Vacacion from Vacances

As my second month in Grenoble comes to a close, I cannot stop having fun! Grenoble is a city full of students. Making new friends, traveling to exciting new places and learning new things is awesome! Waking up each morning, making myself a cup of tea while still half asleep, and being greeted by “Bonjour comment vas-tu aujourd’hui?” instead of “Hello! How are you?” is still surprising.

This past week was our “winter break,” so we got one week off from classes and studies. I decided to take advantage of the time to travel to Madrid, Spain. Being a massive soccer fan, I scheduled my entire trip around taking in a match between Atelico Madrid and Vilareal (who at the time were numbers three and four in the La Liga table) at the home stadium of “La Furia Roja.”

Palacio Real Image

After purchasing my ticket, booking my hotel and airfare, the trip began to take shape. I mapped out all the tourist activities that I would do over my three days in Spain’s capital. On my father’s recommendation, I made sure to include the Museo Nacional Del Prado. The list grew exponentially, so I decided that using a hop-on hop-off tour bus service would be the best way to go.

Soon I arrived in Madrid and began to explore. At first the city seemed massive, however it soon seemed smaller after I walked, bussed and metroed all around. The city is a spectacular clash of the old and contemporary, with beautiful illuminated water fountains and lush green parks scattered about. After eating plenty of good Spanish food, I decided to go to the movies. “Hail Caesar” was on tap. Fun fact: some movie theaters in Spain have assigned seating. Not knowing this, I was baffled to see people sitting in weird locations in the theater and not in the “prime” movie viewing seats. So I plopped down and got comfortable with my popcorn and soda, and I was soon told that I was sitting in someone’s seat. It took me about 5 minutes in a pitch dark theater to find my appropriate armchair.

Matador Image

The last night of my trip came far too quickly.  Before I knew it, I was excitedly strutting down to the Vicente Calderón Stadium to watch the much anticipated match. The streets were brimming with excited fans dressed in their respective jerseys, scarves and other memorabilia. The stadium soon opened its gates to the hordes of sport-craving fans and soon we were all in our seats watching the players warm up. The atmosphere was wild as the match began: chanting fans, jumping up and down; scarves and flags waving; homemade banners hanging from every open space.  It all created a thick canopy of pride and adrenaline in which even an outsider could get involved in the celebration. The match was a tense 93 minute affair that ultimately ended in a VERY unsatisfying 0-0 fixture. However the experience alone was heart pounding! My vacacion from vacances was another memorable experience.  I cannot wait for my next adventure!!

Andrew is an official API Blogger and is spending his gap year abroad with API in Grenoble, France.

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