I´ve had an nice break from traveling the past two weekends, which has given me the chance to get into Madrid a lot and explore. Last weekend, I went to see Volver (the new Almodovar movie), which was amazing. I loved the movie and it was so cool to be in an actual movie theater in Spain seeing a movie by Spain´s most famous director and actually understanding it. I even laughed at some of the jokes when the Spanish people did, which was exciting. After the movie, my friends and I went and had tapas on the Plaza Mayor, which is all lit-up and filled with people at night. Sunday I went to El Rastro, which is a huge open-air market in Madrid that happens every Sunday. It was really hot out and super-crowded, but still really cool to walk around and take it all in. After the Rastro, we went to the Retiro park (basically the Central Park of Madrid) and walked around and relaxed for a while. This past week was Halloween, which is sort of catching on in Spain. Everyone goes out on Halloween because the next day is All Saint´s Day and no one has to go to work or school. It was fun to dress up (we went as pirates), but Spaniards aren´t very creative with their costumes. They mostly go as witches, vampires, zombies and things along that vein. On Friday of this week, we went to Toledo (a medieval city outside of Madrid) for a day trip. It was POURING out the entire day and walking around the city for 6 hours wasn´t exactly fun in the rain. I think I would have been able to appreciate it more if it hadn´t been so miserable out. Last night I went to my first flamenco show. A bunch of us went into Madrid to Casa Patas, a restaurant/tavern that has flamenco every night. The show was awesome -the dancers were incredible (the dancing involves a lot of intricate hand motions and foot stomping/tapping) and the music was beautiful - lots of drumming, Spanish guitar, and clapping.
Overall, things are still going really well, although I can´t believe it´s half-way over! Three of my best friends from Tufts are coming this weekend from France and Germany to stay in Madrid and visit, so I´m really excited to see them and to show them around the city. I will try to update again next week!