Today my group was on a walking tour of Madrid. We saw the great masterpieces of the Prado museum and the majesty of the royal palace. The Prado is home to works by the greatest artists of Spain, Goya, Velasquez and El Greco. There was also a painting called The Washing of the Feet, which was painted in such a way that if you walk from one end of the painting to the other, it seems as if the perspective follows you.. The table is always facing you, regardless of how you look at it. The palace was gorgeous. Had a really great tour guide, Paloma. She was really funny and entertaining.
After the palace, they let us go free. My friend Alex and I got pretty lost a couple times but we made it back perfectly fine, just way longer than intended. We did have a delicious lunch of tiny sandwiches. I tried the specialty in Madrid, the calimari sandwich, which was surprisingly good. Also got to check out the beautiful Mercado de San Miguel. It's not so much a market as a collection of tiny shops where you can buy delicious tapas, including sushi. They also had the freshest seafood I've seen so far in Madrid. One place had a huge monkfish on ice. It was super cool. I wish I had pictures but I didn't bring my camera because it wasn't allowed in either the Prado or the Palace.
Tomorrow we go to Segovia and the Valley of the Fallen. Going to learn more about the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship. Should be interesting.
So more random thoughts: it's harder to adjust to not having a phone than I thought it would be. It's hard to make plans and since I don't have an alarm clock or regular clock, trying to figure out time is an adventure in itself. Also, I think the uniforms of the police and civil guard are so much cooler than uniforms in the US. My Spanish is actually pretty ok I'm finding. I've been able to successfully ask questions and pay for things while speaking Spanish. I also managed to get my room key card fixed by asking in Spanish. My accent fits in so well that nobody switches to English on me, which is kind of cool. We'll see how long this lasts though.
It's a breezy night in Madrid and I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Hopefully a good nights rest and I'll be good to go for tomorrow.