|Sammy Whooshing in Madrid|
In Madrid I'm afraid I have been guilty of what I've been told is an entirely American habit of smiling too much. But it is simply unavoidable for me. The weather is lovely, not unlike April or May in Texas, right on the edge of Spring, and bleeding into summer. What heat there is, is dry heat. The museums are plentiful with generous servings of free hours. In the whole month I was there I paid for entrance to a museum only one time. Complutense's program is challenging, but the teachers are wonderful, and the campus is beautiful. In fact it is pictured above. I would advise dropping down if you think the level you are in is too high. It is probably the one thing I regret not doing, however you do learn even quicker at such a challenging level. And it is easy to study in Madrid, there are so many beautiful, peaceful parks, that sitting down in the middle of the day with a grammar book is almost fun. And if you stay in a hostel, you'll have plenty of chances to practice the language; I can't tell you the number of Argentinians I met. Being in a hostel you also get the opportunity to hear many different kinds of Spanish. With my fascination with accents, this was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Perhaps the most fun thing about Madrid is it feels lived in. There are many European cities, where it is hard to imagine people taking up permanent residence in them. But Madrid has a certain homey, welcoming quality to it, along with all the culture that comes from being a big city. Madrid is not a place I am clamoring to get back to, but it is also a place that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would especially recommend Madrid if you are on a particularly long trip. The laid back atmosphere provides a much needed break from the hustle and bustle that characterizes so many other cities. Also, the tapas are delicious.