Tag Archives: Festival

el fin de semana

This past weekend was absolutely awesome.  Despite the on and off rainy weather, I had an all together great weekend in Madrid.  With only three months left and lots of travel plans between now and the end of August, I’m really trying to take advantage of every moment I have left here.

Friday afternoon I went to lunch with my co-worker Raquel; she lived in Miami for four years so we bonded over that connection to the US instantly.  Since then, we’ve started having English lunches every Friday, where we go out to lunch and only speak in English.  It’s really fun and I’m always happy to help people practice their English!  This week we went to an Italian chain restaurant that’s very popular in Spain, Gino’s.  I had the best pizza ever with roasted eggplant & zucchini, sundried tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella, tomato sauce and goat cheese.  It was so good I talked about it literally all weekend… Jackie thinks that pizza is what gave me all of my energy for the weekend haha.

Friday night we hung out at Lauren’s for a little bit before going to Sol to meet up with the Germans.  Jackie’s sister Bridget was visiting with a friend, so we were hoping we’d find something fun to do!  As soon as we got to the bar, our friends informed us they were leaving to go to a club Gabana, that we can just say is not my favorite.  However, we went anyway, and I had a blast!  I even had to ask Lauren to stay half an hour longer with me, which has never happened!!

After a long, long sleep, I met up with Jackie, Gabby, Bridget & Madison at one of our favorite bar/restaurants, Bar Casa Paco.  We devoured pinchos of a few different types of Spanish tortilla; they serve a million different varieties that are all amazing!  When there was a break in the rain, we headed out to give the visitors a tour of the city.  We went through the normal tour route that we have all perfected by now, but my friend Trent did a great job of mapping out a similar one here if you’d like more details on it!

I took a crazy two hour siesta from 8 – 10 pm when I got home and then woke up and got ready to go out. We went over to an outdoor tent/bar/not sure how to describe it, which has 6€ buckets of 5 beers.  Once they started locking us in, we took cabs back to a bar Gabby’s roommate Ana had told us about that was actually one block from my apartment.  Since it was so close to home, we figured we would give it a try, since none of us were up for going to Kapital, where everyone usually takes their visitors.  This place was so cool!  It’s the sister bar of a pirate bar we went to a few weeks ago for our friend Joe’s birthday, and it was nearly as fun as that one!

After another long, long sleep, Dan and I had delicious homemade egg sandwiches before heading out to an Artisanal Beer and Food Festival in Casa de Campo, the huge park on the west side of the city where the Marathon Expo was.  There are ton of different outdoor areas for expositions it seems, so I’m hoping to find more things like this through out the summer!  We spent a few hours tasting Spanish and International beers, enjoying locally made chorizo on crusty baguettes and soaking up the sun with some of the guys.  I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as well! Ciao, amores:)


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feliz san isidro

Tuesday was el Día de San Isidro, the patron saint of the city of Madrid, so for the whole first half of the week there were cultural events and parties all over the city.  Since we didn’t have to work on Tuesday, Monday night Dan and I met up with our friend Chrissy from Northeastern and a bunch of her friends for some beers in Sol and then walked over to Retiro to see the fireworks.  They shot them off of the statue on the back on the man made lake (where I rented a boat when my parents came to visit!).  Everything was lit up beautifully, and they even had music to go along with it.  Unfortunately, they only lasted 15 minutes, but it was still a lot of fun, especially since we all sat around in the park for a couple of hours after they ended.  The weather was finally warm and sunny this week, so it was great to finally be outside!

There was a huge festival in the San Isidro park all day on Tuesday, so we headed over there after lunch!  It’s located by the river on the west side of the city, where I haven’t really gotten to explore all that much yet.  It’s so beautiful though and I definitely plan on spending a few days this summer relaxing in the park along the river.  We relaxed in the shade most of the day, drinking ice cold tinto de verano, but as it got later we walked around the rest of the festival where they had carnival games (with a ham leg as the price!), awesome outdoor tent restaurants and lots of pottery and artesanal goods on display.  I also finally got to meet Kathryn’s boyfriend, which I was so excited about, and we hung out for most of the afternoon with them and some other friends too!  Dan and I went out for sushi afterwards and ended the night back at Retiro for the last night of the fireworks.


These types of cultural events are the things I always like to explore during our time here in Madrid.  It was really cool to see all of the Madrileños singing and dancing, and so many little boys and girls in the traditional Madrileño dress.  What a great way to spend a day off in the middle of the week!  Hope you guys enjoyed your week & weekend; an update on my weekend coming soon!  Ciao, amores:)

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la cabalgata de los reyes magos


I’m sorry for the lack of substance in my posts as of lately.  Between exams, birthday celebrations and starting new classes today, I haven’t quite had the time to sit down and write.  However, Jackie did a fabulous job of describing the Three Kings Parade that we went to in the beginning of January, so for now… here you are!

While in the United States and other parts of the world Santa Claus brings the children their gifts on Christmas, in Spain Los Reyes Magos or The Three Kings do instead. The kids write to the three kings, and on the morning of The Epiphany January 6th the gifts arrive. People still celebrate Christmas, but more as just a day with their family. The tradition says that just like the Three Kinds brought Jesus his gifts after he was born, they bring gifts to the good children of Spain each year. The night before the Epiphany, there is a huge parade in Madrid called La Cabalgata with tons of floats and the three kings at the end. Colette and I went with my roommate Raquel to experience our first Cabalgata and see the kings. There are some notable differences between this parade and your average American parade:

  • The parade is at night. I have never been to a parade in the US and I certainly can’t imagine parents bringing their children into the city for a parade on Christmas Eve.
  • Parents bring actual ladders to the parade and then let their kids climb up them to see the parade better. Clever, but definitely illegal in the United States. Also Colette and I were constantly anxious that some toddler was going to fall of a ladder and get hurt.
  • El Cartero Real literally translates to “the real postman”. The three kings have a postman that receives all of the letters, sorts them, and then gives them to the kings. Colette and I both loved this and wondered why Santa doesn’t have a postman. All of the kids were excited when he rode by, and hoped he had their letters.
  • Most importantly, there are no other three kings like the Santa’s at every shopping mall in America. If you want to see the real three kings you have to go to the Cabalgata on the eve of the epiphany, that is your only chance. What this means is that the children go CRAZY when the three kings go by on their individual floats. It was really awesome and adorable to see.

Overall La Cabalgata was really cool, and I am so glad I saw it. Parades here are a really big deal, and it was so fun to see all of the little children excited.

I’m off to a FIVE HOUR class about “Creating a Business,” but look forward to updates this week about a day trip to Segovia and my birthday weekend:)  Ciao, amores!

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semana cervantina

One of Dan’s roommates goes to a university outside of Madrid in Alcala de Henares and had seen this huge festival being set up last week, so we decided to spend the day there on Sunday!

Alcala de Henares is a small city outside of the city of Madrid but still within Madrid, the autonomous community (think New York City & New York the state).  It also happens to be where Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote, is from!  Each year they have a week long festival around the anniversary of his birthday to celebrate with homemade crafts, music, drinks, and delicious food.  As usual, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but it was a great day with new friends!

I headed back to Madrid around 11pm exhausted, with a stomach full of magical forest fruit sangria, the most authentic Turkish falafel kebab I’ve ever had, a tasting of Dan’s giant baked stuffed potato, and a sampling of artesian meats and cheeses.  And my hands were filled with a delicious goat’s milk cheese we just had to have for our next picnic, and a handmade leather cross-body bag… oh how Spanish!


I’m really glad I’ve been able to get to see so much of the Spanish culture since I’ve been in Madrid.  For our professor at Northeastern, we have to submit a two page monthly report each month until co-op starts.  Ours are due on the 15th of each month.  Even though it’s kind of a hassle to sit down and write about what I’m doing with my life here in Spain, I do enjoy it in someways.  It gives me a chance once a month to return to my original goals and plans for this year abroad.  One of the biggest things I wanted to do was to explore as many parts of Spain as I could, which is why I thought I’d share this with you now.  The different communities of Spain are so vastly different; I’m so happy I’m getting a chance to experience them all.  If you’ve been reading you know I’ve already been to Madrid (of course), Toledo, Salamanca, and Alcala de Henares.  I also have trips planned or in the works for Barcelona, San Sebastian, and Sevilla before the end of the semester.

Hope all is well at home and thanks for reading!  Hasta luego, amores:)

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