Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where it all started

6 years ago I went on my first trip abroad.  This trip started in Toledo and Madrid, Spain.  This past weekend I had the opportunity to return to these two beautiful cities.  It was amazing to go back and see the cities in an entirely different perspective.
We first started our journey in Toledo.  When I first went here we saw how they make swords in the city.  This time was much different.  The first thing we did there was take the bus around the city to give us a panoramic view.
Panoramic view
Next, we went into the city to have a walking tour. We started in the center of the city. There I saw the restaurant I had my first meal at in Spain when I came here the first time.
Good to know this McDonalds is still going strong!!!
Later we got to go into the Toledo Cathedral.  It was beautiful!!!  I really enjoyed going here because I'm taking an art history class this semester.  For this reason, I was ale to look around and find things we had talked about in class. It also made understanding what the tour guide was saying much easier because I understood most of the terms.  My professor had better be proud!
Toledo Cathedral
Inside the Toledo Cathedral


Walking through Toledo was amazing!! It was even more beautiful than I remember!!
After Toledo we headed to Madrid.  Once we got checked into our hotel rooms we had free time.  A few of us decided to go get dinner right away because we were hungry.  So we went to find this restaurant a friend's friend recommended.  Well.  You see.  We didn't really piece together that it was 6pm....and we were in Spain....which meant that pretty much every restaurant was closed.  At this point I was getting hangry.......and those of you who know me know that's a dangerous area to enter into.
Finally, after walking around some more, we found a little cafe that had some small pizzas we could get.  Needless to say, we went for it! After that, we walked around on some streets off of Puerta del Sol.  And then, just like that, we were hungry again. So off to McDonald's we went!!! And there was no shame given that day.  Why?  Because they have Kit-Kat McFlurry's there.  And they're fantastic!!  After some Mickey D's, we went back to the hotel, watched a movie, and crashed.  We were clearly living the crazy night in Madrid that first day.  :)
The next day my roommates and I woke up a bit early to go to breakfast. We had an extremely good reason though to get up early.  That reason was one word: Starbucks.
That's right.  We were those people.  After breakfast and Starbucks, we went to the Royal Palace.  We couldn't take pictures of the inside, but I promise you, it was just as beautiful inside as it was outside.
After the palace we had some free time, so a few of us went to Parque del Buen Retiro.  Before we got to the park we stopped at a grocery store and picked up stuff to make sandwiches and some chips to have a picnic in the park.  Now.  These chips. Oh. My. Goodness.  Best chips....ever!!!

You read that right.  Rosemary and Olive Oil.  The two things I have fallen in love with here, combined with my favorite snack back home.
After we got to the park and had lunch, we walked around a bit.  the park was beyond beautiful!!!! Two of my friends have nice naturally we had to take "senior pictures!!"
Two of the main places in the park are the Monument to Alfonso XII and the Crystal Palace.
Monument to Alfonso XII
Crystal Palace
Here are some pictures I took in the park:

Later that night we went to this concert with our group.  It was awesome!!!!  It was a group of 10 people who used things like trash cans, flippers, boxes, water, ladders, and other things to make music.  I loved it!!
On our last day in Madrid we went to el Museo de Prado.  We didn't have a tour guide for the museum, so we were able to walk around for as long as we wanted.  A few of us walked around the museum for a bit, then decided to leave and go to a flee market.  It was supposed to be a 20 minute walk....yeahhhhh...took more like 40 minutes.  But hey! We got there in one piece and we knew where we were the entire time.  So I count that as a win.  :)  The flee market was cool and very chaotic!  After the flee market it was time to return home to Granada.
It's crazy to think that 6 years ago I was embarking on my first journey abroad.  Between then and now, my love of traveling has only grown more and more.  I can't wait to see what I'll discover next. 

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