By Nicole Strombom
After a sleepless flight, I ventured into the bustling Madrid airport. I did not know what adventures were waiting for me, but I was excited to find out! I grabbed a taxi and headed to my Airbnb in Tetuán, a northern district of Madrid.
I met up with my roommates, who had moved in the day before, and we ventured to the Nuevos Ministerios metro station to grab one of my roommate’s metro passes. On the way, we took a quick stop to grab a glass of café con leche, which was perfectly brewed. Nuevos Ministerios is like a maze, and we searched for quite sometime to find the proper metro office. Eventually we successfully obtained my roommate’s metro pass and headed above ground into the local shopping scene.
Corte Ingles sits above the metro station and had all of our grocery and household necessities – a welcome find on our first full day in Madrid! We journeyed home and proceeded to get ready for our first day of classes and the adventures that awaited us in the morning.
After another sleepless night due to excitement, we ventured to Plaza de Castilla, obtained our metro passes, and hopped onto the light blue line to SLU Madrid!
After a brief orientation, we headed to our first full day of classes. Being jetlagged, seemingly every student needed a nap after the first hour, but stayed alert, fueled by pure excitement.
Tuesday arrived and with it my birthday! We decided to go out and ventured into Centro for a night of tapas and sangria. Mas Al Sur did not disappoint!
On Thursday, we had a short day of classes and decided to celebrate being in Spain by dining as a group at Casa Mingo. Casa Mingo is known for its cider and chicken. We ate until we were all stuffed and enjoyed the laid-back Spanish dinning experience.
For the weekend, our group decided to stay close to Madrid and catch up on sleep and our studies. We opted to take a day trip to a smaller town about an hour outside of Madrid that contains one of the Royal Palaces. The Royal Palace in Aranjuez was mainly used for the spring season and is absolutely stunning both inside and outside. The rooms of the palace are adorned with priceless tapestries, paintings, furniture and chandeliers. Each turn of the corner offered a new surprise! My favorite room was decorated with an Asian flare with dragons sculpted into the wall designs.
Following our tour of the palace, we ventured to a local winery, Real Cortijo de Carlos III, which was originally established to make wine for the Royal Palace. The winery still produces wine and stores several other local Spanish wines in the vast cellar. We embarked on a guided tour of the cellars that offered a step back into history when wine was the drink of choice. It was intriguing that the wine was kept in terra cotta pots and that the space for the queen’s pot of wine was vastly larger than that of the king’s.
After our cellar tour and wine tasting, we proceeded to a local restaurant for a quick bite of food. The day was a success! Our first week in Madrid had ended, but the adventure was just beginning!