We arrived to Madrid, had time to change and get ready for dinner, then took buses to have dinner as a large group (our entire group was around 115!).
Run in the morning! I was worried that my GPS watch wouldn’t work since I was halfway around the world, but it had no issues! Our pace was a little slow because we stopped at a lot of lights and spent some time evaluating if we were going in the correct direction or not. 🙂
We took a day trip to Toledo, which was beautiful! It is a smaller city that is surrounded by a river on two sides. To protect the city, a wall was built around the other two sides of the city. Very neat place that seems to represent the classic Spain that first comes to mind.
Our first concert was in evening in a beautiful church in Madrid. We had a full audience which I found absolutely amazing–people had to see the poster that said an orchestra from Purdue (I am sure most of them hadn’t even heard of Purdue before!), and then they decided to come see us. I think we played very well, and I feel lucky to have such a cool experience.
We walked to a large park called Retiro Park as a group in the morning. This is somewhat similar to Central Park in NYC; I mostly say that because it is a huge park with tons of trees, fountains, greenry, etc, right in the middle of Madrid. We rented row boats (actual row boats, not paddle boats!) which was a blast. You can see me in the obnoxiously bright pink/purple rain jacket. 🙂
Later in the day we went to Plaza Mayor, and were given some time to explore the area. Following, we went to The Prado–a very famous art museum with several classic pieces. After the museum, several of us went to a Flamenco show, which was beautiful and inspiring: the dancing, the singing, and the guitar playing were all incredible. We ended the night with karaoke which was so. much. fun.
High speed train ride to Barcelona–we seriously need to get some fast trains in the US; they are fabulous for traveling. Barcelona is amazing! If you haven’t been there, you have to go check it out. I think it is the most interesting city that I have ever been to. It is a perfect combination of new and old–they kept most of the old buildings in the city, but when they restored them, they would add modern flairs. For example, there was a huge building that used to be a famous site for bull fights. They recently remodeled it and added a lot of colorful tiles, colored windows where there used to be open gaps, and a glass elevator to the top–gorgeous. The rest of the day we spent just exploring the city a little bit.
Thursday morning I was motivated to wake up early and run. We ran along the sea, which obviously I never get to do in Indiana, so I was on cloud 9. 🙂 My watch didn’t find satellites until we had already been running for about 5 minutes, so I think we were probably closer to 3.3 miles or so.
After the run, we had breakfast, and then a large group of us walked back to the beach. We put our feet in the water (brr!), and walked barefoot in the sand–it was nice. Here is a nice picture of all of the girls that were with us.
The rest of Thursday we spent walking through the city and checking things out. We rode a gondola to the top of a mountain, which gave us a perfect view of the city–very neat. At night, a handful of us went out with our orchestra director, and we ended up being out until 5:15 am. 😐 That is the first time in a very long time that I have been out that late, but it was only 12:15 EST, so I’ll just say I was still on Indiana time. 🙂 When I got back to the hotel room, I got some very exciting news–D’s twin sister had just had her baby girl. So sweet!
This morning we went to see La Sagrada Familia, which is a very famous church designed by Gaudi. It was probably my favorite thing that we saw on the entire trip–it is unfinished, but it is already magnificent. The rest of Friday flew by and in the evening we had our second, and final, concert. This was again in a church, and our audience was just as great as in Madrid. It is a great feeling to play a concert and feel like the audience truly appreciates your music.
We woke up early and headed home. It was a day full of travel!
The best way to recap is with this absolutely amazing video that my friend Adam made. He studied abroad in Spain in the summer, and during that time he wrote and recorded the song that is playing in the background; then during this trip he took a bunch of videos and stitched them together to make this masterpiece. 🙂