While there have been some tough aspects of adjusting to life abroad in Madrid, I’ve already had some amazing experiences in my three short weeks here. I have met some awesome people and have seen some awesome sights, all while attending college classes!
It has been a lot of fun getting to know all the other students in the IES Abroad Engineering program, as well as in the LAS program. People who started out as acquaintances-by-necessity have become my friends through our experiences together. I’ve been doing a lot of hanging-out and exploring with my “neighbors”–Steven, Daniel, and Robert–from the beginning of my time in Madrid. We all live in the same general area near the Menendez Pelayo Metro Stop, so naturally we’ve gone on many adventures already. These include explorations of the city of Madrid as well as other cities during IES Abroad trips. During IES Abroad trips throughout Spain, I’ve bonded with many other members of the program as we’ve played games of soccer in the mountains in Posada de Valdeón, shared meals in Segovia and León, and gone to the beach in Llanes. I’ve also met other great students–both American and Spanish–in my classes at Universidad Carlos III.
All of the cities I’ve been to with the program during organized trips have been absolutely amazing. Segovia, a city only an hour and a half away to the north Madrid, is rich with history, great food, and beautiful buildings. It was the first city we visited outside of Madrid, and our trip together was my second time there. Our excellent tour guide Mario, however, opened my eyes to so many new things that it felt like my first time. We took tours of the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz as well as the famous Alcazar de Segovia. We also walked the fantastic old streets and took pictures at the incredible Roman Aqueduct. To finish off that day, the entire group enjoyed a massive meal at the nearby El Rancho de la Aldeguela. There I had some of the best roast chicken in my entire life. Viva pollo asado!
This past weekend we took an even longer three-day trip to the Autonomous Communities (provinces) of León and Asturias. This trip was truly unforgettable because the scenenry was unbelievebly beautiful. After stopping off in the city of León for a brief tour, we stayed at a hostel in the small mountain village of Posada de Valdeón. There we played a game of soccer in a small schoolyard in the shadow of the mountains. Many of the locals came out to watch us play, and it was a ton of fun. Later that evening, we had another huge, great meal prepared by the señoras at the hostel. The next morning, the entire group went on a long, scenic hike through the mountains, guided by Mario. Even though I am still sore from it, that hike was the best ever.
We hopped back on the bus and took the lengthy trip on the narrow mountain highways to the city of Llanes. It was truly one of the best cites that I have ever been to. It had everything from beaches, to Roman ruins, to amazing food! The water at the beach of Llanes was clear and blue, and the city itself was just perfect (I am running out of adjectives!) with it’s ancient buildings and port. The IES Abroad guides took us out for some cider before we went off on our own for dinner, where I had some delicious white beans and clams (fabes con almejas) as well as a glass of red wine.
These experiences have really made me glad to be studying in Madrid. There is just so much history, so many cool people, and so so much good food here and all over Spain. Can’t wait for more!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Nick Taglianetti. I am from Philadelphia, and I study computer engineering at Hofstra University in New York. Anything related to music, computers, traveling, soccer or deep frying, I'm your guy! I love learning about and sharing experiences of new places and cultures. Follow me for an intriguing insight.</span></p>