Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This past weekend was the best yet in Madrid. Friday we went on a hike in Cercedilla which is a town about an hour away by train. It's in the same direction as Segovia (where we went a couple weeks ago) so we passed El Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen) again where Franco is buried...along with a HUGE 500 foot cross (not exaggerating...I had to google it when I got home) which marks the spot. When we got to Cercedilla our teacher, Montes, warned us that what usually happens is we take another train to the top of the mountain and then hike down. But of course with our luck, we had to do it the hard way. So we hiked up the mountain...and as if it wasn't hard enough while sweating through my layers, there was also ice on the ground. So I was overheating and slipping up a mountain. Great combination. Needless to stay it was a struggle, but it was a hilarious trip and the view was completely worth it. Where we stopped was called La Mirador de la Reina (Lookout Point of the Queen).

Just had to get an LITP photo
I wanted to stay there for the whole day but couldn't...because we had to get back to Madrid for the tapas crawl!! Yes, after a long day of hiking, what do you want to do? Eat of course. So what better way to celebrate hiking for 5 hours than with tapas and drinks?! It was GREAT. We went to four places and met some hilarious Spanish guys. It was so refreshing just to talk to people in Spanish who weren't our teachers or host families. Even though we will never see them again it was so fun! First stop was el Museo de Jamon, where we passed around plates of cheese and different slices of ham and of course una copa de vino tinto (red wine). Next we went to La Casa del Abuelo for more wine, bread, and little shrimp in hot oil, which is called gambas al ajillo. Delish! Even just dipping the bread in the oil was great. Third stop (the best!!) was at Las Bravas. We got patatas bravas which are potatoes that have been rubbed dry and deep fried, kind of like chunky little steak fries, topped with brava sauce which is sooooo good. It's got a kick to it and goes sooo well with the potatoes. Then we also got tortilla espanola (topped with MORE brava sauce) which is like an omlette but thicker. Finally we ended in El Tronco, where we spent more time chatting than actually eating because what did we get? Pigs ear. I tried it but let's just say it's not my favorite....very chewy.
Can you tell I'm loving life?
Then as if the weekend couldn't get any better...we met Carmen's three year old granddaughter for the first time, Iytanna. SHE IS SO PRECIOUS! At first she was so shy and didn't speak, but once she warmed up to us it was great! She put our hair in "kikis" (pony tails) and literally brushed out hair for the whole night. I fell in love. Especially when we started playing hide and seek and she chose the same place to hide three times in a row. Such a cutie. Oh other plus...Carmen's family came over Sunday for lunch so we got the left overs for dinner!!! (Not sarcasm) Paella. Mmmm with shrimp and chicken and other things that were just tasty. GREAT weekend and pretty great week also. I got pretty good grades on my midterms and can't wait for this weekend because Alyssa's parents get here tomorrow!!! Todo es perfecto.

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