Toto, I’ve a feeling we´re not in Montana anymore…

Alas! More words jumbled on a page, enjoy! With an average of 15,000 steps a day, I decided that it was finally time to take a break and write a new blog post!  School has finally started and even though it has been almost one week since then, I am currently only on day 2.  So to start, I´ll talk about the boring things and then I´ll get to the picture posts.  School here is great.  But if we´re being honest, I was worried because at all of our orientation sessions they stressed how you must go to class each day and how important that was – okay I know, I know, this shouldn´t be a problem…but I´m in Spain. I want to travel. I want to study and learn..but I want to have fun.  After hearing this and going to my meeting for finalizing my class schedule I realized being studious and having fun would be no problem.  I am taking 6 courses (5 are in Spanish) and only have class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  Each class here is only once a week -except my Spanish for exchange students class – and for only 1-2 hours. Props to you Spain.  And thankfully, during the two days of classes I´ve attended and the few orientation dates we’ve had I have made some great friends which is perfect for all of the days off that I have here! This also means I no longer have to explore the city on my own!

*featured above: “Michael Jackson”, and Domonique. Hannah. Eddy.

Fun fact, Eddy was my first friend here, he’s from London and says that -I- have an accent. Also he hates selfies…boo.

I´m not quite sure what else to mention about school right now, other than it makes me feel like I have all of the time in the world.  I realize that statement is slightly ironic now as a lot of my time is spent going from here to there.  I have finally (almost) mastered the subway system here -the Metro- as I walk 15 minutes to my nearest station to make 3 different train transfers before finally arriving at my university.  If I leave at minimum an hour and a half before class I end up running between trains to arrive at class right as it begins. **Goal: get commute time from my door to the door of my first class down to one hour without rushing!  Now, I´ll fill in this somewhat blank page with pictures of my adventures so far (a few of them that is).

pano park

Parque del Buen Retiro (Buen Retiro Park) – It´s so big that it would take hours to walk through it all (and you´d surpass the 15,000 daily step average).  Up until 1868 the park had been the site of a Royal Palace and grounds that were built in 1632 for Philip IV.  This was destroyed during the Napoleonic period thus becoming grounds for festivals, mock battles, theater and more during the 17th century.

I spent only a couple of hours there, exploring the different attractions and general beauty of Spain, but can´t wait to go back again.

*if you click on the picture above, you should be able to view each individually!

A place of beauty, with or without me in the photo 😉  The architecture here never ceases to amaze me – the buildings with history and art carved into every crevice and the statues that offer details into the past lives of the artist and the people here. The fountains have crystal clear waters that flow from rocks or sit tranquil and blue just wanting to be pondered.  Let me assure you, I did just that.  It´s a great place to take time for reflection in the reflecting waters (yes, I went there).

 

You can also go kayaking in the lake within the park – I think it is 8 euro for 4 people – and I can´t wait to “test the waters” #sorrynotsorry for the puns…or the hashtag.  It was great watching those out on the water as they are all in their big winter coats because here, it´s cold (think cold as in Spring in Montana).  Something in me thinks I´ll just wait for warmer weather. Either way, it´s a great place to just walk around, there´s everything in this area.   Food stands, selfie connoisseurs and tourists alike, benches to rest and musicians -I don´t know if it changes, but the day I went there were accordion players and it was amazing.

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The two pictures in the slideshow give a glimpse of the Palacio Cristal (Crystal Palace) which can be found in an area of the park.  It was built in 1887 by architect Ricardo Velazquez Bosco and designed in the shape of a Greek cross.  It was originally built to be a greenhouse for exotic flora and fauna of the Philippines (which was a Spanish colony at this time) but is now currently used for contemporary art exhibits.

Also included in this park is a small exhibition of art from the Reina Sofia (after seeing this, a trip to the full museum will be happening SOON…along with pictures).

Stay tuned for the next issue, it’s about my first Sunday Mass!
Con Amor,

Ashley-Ann

 

 

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