we had the most amazing view of the entire city and the beach! At the park we enjoyed a variety of live music...and this leads me to the title of this new blog post. I have filmed (and tipped!) so many street musicians in Spain. I saw so many talented, professional musicians playing on the street, trying to make a little money. Sometimes there were groups....and of course the occasional clueless street performer who plays two bad notes and asks for a tip. hahahaha My two favorite groups played in BCN. The first is called "Made in Barcelona" ... I was walking to the Barceloneta beach one day, and heard live Salsa from blocks away. I followed the music and found this incredible and energetic group playing to a crowd of people, and decided to sit and watch. (I spent a lot of time during my trip watching live music!). Here's a video from Made in Barcelona group:

The next videos are from Park Güell...

My Barcelona stories suited for a public blog end here. The rest are for me to remember and for my good friends to laugh at.

Sunday I left BCN and was actually excited to be going to Sevilla - I needed a few days to recover

...Barcelona, I will never forget you. Here I admired Antonio Gaudi's amazing designs, enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather at the beach in November(!), experienced the passion at Camp Nou with Barça fans, realized I can't understand Catalán, and learned a few life lessons on the way....

Bueno, Sevilla was my next destination. In Sevilla I rested. I enjoyed the food a bit more than in Barcelona and realized I was in better shape than I thought. I arrived on a cold, rainy Sunday. Walking in the rain with my backpack while looking for the hostel wasn't so exciting. I was cold, wet, my back was already hurting from carrying my mochila, and my directions were all wrong!!! Not an ideal start, but it's ok.

After finding Calle Santiago, everything was ok. I checked-in, dropped off my bags in my room (shared with 8 people this time), and went back to talk to the staff.... After about 30 minutes of chatting with a friendly older man, I learned he was the owner of the hostel. We talked about food and traditions of Sevilla. He told me about his wedding, his family, his love for Manzanilla (a type of wine, typical from the area)....This friendship turned out to be very influential on my Sevilla stay. The next morning I greeted him at the main desk, and he asked if I would be interested in taking one of his bikes to explore the city. For a second I doubted the idea. I thought to myself "I don't know where anything is, traffic is a bit nuts, and i haven't been on a bike in ages".... but I felt bad to refuse his offer. He seemed really excited and told me it was worth it..... so I did it. I had my camera hanging on my neck, purse across my chest, and map in the little bike basket - I was as ready as I could ever be to go and explore...

To my surprise, I was able to see all of the places he had suggested and circled on my map....and all of it in 4 hours! It felt so great...After that I parked my bike for a bit and rewarded myself with tapas, vino, and AGUA. ;) Getting back to the hostel before 3pm was my mission. I wanted to go to the free walking tour, and needed to be there on time. However --- the streets in Sevilla are like a labyrinth. Most streets have 2 names, and sometimes 3. Streets are small, narrow, curvy...the buildings are low but block your view, so trying to find yourself by following the sun or landmarks are not an easy task. I was lost again but managed to arrive at the hostel right at 3pm. I returned the bike and joined the group for the walking tour.... and I walked for an additional 3.5 hours with the group. AND this is when I learned that I was in better shape than I imagined.... In the U.S. I would never think to bike and walk for 7.5 consecutive hours...but something about being on vacation makes it not seem so difficult.

I arrived at the hostel around 7 after a short stop at the market. My dinner was quick because I had great plans for later.... I diced a few tomatoes, and seasoned them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and some herbs.....and that turned into a simple bruschetta....And of course, I had a few slices of jamón ibérico on the side along with una nueva botella de vino....que ricooooo!

After dinner I met with Valentina, an Italian girl who works at the hostel....our plan was to find authentic, live flamenco for the night. Again, I highlight the importance of taking the time to just talk to people.... Earlier that day I had told the owner of the hostel that I loved flamenco and hoped to see a few shows in the city where it was created. By the afternoon, Valentina had told me that through some connections we were going to see a live performance that night...I didn't know what to expect. Had no clue where, who, how much, or how good it would be.

WOW. So this is how my flamenco night in Sevilla began. The city is split by the river Guadalquivir. I was staying on the east side, which has all the main attractions, downtown, etc.... On the other side of the river is Triana, the neighborhood where Flamenco originated. This area traditionally housed many gitanos, or gypsies. Valentina and I walked for about 20 minutes from the hostel to Triana. Shortly after arriving in the area, we realized we were lost but we still had someone to call for help. The owner of the hostel gave us the phone number of Carlos - his brother-in-law who was going to let us in at a show.

Vale and I were standing in the right street, in front of the place they told us to go to....however we didn't see a single person out there. It was odd. We called Carlos and he gave us the rest of the directions. Apparently we were supposed to go inside an old record/music store, and talk to the guy behind the counter. There we mentioned we were with Carlos, and he pointed to the back of the store. As we were walking upstairs, we ran into Carlos (whom we had never met before), and he greeted us with besos and abrazos, you know, the Spanish way. After a few seconds, we began to understand what was happening. Valentina and I had just found our way to an exclusive, private peña...a weekly live flamenco show that Carlos and his friends go to... Each week it is hosted in a different location, and has different dancers and musicians. By luck, we ended up there. There were about 10 tables... Vale and I were invited by Carlos to sit at his reserved table, and enjoy all the drinks and food we could eat! Ohhhh how awesome. Vale and I, sitting with two Spaniards, eating and drinking for free, waiting for a live private show to start.... By the way, I am pretty sure my 'date' was in his 70s. I can't recall his name, but he insisted I had to try Manzanilla wine over and over again...

A few short minutes later, the show started. A brief introduction was given and we learned that the singer and guitarist were father and son. A few songs later, another singer joined the pair...and a beautiful gitana began to show off her moves. WOW, I was mesmerized. The music was so moving, it gave my goose-bumps. I couldn't take my eyes off of the gitana .... Oh, how I wish I could move like her.... At certain points during the performance, the flamenco aficionados would shout 'Oleeeeee' and 'Bravo'... (tourists are not really supposed to say it, by the way...) Here are some videos from the best flamenco I have ever seen in my life so far:

After the show ended, Valentina and I wanted more. We had heard of a bar nearby, owned by an older gypsy woman, that had live music every night.... and there we went! The place was really different from the one we had just left, but the experience was great too. Here are some videos:

And that was my Flamenco experience in Sevilla.... I also had the opportunity to see three other shows in Madrid. This next video was at the Madrid Ballet. Not super authentic, but beautiful anyways. I wasn't supposed to be filming, but I couldn't resist (it was my very first live flamenco show)...so the quality is not so good. The other two shows in Madrid were not filmed or photographed - I was too busy enjoying the moment.

Here are a few more random videos of musicians from Madrid.... I actually have a few more, but I think this is enough for you all to see the variety of talent I saw during my trip. I am so thankful that my Nikon has filming capabilities and that I was able to record some of my experiences in Spain. And I apologize for the quality of the videos, I am HORRIBLE at holding the camera still... Most of the time I am too distracted with what I am filming and forget to keep my hands steady. hahahaha

Bueno, it's all for today. Next I will post videos of fútbol, discotecas, cafés, y mucho más...

Mari

Posted by mvagamundo 18:28 Archived in USA Tagged barcelona music sevilla flamenco Comments (0)

Falando Português com um acento diferente

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As I sit here at the hostel in Lisboa, I am thinking that Portugal is much more beautiful than it gets credit for. I am watching the [heavy] rain and freezing my hands in this living room because the windows are new and have no insulation (I can see the street through the space between the wall and the frame).
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My expedition from Madrid to Porto wasn't so smooth, but I made it. A missed flight on Wednesday led to another ticket purchase, extra fees, and 25 Euros for my backpack to fly with me... Yes, I was pretty upset with myself for missing my flight, but I can't complain that I was stuck in Madrid for an extra night...I was able to take some night pictures of the city, see a live Latin group perform at a discoteca, and danced the night away... (made me remember the old days at Tallulas and Patio Loco in Chapel Hill, NC)

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Thursday morning I was finally able to fly to Porto. I had hand-written the directions from the metro to the hostel in a piece of paper and had no problems finding the place. I stayed at Hostel Sky at Rua Lapa. I must say Sky was the cleanest, prettiest, coziest hostels I have seen. The staff treated us like family, sharing their own dinner with me (as I returned the favor by sharing my vino)...and so on. Since I had missed my flight and not come on Wednesday night, the hostel has canceled my reservation. When I arrived on Thursday I discovered the rooms were all taken, and I needed to wait until the end of the night to see if anyone would cancel... Turns out that each night was spent in a different bed. The first night I shared a room with two German girls. The second night with a bunch of teenagers from Spain (a nightmare!!!)...and the third night I got really lucky. I had the whole TV/lounge room to myself. This room had a comfy daybed, two TVs, bar area, patio, and in the early evening I received several guests in 'my room' ...haha I met a few girls from Holland and Ukraine.

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Enough about the hostel. Thursday evening, after dropping off my mochila at Sky, I grabbed a map and started walking towards the river (downhill from Rua Lapa). I stopped at a little cafe for a sandwich, and soon continued my walk so that I could see as much as possible before it got dark. Going down to the river was a beautiful walk...I saw many historic buildings, narrow streets, interesting shops, and a few more old men who like to blow kisses at tourists. hahaha My first view of the river (Rio Douro) left me breathless. What an amazing view!

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As I continued walking, I spotted a little market that sold olives and wine. I decided to try a few types of olives and bought a small bottle of Vinho do Porto... Now I was excited to get back to the hostel and try my first authentic Portuguese snack.

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Only problem was...30 minute was to the hostel was now ALL UPHILL!!! AYYYY MADRE MIA!!! First 10 minutes was ok...15 minutes I was really tired...20 minutes I was sweating como una loca...30 minutes I couldn't feel my calves and was so happy to be at the hostel's door. As soon as I got in, I went straight to the dining room, opened my vinho do porto, and took a loooong rest. Meanwhile I made friends with a Brazilian turista, and spent a few hours chatting with the staff and other guests before going to bed.

On Friday I walked around the center of the city from 11 am until night time... My feet and legs are getting used to all this walking now...which has become my daily routine. Here are some of the beautiful views from Friday:

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Friday night I met Lucy from Ukraine who now lives in Madrid. We went out to dinner first, then walked over to a street called Galeria de Paris, where there were soooo many people just standing on the street and enjoying their drinks ;) There we met more locals and had a relaxing evening...

Saturday morning after I woke up, I met an Italian who was in Portugal selling truffles. We decided to go for a walk to see the beach and have lunch...

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Then Saturday afternoon and evening I hung out with two girls from Holland, and a staff member from the hostel; Pedro from Cabo Verde. Pedro took us all to his friend's birthday private at a bar called Tubarão, and later we went dancing at the Contagiarte disco, where I randomly ran into a Brazilian guy I met in Madrid! What a small world!
Sunday morning I had to leave Porto. Still at the hostel, I opened the refrigerator to see if there was any free food available (usually labeled) and I got sooo lucky. A brand new pack of Jamon for freeeee...So I had a yummy sandwich with pan and jamon before heading to the train-station to go to Lisboa.

On the train, I tried my best to stay awake, but after about 15 minutes of looking at trees and fields, I completely passed out...and only opened my eyes each time a new station was called....

Three hours later I arrived in Lisboa. Had a little trouble buying a metro ticket, but everything worked out well after that... The hostel in Lisboa is in a great location, right in the center of the city.... As I was checking in yesterday, I met a Korean tourist who is also 25 and we decided to go for a walk together (from 3 until early evening)...We walked to a few plazas, churches, and even a castle! What a beautiful view and sunset we watched!!! WOW

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After it got dark, we walked back to the Hostel and signed up for a home-cooked meal for 8 Euros, which included: pan, sopa de abóbora, and a beef stew with beans and chorizo...ah, y postre & sangria + vino. Que riiiiica comida!! Deliciosa... As the lady was cooking it, I kept going in the kitchen to offer help, but she wouldn't let me...instead, she kept giving me samples hahahahah Delicioooousss..

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Ah, also at this hostel, free laundry service is offered. I was able to get all my clothes washed today ;) After breakfast I met up with Duri again for another tour. We both woke up really early today and decided to explore the areas that were farther out...We went to the Belém region and saw the Torre de Belém and many other historic building. ;)

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Lunch in Lisboa today included stuffed trout and another type of beef stew, which Duri and I shared...As we were walking back to the hostel, a new idea come to mind...I was getting sick of my blonde hair (plus all the old men sending kissing to la gringa)...and I decided to dye my hair back to brown! ;)

I think this is it for now. There's a construction worker here in the living room working on some cables (and hopefully adding insulation to the windows)! I must go figure out plans for dinner and pack my stuff. Tomorrow I am heading to the city of my dreams -- BARCELONA!!

Um beijo de Lisboa e até a próxima vez!

Posted by mvagamundo 12:32 Archived in Portugal Comments (5)

Un Castillo, Un Monasterio, y El Escorial

rain 5 °C

My weekend was spent outside of Madrid, and it served as a brief review of Spanish history I had learned as a freshman in college in FLS 315 at NCSU 7 years ago. It all started Saturday morning as my cousin woke me up and told me to get dressed to eat breakfast in the Castillo de Oropesa (yes, a real castle). The castle was built between the 12th-13th centuries by Arabs and eventually occupied by King Alfonso X El Sabio. More details here.

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You might be wondering what could we possible eat for breakfast in a castle...well, we pretended to be royalty for a bit and tried everything! (According to our guide in El Escorial, Felipe II used to eat 25-30 dishes in one meal for about 3 hours). My only plate included tortilla Española, chorizo, pimientos, jamón iberico, lomo, tomate licuado, y un croissant. To drink I had mango juice y un cafecito.... Must I say I didn't eat anything else until around 6pm?

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Después de comer paseamos por el castillo y decidimos continuar con la lección de historia. Our next destination was a cemetery where Germans soldiers from the 1st and 2nd world wars were buried. The visit was brief as it was raining and cold.

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Our main destination for the day was the Monasterio de Yuste in the province of Extremadura. The monastery was built around 1400s but probably the most interesting fact is that Emperador Carlos I de España (aka Carlos V de Alemania) moved to this Monastery in 1556 to retire and eventually rest until his death (he suffered from gout/gota). Interestingly, he actually died from Malaria. Other curious facts: Carlos I was married to Isabella of Portugal. In the Monasterio de Yuste, in the emperor's study room, there was a picture of Isabella hanging on the wall. Since he was mourning her death, a curtain hung over the painting and he would cover it when visitors came in the room. Also, in his bedroom, a door could be opened so that he would have a direct view of the high altar of the church. His wish was to be buried in a crypt exactly under the altar of the Monasterio de Yuste...and the whole reason he decided this monastery over others is because the Orden de San Jeronimo was his favorite ;) Unfortunately his wish to be buried there was not fulfilled. His son, Felipe II decided that his father, the great Emperor, needed a special place to rest... and the tradition of burying kings and queens at the El Escorial began.

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El Real Monasterio de El Escorial is located North of Madrid in the town of San Lorenzo. Felipe II ordered the construction to begin in 1563 and was finished in 1584 under the specifications of architect Juan Baustista de Toledo. El Escorial is the final resting place for nearly all monarchs from Carlos I to Alfonso XIII and it occupies an area of 33,000 square meters.. Although pictures are not allowed inside these locations, I will NEVER forget what I experienced. We walked through the bedroom of Felipe II and the Sala de Batallas. In this 55 meter long room, there are countless paintings portraying the different battles won by Spain and world maps. There Felipe II used to teach his children about the importance of war strategy... In every room we walked in, there were paintings and more paintings from Goya, José Ribera, Francisco Zurbán, and other fine artists. Some of the obras primas have now been moved the Museo del Prado (where I went earlier this week!). Another interesting thing about the Escorial is the original blue tiles that decorate many of the walls. This style of blue tiles and ceramics are all from Talavera de la Reina (where I am staying with my cousin!). I will look for some tiles here to take home...

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Now - the most fascinating and creepy experience I had at the Escorial was our visit to the Pantheon of the Kings. This is an underground room, directly under the high altar of the Basilica that houses the remains of almost all Spanish monarchs. The stairs that led us to this room (and the walls) were all marble. Inside the Pantheon all I could see was GOLD and more marble... The room is rounded and the coffins are stacked from the ceiling to the floor in chronological order. The room is divided into kings on the left and queens on the right. As I mentioned earlier, no one is allowed to photograph anything...so here's a link for more info and pictures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial

Funny thing is that I was not the only Mariana in the room. Queen Mariana of Austria is resting on the second column of coffins, way at the top.

After we left the Pantheon, we walked to other rooms where family members of the royal family were also burried - including parents, siblings...And our guide mentioned the saddest room in the Escorial was next: the room where all the children who died before their first communion were burried. We must remember that common medicine was not invented until maybe the 1800s...So back then childhood mortality rates were really high.

Our guided visit ended at this point. From there we entered the Basilica on our own...It contains 42 altars and the altarpiece El Cristo Blanco by Benvenuto Cellini.

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Today, Monday Nov. 1st is a holiday in Spain, the Day of All Saints. The rain from the weekend has finally stopped and I am going to put a hold on my history lessons for a bit. My laundry is washed, my camera recharged, and my backpack is full again. Tomorrow I am headed to Madrid once again and flying to O Porto in Portugal. I've also picked up a new book to read from my cousin's collection..."La Fuerza del Optimismo" by Luis Rojas Marcos. ;)

Y eso es todo por ahora! Must go figure out why Wachovia is making things so difficult for me! ay ay ay

Un graaaaaaaaaaan beso de España y luego será um beijo de Portugal. (Cadê as piadinhas de português? hahahaha)

Posted by mvagamundo 05:58 Archived in Spain Tagged el de escorial castillo monasterio yuste oropesa Comments (6)

Ole! Bravo! Vale! Viva Madrid!

sunny

On Tuesday morning I took my first bus in Europe from Talavera de la Reina headed to Madrid. As soon as I arrived in the city, I quickly learned the metro system and somehow correctly ended up at Anton Martin station. After walking for a few blocks I found the hostel I had booked and was told I needed to come back after 1:30 to check-in. Since I hadn't eaten anything yet, I left my backpack at the hostel and went for un cafecito.
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Later that afternoon, I finally checked-in and went around the centro to explore....only to find my ATM card was no longer working! Jolineeeees....No need to say that I spent the next couple of hours trying to talk to someone at Wachovia and explain I had not lost my card, there is no identity fraud...it's really me using it! ay ay ay

Problem solved. Euros in hand. What to do next? VINO para relejar... I found a plaza nearby (actually I followed the sound of an accordion being played) and ended up at this street-side cafe. I am getting pretty good at eating delicious CHEAP food. ;) (vino, jamon, azeitunas) ...
SIESTA time, AGAIN. You might think there are too many siestas involved in my day, but really - it is NECESSARY. I typically spend 7+ hours each day WALKING.... so siestas after eating is pretty much mandatory.

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Later that night I met up with other people from my hostel for a TAPAS TOUR. We went to 3 different restaurants and in each we tried a different type of drink from the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of Spain, each paired with a traditional drink. Que rico!!!
After the tapas tour, some of us returned to one of the restaurants to eat un poquito más...we were really looking for paella, but it was sold out. ;( After all this eating, we decided we needed to go exercise (AKA, go clubbing/dancing) hahaha And in Madrid everyone likes to go club hopping... basically you stay in one club for 30 minutes and move to the next, and the next, and the next... ITS GREAT! (and free).

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Wednesday morning arrived earlier than I thought it would. It was 9 am and I had woken up, taken a shower, and I was ready again. I met up with two brazilian friends I made - Bianca and Lucio. Together we spent the day exploring other areas of Madrid (Parque del Retiro, the main train station, the gardens around the Prado, the Palacio Real, Cathedral of Madrid...). For lunch we finally had the paella we were looking for ;) We returned to the hostel around 8pm with some cheap ready-made soup and pasta for a really FAST snack and had to leave again for a Flamenco show at 9pm.

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There are no words to describe the show! ;) Sitting there, watching those dancers almost standing still on the stage, but really with their feet tapping so quickly making the most beautiful sounds.... it really made me cry. Honestly, if you asked me 4 weeks ago if I were ever going to see live flamenco in Madrid, I would probably say "I wish!" and now I DID! And surprisingly, I felt that the men dancing flamenco were much more passionate than the women.... except for this older woman who was telling a story (speaking) and dancing together... AND there was a flamenco band playing too!! At the show we met a french family (mom, daughter, son) who went out with us (Me, Bianca, Joanna, Rodrigo) to a nearby bar for sangria!
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Bueno - time to go. The plan for today is to go to the Prado museum and take some other pictures around the city.
Besos de Madrid y hasta luego! OLE!

Posted by mvagamundo 04:08 Archived in Spain Tagged madrid. flamenco. Comments (6)

8 años más tarde...

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I am in Spain! After arriving yesterday (around 3am U.S Eastern Time) I met Maria Laura, who is la novia de mi primo Marcos. Together we drove through some areas of Madrid while we waited for Marcos to finish classes (de fisioterapia/neurologia). She briefly showed me the Real Madrid Stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu) and we drove around el centro...

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Around 2pm here (7am in the U.S...and I still hadn't slept), we finally picked up mi primo Marcos!!!! I hadn't seen him in 8 years. The last memories I had of Marcos were in Brasil in 2002 when we watched Brasil win the World Cup...;) VIVAAAAA What can I say about Marcos? He's still the same as I remembered...only now he thinks and acts como un hombre Español y le gusta decir "jooooder"!

Bueno - After lunch Maria Laura drove us to a town called Talavera de la Reina where they live... The first 30 seconds in the car I closed my eyes and about 1.5 hours later, we were home... (At this point, Sunday around 4pm, I still had not slept in a bed since Thursday night!) So what does a Spaniard do on a Sunday afternoon after el almuerzo? SIESTA, por supuesto. I am still getting used to a different schedule, but so far it's been easy...

Dinner was at 11pm. While Marcos sliced el jamón iberico (from a whole pig's leg), Maria Laura prepared toasted bread with tomato and olive oil. Para acompañar la cena, I tried a dark Spanish beer called Cruz Campo Gran Reserva...

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This morning was truly the beginning of a new chapter of my life. While yesterday was so easy to just follow mis primos around...today I was on my own. I left Marcos' apartment and headed to the center of the city to explore. After a few minutes of walking in the wrong direction, asking people for directions, I realized I had forgotten the cell phone he gave me back at the apartment. Great! So I walked back.... and I was a little scared of using the elevator in his building, so I took the 7 flights of stairs to go back up.... oh man... one month of walking and going up and down the stairs better put me in shape!!!! hahaha As I get to his door, I quickly learned I had no clue how to open his door...ay ay ay. So I knocked on the neighbor's door... "soy la prima del vecino, no puedo abrir la puerta"...y VALE... this little lady in her 80s comes out laughing and shows me how to do it...

Now I am heading out again, and the phone I just picked up starts to ring. Marcos is calling me. He saw me crossing the street and we met up for a few minutes. He now showed me the way to the Basilica del Prado, and that's where I went.

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Despues de salir de la Basilicia, I just kept walking and getting lost....but I found my way around soon and randomly ran into the Plaza de Toros, un convento (from the 1200s), y la Iglesia Colegial... In these 3 hours I walked around Talavera and I chatted with a few viejitos who had no problem in giving me directions while we walked together...

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Since I had the keys to the apartment, I had to meet Marcos back here at 3pm for lunch...On my way here, I stopped at a grocery store and was amazed with the prices.... A bottle of water was 20 cents...a mini baguette 39 cents... a few mortadella slices with olives for 1 Euro...WOW!! LIFE IS GOOD ;)

I am now sitting outside in his patio while he's cooking lentejas...y vamos a tomar un vino...

Bueno, that's all for now... I don't have any plans yet for after la siesta. ;) Hasta luego...VALE

Posted by mvagamundo 07:43 Archived in Spain Tagged la de reina talavera Comments (6)

Got my BackPack, My Passport, and my Camera

The countdown starts...

I have lived in this world for twenty-five years and I have never left the American continent. Thanks to my wonderful parents and a cousin in Madrid, my destiny is now changing. I am headed to the Old World to experience bohemian life at it's best. I have my backpack, my documents, and a few memory cards ready to be filled with interesting photos and new memories.

If you are curious about the term VagaMundeando, I'll explain. It's really an old concept. While in graduate school, I would frequently look through South American magazines for random news and stories to entertain myself and my office-mates. One afternoon at home, I was reading a magazine that I picked up from a LAN Airplane on my way to Cuzco... and I ran into an article about the Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas". When asked if he had invented the term, he simply answered:

"No, esa [palabra] existe. La usaba Quevedo, uno de los progenitores de los poetas latinos. Yo la uso, porque vagabundo tiende a una vertiente peyorativa. "Vagamundo" es el que se atreve con el mundo, con libertad, con imaginación. El viaje no es sólo físico, se viaja con la cabeza. Un viajero tiene o parece tener una apetencia de mundo." - Gonzalo Rojas

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The next day I posted a copy of this quote on my office door. In a matter of hours, my office-mate Kelley and I decided this concept would soon become part of my new graduate school e-mail account I need for personal use.... And it did. Since then, I have enjoyed the countless awkard expressions and intrigue I receive from strangers when I need to give out my e-mail and need to spell it out for those who aren't so familiar with Spanish. Yes, it's m-a-r-i-v-a-g-a-m-u-n-d-o. Was that a V or a B? Did you say M or N? hahaha I can't help but laugh at the fact that I may or may not receive that e-mail because of spelling issues and miscommunication. Oh well. I don't mind being misunderstood.

So it's finally time for me to explore España and see with my own eyes what I have been reading about for the last....8 years in Spanish Literature courses. And feel, learn, and taste what España is all about. There's also some family history I want to explore... My mom tells me that her grandpa was involved in a war in the 1800s there... I'll do more research and look into it. She mentioned something about my great-grandpa being a war mercenary.

Well, I guess my next post will be from Madrid. Hasta luego!

Posted by mvagamundo 06:45 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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