I fell in love with the Royal Palace of Madrid yesterday. Room after room of extravagant chandeliers, high ceilings painted with intricate frescoes by famous Spanish painters, and ancient clocks made by King Charles the IVth… unbelievable. My favorite room was Asian-themed- the ceiling was covered in purple, green and deep red porcelain vines. The walls were patterned with the same colors… the vibe was sensual and warm. We could not take pictures there, but here are some that I found online.
The dining room could seat 150 at its long rectangular table. The King and Queen would usually pack the entire table.
The throne room, the last stop on our tour, was everything I expected from royalty: large, gold lions protecting red velvet upholstered chairs and gold accents all over the room.
Many of the frescoes were based on mythological sins and such, which I thought was interesting since Spain has a primarily Catholic history. I loved the Royal Palace, and I love Madrid. I can’t wait to continue exploring!
A young girl, probably in her mid to late teens, lay face up on the sidewalk of Guzman el Bueno with her limbs sprawled. We would have kept walking if her eyes hadn’t been shaking so much, but luckily we stopped to call for help. She was dressed in short jean shorts and hot pink tights, a tannish green jacket over her purple knit sweater. She looked so small and helpless… I felt sick to my stomach. Her eyelids were vibrating, her mouth parted slightly. Carly, Danny, Ian and I stood around her trying to figure out what to do. A woman saw us and started speaking in Spanish frantically trying to help us and the young girl. I handed her my phone and told her to call the ambulance… I wasn’t sure if the number is different in Europe. A man came up shortly thereafter and told Danny and Ian to lift the girl’s legs. The paramedics on the phone told the woman to put the girl on her side, so the Spanish man and woman took over to comfort her and calm her down.
She opened her eyes for just a second, the emotion was pain and shock. I couldn’t and still can’t fathom what must have been going through her head at that moment. Her breathing was uncontrollable… she seemed like she was about to vomit. I felt so horrible for her and wished I could help more, but I think that we did all that we could. I am very thankful that we stopped for her. Situations like these give me hope for humanity. After this Isla Vista tragedy, I have been feeling doubtful about inherent goodness in humanity… but situations like tonight’s gave me a glimmer of hope.
On a less depressing note, I have submitted all 3 of my stories, which means I am done with all the pitches I need for our trip in Spain! All that I have left to do is edit my bullfighter profile and I’m home free! I am excited to help other people in the group with their stories now. I also accepted a co-op job today for the Fall. Everything is falling very nicely into place.
Today we visited El Pais, one of Spain’s biggest newspapers. It was cool to see how a real newspaper is run. The reporting room was large and the separated by each particular section of the newspaper. There were about 5 or 6 desks for each section, apparently around 290 reporters work for El Pais, and only 7% are women.
Overall it has been a great day, I just hope the girl who had a seizure in the middle of the sidewalk is alright now.
What an amazing weekend. Saturday was perfect weather for a day trip to Toledo, a cute little town with very small streets and great shopping. People dressed in medieval clothes paraded around the town singing and playing instruments. There were so many stores selling medieval swords and chainmail armour and lots of Lord of the Rings memorabilia. The streets were narrow and covered by tan tapestry squares which gave the town an old-timey feel. The shops ranged from swanky boutiques to small stores dedicated to knives, swords and daggers. I had a blast going into some of the artisan pottery shops and cute little boutiques to find gifts and memorabilia.
Last night was even more incredible. I can’t believe that we were here for one of Madrid’s biggest soccer games in history- both teams from right in the city. Real Madrid came back to kick Athletico’s booty, and the aftermath was mind boggling. The girls in our group went out early around 9pm to get to the Real Madrid fountain with enough time to be right in the madness if they won. It took us forever to squeeze our way past a million drunk Spaniards to get into a bar near the fountain, but when we did it was totally worth it. Everyone in the bar was ecstatic, screaming bloody murder for Real Madrid. I talked to a guy and his godfather who were from Philly and Chicago and visiting Madrid for vacation- they said they hadn’t seen any sort of chaos like that of Real Madrid fans.
After Real Madrid won, we ran to the fountain. There were some people there, but not many. The reporters from our group who were covering the game ended up running into us at the fountain, so we were able to see them in action reporting and surveying the insane fanbase. A DJ came onstage and suddenly the area around the fountain was packed full. INSANITY. A Spanish fan let me wear his Real Madrid scarf, but I had to return it later… to my dismay it was not a gift. Ugh.
After a couple hours of dancing and cheering for Real Madrid’s victory, I started to get overwhelmed by the crowd, so we vacated as fast as we could (not very fast considering thousands of fans were packed tightly at the fountain for as far as the eyes could see). Luckily Carly and I found Olivia and Shandana and we proceeded to scale the city to find a cab. We encountered a lot of interesting people on the streets, very intoxicated and very excited for their champion soccer team. I wish I had pictures, but I left my phone at home so that it wouldn’t get taken. Regretting it a lot right now, but at least my phone is safe.
Carly, Amanda and I hit the polls today to report for our election coverage story. 54 Spanish seats for the European Union will be announced tonight after today’s voting. We got so many good anecdotes, and expect to interview some experts before our deadline tomorrow. We are currently working in Amanda’s apartment right now to get the ball rolling. So pumped to have this story done and hopefully my bullfighter profile as well. The bullfighter package will be awesome… very excited. 3/3 stories almost done!!! Hoping to pitch a fourth soon. Viva Madrid!!!
Bullfighter profile: 1544. Word count: 800-1000. This profile is allllllright, it definitely could use some tuning but the info, sources, and quotes are all there. I’m so pumped to have my second story done, and if all goes well with the EU election coverage on Sunday, I could possibly have my third and final story done soon. Feeling good. Just got off the phone with the young matador’s manager, and he gave me some great quotes to fill out my profile. Today has been a good day so far!
Tomorrow we vamanos to Toledo for an excursion and I’m very excited. Apparently there’s some good shopping so I’m going gift-hunting and gypy-pants hunting. Pics to come.
If I have time for a fourth article, I want to pitch “Haunted Madrid”, just a fun series of snapshots of supposedly haunted places in Madrid. The idea sprouted after our visit to Casa de Amèrica yesterday. The diplomatic association Casa de Amèrica was established in 1992 through the Madrid City Council to help Spain better their relationships with the Americas. Casa de Amèrica functions in the Palacio de Linares, a gorgeous old palace built for the Marquess and Marcioness of Linares in the late 19th century. I wish I could have taken some pics, but they didn’t allow it. I’ll attach some from the web because it was way way too beautiful.
Anyway, I had a dream the night/morning before this tour that all of us on the trip were staying in this huge castle. There were some ghosts involved, a scary basement, etc., and when we went to the castle… it was exactly like the dream. I was freaking out. Also in the dream someone who I don’t remember now told me that my grandparents’ house was haunted. When we took a tour of the palace, the tour guide showed us the “smoking room” which my grandparents also have in their house. Just too weird. Later in the tour, the tour guide said that the palace is supposedly haunted. At this point I was SURE that my dream had been a premonition, so I thought that it would be cool to ask more about the supposed “ghost” of the Palacio de Linares and see if any other Palaces in Madrid were haunted. The tour guide told me the story of the ghost and said that Madrid absolutely has more “hauntings” that I should check out. Gonna try to pitch it to Carlene once my profile piece and election story are done. Wish me luck!
Here are some photos I found of the Palacio de Linares
We have arrived in Madrid! I wish I could have blogged before this, but wi-fi at our homestay in Salamanca was so shot… and I was so focused on completing my story that blogging went down on my list of priorities. Saying goodbye to Salamanca was hard. I already miss how relaxed and peaceful the environment was and how easy it was to get around.
Madrid is completely different so far. Carly and I are living in an apartment with two other American girls, one lives right outside of DC and went to Georgetown Visitation for high school! I definitely played her in field hockey… such a small world. We have single rooms in our apartment which is amazing, my room is humongous. I slept for 12 hours last night and am feeling so much better. I had a killer sore throat last night and wanted to die, but luckily sleep and water have paid off. I just have the sniffles now, hopefully ill be 100% again later this afternoon.
We walked around Madrid’s Plaza del Sol, Plaza Mayor and the Palacio Real last night. Even though the sky was overcast and the weather was not the best, the city is still so magnificent and regal. The palace… unreal. I’m going to go back soon when the weather is nicer and add photos to this post.
We went to Mercado de San Miguel which was basically a mecca for Spanish cuisine. I had seafood based tapas, one was mussels over a slice of bread and the other was smoked salmon will dill sauce over bread, GOD SENT. The cheese station was overwhelming. Brie and raspberry on a cracker… gouda, parmesan, etc. For dessert, a caramel crepe. Some green tea to finish off a perfect meal. I love this city.
I need to start reading my horoscope again. Having a bad day… I’ve Been very high strung because it’s our last day here which means I have to finish my article and I still have quite a bit to do. The wire transfer from my dad hasn’t been working at the banks, so I’ve wasted a lot of precious work time trying to retrieve my money… Frustrating!!! Reading this horoscope gave me some relief, I know that might sound insane. Anything helps! Lookin to the cosmos for some guidance right about now.
Feeling a little helpless. My debit card is MIA, and I feel terrible because I owe people back for drinks, etc. I haven’t brought my wallet out at night for fear of getting money stolen or my card misplaced, or because I just forget to put my wallet in my bag because I suck…so I’ve been using coins and other people to help me out. I feel pretty self-loathing about it right about now. The minute I took my card out at an ATM on Thursday to get money for myself was the last time I remember seeing it. I know I put it in either my jacket or my bag or my backpack. I’ve looked for it everywhere; stripped my bed, cleaned out the shelves, cleaned the desk, looked in my suitcase… basically I’ve frantically freaked out for about an hour now. The only money I have is on debit Visa gift cards which I can’t get any cash from.
This morning was incredible, and it sucks that I’m upset now because of losing my card and feeling crappy about myself. I get so down on myself when things go wrong that I could have prevented. I am incredibly hard on myself and when I do something wrong I feel like I’ve therefore done everything wrong. I’m now nervous about my story, I don’t think it’s good enough and I’m scared that it won’t be good enough before we leave for Madrid. It’s so silly to feel this way, but I can’t help it.
I’m really trying to ride it out. I’m blogging about it now because I’m in the middle of it, this horrible feeling. I suck!
The bullfighter cancelled on us this morning, so now when I go to write the profile today I will have holes where two quotes should be. Pretty frustrated right now, but I’m trying to keep my head up. It’ll all work out.
a lot. ❤ u Luna aka lunietoons