These past two weekends have been awesome. I traveled with friends to different parts of Spain by train, which is great because its very cheap and I get to see many different parts of the Country.
Two weekends ago Marzia and I went to Ávila, a small city about 2 hours away by train. Its famous for its walls, and they very nice walls. We didn't really have a plan about what we were going to do, we didn't even know where to go when we left the train station! But we figured out how to get to the old part of the city and walked around all day. It was a beautiful fall day, and we had a great time. We had lunch at a little restaurant right outside the walls, and finished the day with more walking around and a little shopping. Ávila is very touristy, but because it is not tourist season, there were not any crowds which was good, but a lot of stores closed early. We decided to go back to the train station early to see if we could change our tickets to an earlier train and luckily there was a train leaving in 20 minutes that we were able to change out tickets to - for free!
That was on Saturday, on Sunday Marzia and I had made plans to meet up with a friend, Isabelle, in Madrid for lunch. After lunch we decided to go to the FREE Katy Perry concert. The MTV European awards were here so Linkin Park and Katy Perry both held free concerts in the city. The concert was great fun but I was really missing my American sized personal space bubble. I also figured out that I am claustrophobic. Not fun to figure out when you are in the middle of thousands of people all pushing you to get closer to the stage. But once I got over that, it was great. After Katy Perry we left the concert to go to a bar to watch Real Madrid play. The game was against Athlético Madrid which is great because both teams are from Madrid!
The rest of this week was not very eventful. Classes are getting a lot harder, and I now actually have homework and exams to study for...but I am also getting a lot better at Spanish. I have even made some more friends, now I just don't even know how to balance my time! :) I have also been trying to get my iphone to work since I got here. I kept going into the local cell phone store trying to figure out how to get it to work here, but because they don't speak any English, and I didn't know how to ask all the questions I needed to know about the prices it was very difficult. I finally had the genius idea to take the SIM card from the cell phone I have and put it into my iphone. (I know, it took me 2 months to even come up with that idea...but that is not the point) The next task was the take the SIM card out of my iphone - not as easy as it sounds. After bending a bobby pin, breaking my tweezers, and watching every video on youtube about "how easy it is to remove the SIM card from the iphone" I finally got it out. Then, after about 45 minutes of trying to get the SIM card unlocked in my iphone, I figured out that it just won't work here. (I bet if I had an iphone 4 it would work...) The next best thing that happened to me during the week, happened while I was eating breakfast and watching TV. Spanish TV is...strange, they watch a lot of trashy talk shows and reality TV. The commercials are just as bad. However, one did catch my eye. As I was eating my corn flakes, as I do EVERY morning, I saw an infomercial for an HP computer. They always have free gifts and Spain is no exception. In fact here it comes with 2 free gifts! The first is a stylish laptop carrying case. The second is a leg of ham. Yes, an entire freaking LEG of ham!!! I will order one just so I get the ham.
On Saturday, Marzia, Isabelle and I went to Cuenca. It is another small city about 3 hours from Madrid. Cuenca is famous for its hanging houses, which are very old houses, literally built into the side of a cliff... It was a beautiful small city and we had a great time walking around and soaking up some sun.
It was a really fun day, and I know that it was because I came out of it with a poop story. Some of you may think that is really gross, and yes it was disgusting, but think about it - whenever you have a poop story, its always funny! If you do not like laughing, then just skip to the next paragraph. On our way home we all had to pee, but we were very close to the train station in Madrid so decided to wait and go in the station. When we asked where the bathrooms were they said that there were none, but that all the trains have them. We had to wait about 10 minutes for the next train to arrive and when it did we got on by the bathrooms. Our nostrils were immediately filled with the most horrible stench ever. I decided that I didn't have to pee bad enough to go into the bathroom but Marzia did. She went in and as I am standing there holding her bag, gagging, I look around and everyone on the train has their scarves pulled up around their noses in disgust. I go and sit down with Isabelle and we are laughing at everyone and gagging at the same time. Marzia can't figure out how to close the bathroom door, and normally I would help her but I couldn't get any closer to the source of the smell. Eventually she gave up and came out of the bathroom to sit with us. We decided that we had to move to another part of the train to get away from the smell, but had to walk by the bathroom to get there. We all prepared to make the journey past the stench and made our way to the front of the train. At this point I am hysterical from the whole situation, with everyone on the train gagging, and Marzia not being able to shut the door, that I am almost peeing my pants (not good for someone who has had to pee for the past 45 minutes). So we find three seat together towards the front of the train and as we are about to sit a man yells and tells us not to sit there. We look around and there is a pile of puke on the floor. So we move to another set of seats only to discover there is what appears to be a huge pile of poop on the floor. At this point I can hardly contain my laughter, just trying not to die from disgust, and laughing at everyone else who is freaking out. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am glad that it was only a 10 minute train ride.
That is all I have for now, hopefully I will have some other good stories for you all from this week! :)