“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.” ~Author Unknown
“Visits always give pleasure – if not the arrival, the departure.” ~Portuguese Proverb
Looking back on this year, one of the great things about this year was all of the visitors who came to Madrid and spent time with me – I had a great cast of characters come through my door and we did a bunch of fun things together. Here are some of the highlights (in order of their arrival):
AK and Andrea. AK is one of my oldest friends from high school, and he and his girlfriend Andrea came to Madrid during my first week in the city! We explored Sol, Retiro Park, the Reina Sofia museum, and hit up Tapas 44 on more than one occasion. We even dragged AK out to Star Studio and Joy nightclub. They were the perfect first guests, and helped make my transition to Madrid easier.
Brian. Brian stopped by in mid-October during a solo Spain trip – he was college roommates with one of my best friends, Matt, at UCLA. Brian was basically the standard by which all future guests were judged: we went to a bullfight, raged Brian hard at Kapital, fist-pumped at a Spanish house party and made incessant references to the best show ever (Jersey Shore), and stopped by El Tigre. So fun.
Meg. Meg is one of my friends from my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega at UC Berkeley, and she was a victim of the zillions of cancelled flights out of Heathrow before Christmas. After a few days in the airport in London, she got her flights re-arranged and popped through Madrid for a night on her way home to Phoenix. We didn’t do any Madrid sight-seeing, but it was so nice seeing a familiar face during the holidays.
My Mom. My mom visited for 2 weeks in the beginning of January. We experienced New Years Eve in Sol (where we were both almost stampeded to death and where I almost choked on 12 grapes), spent time at Madrid’s Retiro Park, 100 Montaditos, and eating at any ethnic restaurant we could find, as well as trips to Bilbao and San Sebastian and Granada, Spain! I had a great time with my mom on our trips, and you can read her guest posts here. It’s like she’s a professional at this writing thing, or something.
Lily. Lily is another one of my close friends from AXO and we were lucky enough to see each other twice this year – once on the first day of her study abroad experience, upon arrival in Madrid. We went to 100 Montaditos (claro), got her a sweet Orange cell phone, and worked on her jet-lag. On the last day of her study abroad program in Barcelona, we celebrated my favorite holiday, Dia de Sant Jordi, sipped sangria port-side, went to Bo d B (amazing sandwiches), and raged at Opium. It was so great seeing Lily in Madrid, and even better seeing her in her element in BCN.
Devan, Hannah, Emily, and Allyson. In mid-March, a bunch of my AXO friends (sisters?) stopped by Madrid during their times abroad. Devan was in Lyon, France working as a language assistant, and college juniors Hannah, Emily, and Allyson were studying abroad (in London, Leeds, and Madrid, respectively). It was fun re-connecting and goofing off with them – we got sangria, braved the rain, got churros con chocolate, and relived a college classic of getting morning bagels and coffee.
Tara and Amy. In March, the barrage of sorority guests continued. Tara stopped by for a night before heading to Amsterdam during her senior year spring break, and Amy spent a long weekend in Madrid on break from her studies at Oxford and explored the Prado, got some Thai food, got into a slight girl fight with an angry South American woman at a club we went to, and headed to Toledo while I was at work! Amy was also a huge sounding board for me in making my law school decision, so thanks 🙂 (Tara: HUGE fail – there is not a single picture of us together in Madrid that I can find. Sad).
Hannes. Hannes joined my high school senior year and ran cross-country with me, and then we also went to college together and continued our runs through the Berkeley hills (and Berkeley ghetto). Hannes came for the Madrid Half Marathon and clocked in an impressive 1:37 on the course. Hannes, who is German, had been living in Hamburg working for a surgeon. Don’t worry, we are planning on running a 10k on the 4th of July together – and by together I mean not really at all. We also gorged on Chinese food, made race play lists, and enjoyed Madrid’s Retiro park on a sunny day.
Krisse. My friend Krisse, another Cal AXO, came to Spain during her spring break (she spent the last year as a 2nd grade teacher in Los Angeles and will be embarking on the law school journey with me this fall!). We did all of the Madrid tourist sights, as well as Mallorca and my personal fav, Barcelona! Highlights included sangria and walks by the palace, dinner at La Rita in Barcelona, and partying with strangers in Mallorca. Also worth noting: this was Krisse’s first trip outside the US, and it was so fun to experience that with her!
Bryan. My buddy Bryan did a solo Euro-trip after winding up his 2L year at UCLA Law. Before he jetted off to Dublin and Prague, we spent 3 nights in Ibiza. Before he took off for the states – we hung out in Madrid and got some food and hit up a few bars in the center and in La Latina on a Sunday. I’ve known Bryan since the early elementary school years!
Michelle. Michelle, another AXO, and I studied abroad together in BCN and she popped in on her way to a family baptism in Prague. We ate as much manchego chesese and patatas bravas as possible, spent a little time at Pacha Madrid, and shopped.
Uncle Casey and Aunt Melinda. My last visitors were my Uncle Casey and Aunt Melinda (my Dad’s brother and his wife). My uncle came for a few days for a getaway, and we got tapas, Indian food, and American burgers, went on the Teleférico, saw Midnight in Paris, and walked around a ton. Then, a few days later, my Aunt met up with us and we explored the Palace and 100 Montaditos. After my Uncle jetted back to SFO, my aunt and I spent two days in Barcelona together which was super enjoyable.
I had a ton of guests this year so my apologies if I accidentally left anyone out, and thank you so much to everyone who made the trek over, you all definitely added a ton of memories to my year in Madrid!
For those of you who’ve been to Madrid, what’s your favorite thing about it?