Living

Bucket List: Mountain House

I decided I want a mountain house. I spent two days in El Escorial, in a house nestled in the mountain, and I think I need one. Said house belongs to my wonderful host parents who welcomed me for a night. They chose the location for the views and the proximity to Madrid. Those were great and all, but the calm really grabbed me. Since we set our clocks back last night, I woke up early enough to see the sunrise. As I sat reading and enjoying the amanecer (sunrise), I noticed the silence. Hold on, what is that again? Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the city center of Madrid. If anything, it taught me to appreciate quiet, but nothing rivals the power of complete stillness.

From the deck. Can anyone tell me this doesn't look perfect?

From the deck. Can anyone tell me this doesn’t look perfect?

As if I wasn’t already prepared to start construction on my new house, we spent the rest of the morning hiking up the mountain. Maybe I should consider living in my mountain house full time…

We ran into a few cows towards the top of the mountain.

We ran into a few cows towards the top.

As if this wasn’t enough, my host parents insisted on making squid for lunch, which they know is my favorite. My mountain house lust cannot get any worse!

In the end I suppose I should focus on finding my first house, and then move on the my mountain house. Still, I can dream!

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Back to Back Spanish Culture

A long day at school on Wednesday continued into a long night. The night part was better than the school part.

After class I ran home, put on a dress, and walked to the Ritz Carlton Madrid. We all need a one night luxury getaway, right? As nice as that sounds, I did not check in or stay the night. Instead, I attended a wine tasting event called Vinoro. Twenty Seven wine booths lined the ballroom, eager to pass out samples and explain origins and cultivation.

I learned  the Spanish are ashamed that Americans only know of Rioja wine from Spain. They set out to change that, encouraging me to try white wines from the Galicia region. I got some Christmas gift ideas, so look forward to those everyone! The man who owns Bodegas Felix Sanz even gifted my friend and I a bottle of Monte Negro and a corkscrew.

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I admit, I could have gone home satisfied with my night. However, I had Real Madrid tickets that I couldn’t let go to waste! After wine, I went to see Real Madrid take the Copenhagen 4-0 in a Champions League game. Since I’m missing U.S. football season, ¡Vamos Madrid!

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Classes

Although I prefer to stick to tales of galavanting around Spain, this week marks the third week of class.

Here’s how it works. I take the commuter train the Carlos III University. The train comes right to my house (yes, I’m spoiled), and it’s about a ten minute walk from the train station to campus. I’m taking five classes, all in Spanish. Four of them are with other international (mostly American) students, and one is with all Spanish students. My classes are Journalism, Spanish Language, Cultural Studies, Art History and Communication Theory. The very best thing about class in Madrid is I have Fridays off. Okay maybe there are other good things about class, too, but it’s up there.

My to do list of Spanish activities just will not stop growing. I want to do everything! I just bought tickets to see El Rey León (The Lion King) musical with a friend.

No Friday class leads me to my most exciting news this week: I’m going to paris on Friday. Approximately two days, 14 hours, 15 minutes and 32 seconds from right now. Not that I’m keeping track. Pictures and stories to follow!

I leave you with this picture.

My host mom bought these peppers at a market she visited. Aren't they pretty?

My host mom bought these peppers at a market she visited. Aren’t they pretty?

Paella Pow Wow

You ask, what is a Paella Pow Wow? Paella everywhere you look. This was a competition event, hosted by Mountain View church at a gorgeous home in the suburbs of Madrid. Fourteen chefs brought ingredients and paella pans and made paella in the backyard. After trying all the paellas, I am stuffed. Like, I can’t eat any more food for the rest of the day. Despite my slight discomfort, I loved participating in this paella tasting.

This paella won best flavor.

This paella won best flavor.

One kind chef let us help. Megan is giving the giant paella a good stir.

One kind chef let us help. Megan is giving the giant paella a good stir.

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Every paella had a completely different flavor. Yes, I took mental notes and am prepared to make paella for everyone when I got back to the U.S.

In other news, I joined a gym this week, found a great coffee shop and look forward to yoga in Parque del Retiro tomorrow.

Vogue Fashion Night Out

September 12, 2013 marks Vogue Fashion Night Out in Madrid. Stores lining Fuencarral stayed open late offering store discounts, freebies, music, food and cocktails. Pink carpets lined the entrances of participating stores. A few highlights include sunglasses at Swarovski, champagne at Michael Kors and popcorn at Salsa. While I made it out this time without buying anything, I found a few stores I’ll return to. Below are some crazy pictures from the night.

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