I could go on and on about the last few days but to sum it up, Madrid has been absolutely amazing so far! Praise the Lord, the flight here wasn't bad at all and I made it to Barajas without any issues. I've never flown this far so that in itself was an accomplishment for me (even in spite of the terrible jetlag!).
There are about ten of us here for the second summer session, most from the south or east coast. Everyone has been really friendly and easy to talk to, something I appreciate greatly after not knowing what at all to expect from this program. I can't say enough nice things about my roommates! I live in a residencia (dorm) with two other girls, one from Texas, the other from Massachusetts. They're both so kind and have the greatest sense of humor--I'm very blessed.
The city itself is huge. I wish I could put into words just how much there is here. We've done a lot of walking and you'll be surprised just what you see. There are stores, restaurants and shops of all shapes and sizes everywhere. The metro offers access to even more. We've spent a lot of time in an area called Puerta del Sol which is essentially the center of the city. There you can find a lot of stores, bars and restaurants as I've mentioned, as well as the Plaza Mayor.
Today we took the train to Toledo. Everything we saw there was absolutely breathtaking, including the cathedral. We also saw El Greco's greatest masterpiece. We weren't allowed to take photos there but you can find the painting here! To say the least, the experience left me very overwhelmed (but in the best of ways, of course!)
We also spent some time this afternoon at Parque del Retiro, a huge park with a giant lake, lots of grass, trees and plentiful sunshine. We sat on the grass for a while just chatting and joking around with each other and honestly, everything here has been just great. It's so nice to feel so comfortable in a city so foreign to me and to feel like I have a group of friends that I can rely on, even after only a few days.
Tomorrow we're planning to trek out to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to watch the Eurocup final on the big screens outside. With Spain in the final match, the city has been crazy! I can't even imagine what things will be like if the team comes out with another Euro win. Will update soon--in the meantime enjoy the pictures!