Greetings from Madrid! I went to the Spanish capital last weekend to take the FSOT at the American Embassy. The embassy in Lisbon wasn’t giving the FSOT during June so I had to book a little flight over to our neighbors and rivals to the East. Madrid is a grand, modern city with an amazing public transport system. It is also flooded with tourists! If you look to the left in the picture above you can see a blue sign that says Hostal Puerta del Sol. That’s where I stayed. It was a pretty central location.
Madrid is a grand city but in my humble opinion it isn’t very picturesque. I kept commenting to myself during my trip about what crappy pictures I was taking. Sorry. Madrid isnt like Lisboa, a city that practically poses for your camera.
I flew into Madrid on a Thursday. I had my FSOT on Friday in the afternoon, so I had an afternoon and an evening to check out the city before my exam. Afterwards, I would stay until Sunday. At this point I was getting a bit hungry so I found the first place selling hamburgers I could find: a nice sports bar.
Ronaldo! Dude gets paid $100 million to kick a ball! I, personally, would NEVER kick a ball for less than $125 million. I’m just saying…anyway I thought it was funny that there were Portuguese football teams and footballers on a wall in Madrid.
I guess the Spanish kings wanted to leave behind monuments so the world would remember them. The current Spanish king will probably be remembered only for his recent hunting trip to Africa while his country is in the midst of an economic crisis. He was shooting elephants for fun while his country is seeking a bailout. Did I also mention he’s the honorary president of the Spanish World Wildlife Federation?
You can rent these paddle boats for a nice little jaunt in the man made lake.
After the park I went back to near the Sol area and wandered around some more. I was getting a little bit hungry so I decided to find some tapas in a typical restaurant.
This place fits the bill!
After tapas and a caña I was feeling a little tired, so I went back to the hotel to take a quick nappy nap.
I woke up some hours later and found that night had fallen on Plaza Puerta del Sol. I was still in the mood to explore so I went out walking towards Calle de las Huertas and I encountered a flash dance mob of sorts.
That night I found a jazz club place with some live music and I thought that it would be a great way to spend my first night in Madrid.
After the jazz club I went back to the hotel and to bed because I had the FSOT the next day. Time for a good night’s sleep.
So, how was the FSOT? Well, due to the non-disclosure agreement I had to sign I can’t tell you what was on the test. I can say that it was long and grueling. There were three sections. One that tested your general knowledge of US history, political system, basic math, and organizational behavior. Another section that asked you about your biographical background, and another section that tested your aptitude with the English language. The final section was a 30 minute timed essay on a broad topic. Let me tell you, 30 minutes is NOT a long time for writing an essay. But, in the end I walked out the FSOT feeling confident and good about myself. Now it’s time to enjoy Madrid and do some partying, bale?
This party was set up in an art gallery/clothing store. They had some pretty cool threads and art hanging from the walls like so.
That one above is my favorite.
Amen to that!
After the free Kraken Rum and music I headed back to the hotel to change and freshen up to go out for the evening. What’s the plan? Why, a pub crawl of course! We met up at the famous bear statue in the Plaza in Sol and then proceeded to hit quite a few bars.
What was cool about the pub crawl was that it was organized by some tourism company in Madrid. As such, they were able to offer our group many shots. Nice. For the record I only had one. Yep!
We went to various other bars but I didn’t manage to get pictures because I was too busy partying. It was a pretty late night and a lot of fun. Hey, I deserve it after so much studying! The next day I went to a food festival near Sol to get some grub.
I’ll take that one. Yes, the one the size of your head. Yep!
Refueled. Onwards! I didn’t even know about Plaza Mayor until I stumbled upon it. It’s pretty big. But I think Praça do Comércio is bigger.
Onward to the Ham Museum. It’s pretty self explanatory.
Not only good ham in Madrid, but good pastries as well!
The one I ate
I also met up with my old high school buddy Gonzalo and he showed me around the city. We went to the Royal Palace.
“Just Married” Bentley that we saw while eating tapas.
And some street performers.
Thanks so much for checking out this rather long post! If you have some comments on Madrid please leave them in the comments. Ate já!