On Thursday I headed over to Nervión, a residential neighborhood in Sevilla to have lunch at my friend Fran's house. It was Sahar, Christine, Adam, and Fran and we all had a blast just hanging out, eating good food, and speaking Spanish. As much as Mom doesn't believe me, I really have started to eat different foods while I have been here. That being said, I can't wait to get home to a good home-cooked meal, and to start controlling what I eat again. Last summer I started using an online tool called calorie counter, where I was able to monitor my caloric intake online and get weekly analyses of my nutrition. Since I have been here I haven't been able to do that because I have no control over what I am going to eat on a daily basis or how often I eat.
The spanish have a different idea of food, and its basically that they don't believe in this new age theory of 5-6 small meals per day. Each day I have either a piece of toast for breakfast or a half tomato and cheese sandwich (from the café next to CIEE), and a large lunch. Sometimes the lunch has a protein aspect, but almost always it has a huge carbohydrate aspect. A typical lunch would be chicken and rice (always cooked with as much oil as could be possible) then a small salad and a piece of fruit for desert. Doesn't sound so bad right? My señora goes out for dinner every night so each night she leaves me either a pizza-bread sort of thing, a pizza, an empanada, or a spanish tortilla (egg and potato omelette). CARBS. It makes me never want to eat pizza again. I guess its good I have to walk 1.5 miles to class everyday. Geez. Anyway, I can't wait to start eating grilled vegetables, healthy stirfry and best of all lean meats.
Friday started off as any normal travel day - bright and early. I left my house at 6:15 to meet up with Sahar so that we could catch the bus to the train station. Our train was leaving Sevilla at 7:45 so we had to make sure we'd have enough time to get there. Once on the train I was quickly able to fall asleep and enjoy the perks of riding a train that travels at 186 miles per hour - it was soo smooth! I guess I have only ever really ridden the NJ transit train into NYC and let me tell you that train is anything but smooth. Anyway, we arrived in Madrid around 10:30am and took the metro to our hostel. Our hostel was right in the middle of Madrid just a few minutes from Puerta de Sol, the huge plaza in the center of the city. It was also next to Gran Via, on of the main roads that runs through.
After we dropped our bags off in our room, we all met up outside the hostel to head towards the Universitaria de Deportes. Its basically partly a university and partly an olympic training center. We were able to tour the whole center, and even meet a few future olympic athletes! They live there, train there, and go to classes. There is a part of the complex that houses the high school aged athletes so that they can train full time! I know well enough the commitment that comes with playing sports at a very high level as a teenager, but I for me it burnt me out, so its hard to imagine doing what they do! I suppose I never burnt out of riding though, and it is my passion, so who knows if maybe things would have been different if that had been the sport I pushed myself in.
Anyway, after the tour was over we headed back to the city center and had a break to go get lunch. Sahar, Kelsey M and I found a Pans & Company (a chain restaurant that makes hot sandwiches) and went in to order lunch. As we stood in line I went to pull my wallet out of my purse (which I had been careful with up to that point), and I discovered that my wallet was gone. At first I couldn't believe it, and thought that maybe I had left it in our hostel room, but a thorough search proved that I was in fact pick-pocketed. I lost 100 euro and my debit card, but I'm thankful that my camera and iPhone were left behind. After all money is just that, money. There are a lot more important things out there, and in the grand scheme of things what does it really matter. All I can hope for is karma to return to the thief what he or she deserves, whatever that may be.
After lunch we jumped back on the metro and headed to the Real Madrid stadium for our tour. Although we didn't get to meet any of the players (including the beautiful Ronaldo), we were able to see many of the trophies they have won, learn some of the history of the organization, and even sit in the seats on their bench. All in all it was pretty cool to be standing on the field of one of the best soccer teams out there, and definitely the best team in Spain.
The day before we had left for Madrid one of the girls in the group researched the movie theaters in the city that played movies in their original language. After finding it she invited Sahar and I to go and see Harry Potter, since it would be the first day that the movie was playing. We bought tickets online ahead of time and then went and found the theater so we could watch a fantastic movie. It was amazing! If anyone hasn't seen it yet, get to it!
On Saturday we toured the Botanical Gardens and then had a tour of Madrid. We were able to learn more about its history and all that. Needless to say, I like Sevilla better. After lunch we met up with my friend Jenny from Elon. She is an AXiD that graduated last year, and now she is living and working in Madrid. She has an internship with a travel agency, and is teaching english on the side to make spending money. Jealous! After lunch we went to el museo de Reina Sofia (the museum of Queen Sofia) and we were able to see a lot of Picasso's work, including the famous Geurnica, which was incredible. In my classes we have been reading and learning a lot about the Spanish civil war, and the post war years, and this painting has so much symbolism embedded in every inch of it. It is an incredible feeling to be able to stand in front of a piece of artwork like that and just be able to take it in. We were also able to check out a lot of Salvador Dali's work, who is another famous Spanish painter. Very cool!
On Sunday we went to a flea market, and I was able to start getting some gift for people. Get excited everyone!
On another note, today I purchased P90X, a workout program designed to keep your body from plateauing during a 13 week program of 6 day a week workouts. That combined with eating right is just what I need, and what better time to start than the new year. This blog in 2011 will follow my adventures with P90X, the schooling and hopeful sale of the yellow pony, and my search for my very own horse. I'm looking forward to some exciting adventures in 2011!