Madrid

La Vida Loca

Before I went to Paris I had two other people visit me; first was my lovely friend Danyal, who I met during my semester abroad in Minnesota (Read about my semester abroad here!). She was studying abroad in London while I was in Madrid and I am so glad we got to see each other again after so long and happy that she got to visit other parts of Europe. It was so much fun, we partied in VIP with Spanish basketball players, we also visited the Royal Palace, went on a cable car ride, ate some churros con chocolate and did some karaoke.

royal palace madz

cable cars food madrid

IMG_1314

The other person that came was my Mum! I was so happy for her to visit me and be in Spain for the first time. I really wanted her to have a great time so we tried to do something everyday. We did a bit of shopping, ate out in authentic Spanish restaurants, bowling, visited tourist attractions, museums and we went to some other parts of Madrid and tried Senegalese food for the first time. My mum also made Jollof rice and roast lamb during her visit; it was soo good having a taste of home. She had a great time despite the bad weather but was it was really nice to spend time with my mum.

hgfd

After my return from Paris I had the last couple of weeks of class and presentations, celebrated friends’ Birthdays’, visited Madrid’s Christmas market in Plaza Mayor (which wasn’t that interesting) and spent time with the people before heading back to London.

ftyujkl

My time in Madrid was a whirlwind of experiences which I will never forget. Time moved so fast, and once again another four months of study abroad came to an end in December. It’s always a bittersweet feeling returning home after travelling, but the memories and great people is what I cherish the most. If I had one word to describe my 4 months in Madrid it would definitely be crazy! I met amazing people and made some life long friends, I can honestly say that living in Madrid has been one of my favourite experiences in life so far.

amigosss

Learning things the hard way!

Following on from my previous post ‘Amigos‘, these are the series of unfortunate events that took place…

First impressions of the apartment were good, the location was perfect, we liked the layout and the space was more than enough for 5 people (he did tell us the fridge door was a bit dodgy, but for one night we didn’t mind). Before getting to the apartment we asked for the “free wi-fi” password. As soon as we put our bags down we tried to log in, it didn’t work for any of us, so we called the guy and he kept giving us the same password but it wasn’t working. He even called the internet provider but it didn’t work. We realised that there was no way of getting wi-fi so we started getting ready for the night.

Like normal human beings, some of us had to use the bathroom. My friend went, flushed the toilet and said the bath plug hole was bubbling but we all thought nothing of it. The next person went, flushed and noticed the bubbling plug hole again, but this time “stuff” was coming out of it (*WARNING* If you have a weak stomach or if you’re eating something, skip the next couple of lines!!!). After the smell that started coming from the bathroom we soon realised what that “stuff” was. POO! yes, poo/poop/excrement, whatever you want to call it was coming out of the baths plug hole!!! I was so disgusted and shocked that in a wealthy area of Madrid you can still find places like this, I have stayed in a village in Africa that had better toilet facilities than that! We had to call the guy to come back and explain what the heck was going on. He came back and was “surprised” to see the situation in the bathroom and claimed he didn’t know why it was happening. At this point I was ready to leave.

The guy left once again and we carried on getting ready, trying to ignore what was happening in the bathroom. Nothing else could go wrong we thought. How wrong were we! While getting ready one of my friends went to sit on the bed and one of the legs broke (after looking at the bed we discovered it was already broken to begin with). Shortly after that the electricity cut out and we had to wait for the guy to come back again. After this point all of us were so annoyed, but tried to stay positive given the circumstance. We finished getting ready once the lights came on, played a couple of drinking games and headed out to meet my friends at the club.

We got outside and met a couple of people, we got talking and the next thing we knew was two undercover policemen came at us demanding to see our ID. We were so confused but soon realised that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol in public. After taking our names down and getting a verbal warning, we finally made our way to the club to meet my friends. (I got us on the guest list which gives you free entry and 2 free drinks before 1:30am), we made it to the door, only to be told we were in the wrong queue! It was either pay 20 euros or leave. So we left and went to an Irish bar down the road instead. I felt bad for my friends visiting Madrid and on the first night out we experienced all of that.

We tried to stay positive despite the unfortunate events, but the reality of it was a mess, literally. We look back on it now and laugh, but it was not amusing to say the least. Moral of the story is to ALWAYS check and listen to the reviews online, not everyone is exaggerating!

BEWARE OF APARTAMENTOS HAPPY MADRID HORTALEZA – http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/happy-madrid-hortaleza.html#tab-reviews

Amigos :)

A few weeks ago I had my lovely friends come and visit me in Madrid for a long weekend. I was so happy to see them and glad they had a chance to see Madrid. We made sure to have a weekend filled with going out and being tourists. The girls arrived quite late due to delays so on the first night we chilled at my apartment and had an early night ready for the next days activities. We decided to book an apartment for one night in Gran Via, which is in the centre of Madrid, so that we could enjoy what the city had to offer and skip the 45-60 minute journey back to Villaviciosa.

The next day we did a bit of shopping, went for dinner and with the help of google maps, headed to the apartment to collect the key and make the payment. We walked about 5 minutes to the actual apartment and the guy gave us a quick tour then left. What we thought was going to be a fun night in the centre of Madrid ended up being a nightmare! (It was so bad that I am going to do a separate post about what went down – ‘Learning things the hard way!‘ ).

The morning after the nightmare we went to a café and decided that we needed to do something to make up for the horrible night before. After some deliberation we came up with go karting! All but one hadn’t been go karting before so we were all excited and ready to try and forget the craziness that happened a few hours prior. We hopped on the metro and made our way to Carlos Sainz Centre. We were lucky to go at the time we did, because we had the track to ourselves for the first race and then a couple of guys joined in on the next race. We all loved it so much, it was definitely an adrenaline rush as I’ve never driven so fast before. I ended up getting a bit carried away at one point and instead of breaking, I still had my foot on the accelerator and ended up crashing straight into the wall which I think I gave myself minor whiplash. But in the end it was so much fun and I would definitely do it again.

Later that evening I made dinner and then we went out to Kapital, which is one of the most famous night clubs in Madrid. Its made up of 7 floors and has different rooms and plays various genres of music. We thought we’d try again after the fail night we had before. This time I knew we were guaranteed to have fun, which we did and ended up in VIP and had a great night with also making new friends in the toilet as girls do on a night out (lol).

Sunday came and we were all exhausted, so we decided to have a lazy day and made a Spanish style Sunday roast and later played a couple of drinking games before the girls packed their things and went to bed. The next morning came 😦 and the girls made their way to the airport back to the UK. It was a crazy weekend to say the least, but im so glad I got to see my friends and enjoyed some of what Madrid has to offer.

untitled

 

Adiós Inglaterra

IMG_1254

Once again I have said my goodbyes to the UK for 4 months as I embark on my Erasmus journey in Madrid. I have been here for nearly 2 months now and so much has already happened. Before even getting to Madrid me and my friend nearly missed our flight! This set the tone for the first couple of weeks. For the first 5 days we stayed in Plaza Mayor and luckily found a really nice apartment by the end of the week near uni and moved in. But this is where it started going wrong. Our first night we found a LIZARD in one of the bedrooms and it literally took an hour to get the stupid thing out of the window! The night after there was a horrible stench of fish (we still don’t know where it came from) plus we had no wifi in our apartment so we spent ages at uni and outside telepizza takeaway just so we could get some wifi (first world problems lol).

Our apartment.

Our apartment.

The first couple of days after moving in we thought it would be cool to check out the nightlife in Madrid. Its quite different compared to the UK; in Madrid clubs open at 11/12am and don’t get busy till 1/2am and then close around 6am. Long story short, the music was a bit rubbish, the drinks were so overpriced (14 euros for a small glass of wine! When you can buy a bottle of wine in the supermarket for 99 cents!), so we ended up leaving early to catch the metro and go home. What we didn’t know was that the metro closed at 1:30am. We bought a ticket and waited. Heard a loud noise thinking it was the metro coming, but really it was all the exit gates in the station closing! So on our first night out in Madrid we got stuck inside the metro station and I had to call the police for them to open the gates. At the time it was really scary but looking back on it now, its kind of funny.

Universidad Europea de Madrid.

Universidad Europea de Madrid.

After the first couple weeks of craziness things started going smoothly, I took an intensive Spanish language class (which wasn’t really helpful), started making new friends and getting to know the area I live in and the city of Madrid. Another positive has been the weather. Since September till now the weather has been amazing, which always makes everything better.