So already, if you know me, you know I like to decorate. Dorm rooms and apartments most definitely included. Since moving into my apartment in Spain, I have slowly but surely been creating a masterpiece. This weekend, my final purchases have effectively Taylor-ized the room. On Sunday, I was able to go to El Rastro, Madrid’s flea market. It is huge! As in several streets, all full of vendors. You can buy almost anything there: clothes, paintings, furniture, technology, books, food, flowers, tacky tourist stuff too.
Heeding the many warnings about pickpocketing at the market, I went prepared with my Rick Steves money belt in place on Sunday morning. The amount of people was astounding – half locals, half tourists all mixed together and bargaining for goods. I walked away with a red and a pink scarf, a gorgeous red, yellow, and orange painting of elephants for my wall, and a beautiful blue, green, gold, silver, and gold embroidered table liner for my desk. The table liner is now accented by a reed diffuser and picture frame from Natura. Also, 3 baby cacti are on my desk, 2 are pretty green and 1 has bright yellow flowers. Studying can now commence since a feng shui balance has been achieved!
Other than rearranging my room in preparation for homework this week, I also had the opportunity to visit the monastery de San Lorenzo El Escorial this weekend with my friend Ashley. Other than the cold (it wasn’t heated!), it was an excellent day trip. Several Spanish Kings took residence at the huge fortress (called a behemoth by my Frommer’s book!) during the fall due to its nice location in the mountains. Because of this, we got to see different styles from different eras when Kings lived at the monastery. Additionally, El Escorial is where all of Spain’s Kings are buried, in a creepy underground cellar which reminds one of the Haunted Mansion at DisnerWorld, deep underneath the altar of the church structure.
A part of the tour of El Escorial includes walking through the tomb graveyard of hundreds of royalty, but after you do this, you get to see the church. The church was absolutely amazing, with a gigantic dome and incredible decorations and artwork within. El Escorial is also home to one of the world’s most prestigious libraries, pretty legit but kind of boring. After our tour, we stopped by a local restaurant. I got some churros & hot chocolate, of course & then we were back off on the train to Madrid. By the time we got back we were so hungry that we went to a tapas place and had like 6 tapas each for dinner! Overall, a very successful day. And now, since it’s Tuesday, time to be in school mode. This weekend we have an urban hike of Madrid’s green spaces to look forward to… should be interesting!