Welcome to Madrid!
Hola, y bienvenidos a España!
We’re here! Right in the heart of Madrid, Spain. What a beautiful, romantic, vivacious city. Buildings of all different colors surround you as you navigate on narrow cobblestoned sidewalks and pathways. The hazy sky brings a cool temperature, but only a balmy 50˚F, nothing like the current Wisconsin climate! Spaniards pass giving our large American group odd glances of either sarcasm, disgust, or humor. (Hopefully that will pass as we become more accustomed!)
We’ve already tried two paellas (one had squid, and a shrimp with eyes!), café con leche, cured hams, olives, and multiple other tapas. Everything is decadent – fresh, flavorful, and very natural. Every dish is made with whole ingredients so the food is much better, and healthier, than a lot of things we’re used to (at least in college!). Cheese, olives, coffee, and the cured ham so far are my favoritos. Meals have multiple courses too; everything served on their own plates and in order. By the time desserts come I’m barely hungry!
Sight-seeing wise we’ve gone on a walking tour of the city with a fantastic, well-traveled guide. He gave us the ‘good and the bad’ side of history as we roamed around in the morning. It was very entertaining and a good refresher of both Spanish and religious history in Europe. We also had time to explore the Museo del Prado which welcomes over three million guests each year (one of the most popular museums in Europe). I spent my hour there looking at paintings by one of my favorites, del Greco, and Ribera. All were beautiful, and brought back memories of Western Art History courses with Larry Ball.
Tomorrow brings us to Toledo, a smaller historic town. I’ll keep you updated when I can, but until then…
Courtney Cerniglia is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.