Going abroad through Holy Cross has proved to be a great experience for many reasons. One of them is that I’ve learned so much about the Spanish language and culture: through my host family, our Holy Cross Spanish class, and now a trip to the capital of Spain: Madrid. Completely paid for by our program, this trip allowed us to explore the city without the omnipresent study abroad student budget holding us back. Free of stress and eager to explore, we set out for Madrid.
In just three days, we saw a large amount of the city. We went two museums, the Prado and the Reina Sofia, in which we saw two of the most famous paintings in history, Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez and Guernica by Pablo Picasso. Even though I had already seen Guernica the last time I was in Madrid, this time I was more awestruck by the painting than before. Now, I understand the significance of the painting: it is a piece of political art, an anti-war symbol, portraying the pain of the Spanish civilians during the Spanish Civil War. Aside from the museums, we visited the Real Madrid soccer stadium but didn’t have any luck finding tickets for the game day-of. We also went to el Mercado San Miguel, which is a giant food market with small plates of any kind of Spanish food imaginable. We went on a Saturday at 2pm, lunchtime on a weekend, which meant it was packed, adding to the atmosphere. Finally, we visited the Parque de Retiro, a giant park in the center of Madrid, twice because it was so beautiful and relaxing. The second time, we rented boats and navigated around the pond in the center of the park. In addition to all the attractions we visited, we also ate very well and shopped like true Spaniards in Zara. Overall, the trip allowed us to expand our knowledge of Spain and the Spanish culture and have fun while doing it.
Parque de Retiro
Nicole rowing our cute little boat in the pond
Mercado de San Miguel
Matt in front of Zara
Some of the group in front of the Prado