Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer in the city

   It has been a while since my last post. These past few weeks I have been busily studying and working on final projects for my grad school degree. I am happy to say that now it is all over, except writing my thesis paper to turn in September. It is now mid-June, meaning I am in my final month in Spain. The best part of this is since I'm done with grad school, I have time to enjoy the lively summer life in Madrid. It's so exciting to see the restaurants putting out their tables for outdoor dining. After an unusually long winter, the city is finally heating up and you can order the season appropriate 'tinto de verano' (means summer wine, a mix of red wine and fanta); although I drink it year round with no shame. Sitting at these terrazas is the social outing of summer. The really cool places are on top of tall buildings with views. Another nice thing to do is spend weekends 'taking the sun' in Retiro Park or Parque Oeste. You can bring out the towel, the bocadillos (sandwiches), and the tinto de verano (again, essential to summer activities) and people-watch all the interesting characters passing by. Cheap entertainment. The city has public pools, but I've yet to test them out. Some apartments have private pools, but they're really not that common in the city center.
   Also, during the summer months, the city puts up triangle shaped awnings across the roofs of the buildings on the streets going from Sol to Callao to provide shade to pedestrians below. This symbolic sign of summer always brings me good memories because it reminds me of my first time in Madrid in summer 2008. I had done a study abroad on the southern coast of Spain in Cadiz, and was traveling up through the country with my mom after it finished. We had several nights in Madrid and we passed under the tarps many times enroute from our hotel to the sights. Although I had no real understanding of the city geography like I do now, the tarp covered streets helped us always get back to Sol or Gran Via. We normally ended our nights sitting outside at little restaurants, sharing a jar of sangria. Plaza Mayor is especially beautiful at night, and in the summers there are bands playing jazz that you can listen to from the tables outside. I have one specific memory of sitting outside in Plaza Mayor with my mom and telling her I thought I could see myself living in Madrid. That experience inspired me to research opportunities to move back to Spain after graduation. And lo and behold, here I am in Madrid about to wrap up my second year living here and receive my Master's diploma in this European capital. Sometimes life surprises you.

Plaza Mayor


Retiro Park.... nice place to take a boat ride or spend a very public romantic afternoon. Why not both I say??

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