Thursday, June 22, 2006

3 Weeks In

Wow, where to start??? It has now been just over 3 weeks since I left the USA, at times it feels as though time has flown by, other times it feels like it´s been forever. Anyway, Over the last week I´ve traveled to first Madrid, taken a day trip to Toledo and finally conquered Africa for the first time in Morocco. I´ll start off with my travels in Madrid.

I found Madrid much easier to get around than Granada ever was. Part of this was because I actually had a map so I knew where everything was and part of is was because more people speak English there. Overall I did enjoy Madrid and I do think that it would be a cool place to live, but it defiantly wasn´t as cheap as Granada is and it also it was more just like another big city rather than a city with a lot of Spanish Culture. I would compare it to something like Chicago (w/o the lakes and such) where there are tons of museums and things to do, but most of the stuff is for tourists and once you get that out of the way it´s just like most of the other typical large city. Some things that were immediately noticeable were that the people were not as friendly as Granada (didn´t say hello all the time), there were a lot more beggars, and the people were defiantly not as pretty. I think that part of this could be that Madrid has a Metro system in place so people don´t have to walk as much, also it is relatively flat compared to Granada, so you get my point...

We were in Madrid for 4 days and 3 nights and at that point I feel like I pretty much had conquered the city. The first night at the hostel (Mad) was basically a party. They have a bar there everyone gets trashed. We went out to a club after the bar closed at midnight and it was a good time. The next day, I actually took on the city on my own. This of course was possible because of my trusty map that I picked up. I walked around the whole town that day and saw a lot of cool things. They have a huge museum district and at the time I guess they had a new Picasso exhibit because his art was advertised throughout the city. Anyway, I didn´t actually make it into to the museums because the one I wanted to go into was closed on Tuesday (i think) and I never made an attempt to get back out there again. It´s ok, i´m not the biggest art fan anyway and rather would explore the city and see other things (which I did). I think the only thing that I actually paid to get into in Madrid was their Royal Palace. As you could expect it was huge and was very nice. I paid a couple extra euro to get the audio tour... big mistake. All it talked about was the art or paintings in each room and was extremely boring. Anyway, the palace was cool and I hope to have pictures up at some time... possibly at the end of this post.

Another cool thing that we did in Madrid was go to a French bar and watch the France, Swiss world cup match. Apparently Madrid has a decent French population and the kids at the bar showed their pride with all kinds of face painting and such. It was a good time but if i recall the match itself was very boring and it ended up as a tie.

The last night we were actually in Madrid we spent part of the time looking for my brother Danny. I guess he did some kind of high school 9 day study abroad in Spain program and he was going to be in Madrid the same time we were. The only problem with this was that I knew where his hotel was but I didn´t have anyway to get a hold of him. Earlier in the day I went to the hotel and talked to the reception people about how to contact him. They didn´t have very much information at all about who is in which room or even what the name of the teacher for the different American groups were. Anyway, each time i came out empty handed and had practically given up. Later on in the night (around midnight) Ii decided to take the Spanish speaking Mr. Ryan with me to try and clear things up. When we got there and talked to the people it was pretty much the same thing I heard earlier. They gave me a phone number to a guy that possibly could have been Danny´s teacher, but since it was so late, I decided it wasn´t cool to make that call without knowing who it was. We actually did see some high school girls in the lobby and I asked them if they were from KC, or at least knew the KC kids. They did and they said that they were out on the town. From there we went to a few clubs looking for them but ultimately never found them and ended up just partying in the clubs anyway. It was a pretty cool night overall. Read other peoples entries for more detail.

The next day we left our bags at our hostel and we split up into different groups. Following Kaci´s recommendation, I went to Toledo with Brandle. Toledo is a city just an hour or so south of Madrid and apparently is where the expression "Holy Toledo" comes from. We assume it has something to do with Toledo being a very Catholic center of spain at one time. Anyway, as Kaci and others have said Toledo is very beautiful. It is another walled off city in spain. At one point I do think it was the capital. Anyway, most of my facts are just speculation because I haven´t the time to do the research online and there aren´t many english books around to purchase. Our time there was short but good (4-5 hours).

My only beef with the city is that somehow my camera broke down towards the end. At first I thought it was just because I had taken a lot of photos but I´ve found that neither of my batteries will power the camera up and now it seems as though it´s just a paper weight. Damn you Toledo!!!

Anyway, after getting back to Madrid we set off for our trip to Morocco, Africa. At this point I think i´ll let other talk about Morocco and then I might add my personal opinions after.

photos (up till toledo of course)

This is a dude who was acting like a statue. I didn´t even realize when i walked by untill i saw him move slightly

this is a view of Toledo from a Church that has one of the highest points in the town.
This is a photo of the palace in Madrid.

I wish i had more people pictures, but most of these photos came when I was by myself. Others will have more of the great people pictures because like i said, my camera broke.

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Blogger kaci said...

Michael Flappan. I have been slacking off reading your blogs. I am a bad friend. But I am happy to see that you took my advice, and sad that the city broke your camera. I don't even know if you'll happen to see this comment, but I'll try to leave on in a more recent place, just to let you know that I'm still paying attention to your travels.

12:25 PM  

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