Note to self: During the Festival of San Isidro, avoid ANYTHING to do with San Isidro.
When we woke up today there was only one thing on my mind: fútbol. At 10, members of our ward and group met at the church to play, and despite all the extremely fancy footwork, ball hogging, and lack of confidence in the female variety of players, it was a pretty fun time. Oh, and funny story, the world is small when you're Mormon, and it turns out one of the elders we played with was in my freshman ward first semester. Too bad I don't even remember his name! Anyways,what made it even better was the fact that the SUN decided to make it's debut, so I was very happy with that.
After fútbol we went home for a little and ate lunch. Today it was "pudding", but not exactly the chocolate kind. Pili made this green bean, onion, potato (maybe?), carrot, leek, egg concoction in a breadpan for lunch, along with some type of fish, which I ate as best as I could. Meh, it was alright. One little cultural observation I have is that Spaniards only like 4 things on their food: olive oil, vinegar, salt, and mayonnaise. I can handle all of them but the mayo. The way my family eats it with everything and then licks the spoon makes me feel a little queasy! How I long for some bbq sauce or just a huge slab of peanut butter on everything!
After lunch it was off to Madrid to navigate San Isidro, which is a huge festival in Madrid celebrated on May 15th every year honoring the city's patron saint. We didn't go on any group trips this weekend because our professor wanted us to stay and experience this holiday I liked to compare to Spain's version of Pioneer Day, but with much more booze, smoke, and people.
Oh the people.
As the night progressed, the streets got PACKED. I've never seen so many people at one time... and this picture accurately captures my emotions as we were packed in like sardines.
Just imagine they were a 360 pan across the street of Gran Via, which is closed off for the holiday, and covered with blue carpet.
I had never seen so many people trying to move through those streets in my life. Seas of people slowly meandered through the streets as we unpatiently tried to find our way through the crowds and find other members of our group. To make a long story short on this one, we gave up on looking, took refuge in a metrostation for about 45 minutes waiting for them to find us, they never did, and we gave up.
San Isidro is crazy and I never want to be there on May 15th again! This would have been the perfect weekend to go lay on the beaches of Valencia, but alas, we had to stay and take part in Madrid culture. In fact, our parents even offered to take us there one weekend because they have family with a house pretty close to the coast. Too bad we've got trips already planned for every weekend with the group! When looking at the schedule, Fransisco informed us that we'd just be seeing a lot of "piedra"... which basically means lots of our visits will be full of history and rocks, and not much beach. :( Anyways, I digress. After waiting and waiting for the group that never came, we decided to get on the metro back to Sol to find food, and things got much better.
Finally, I got my vegetarian food.
For dinner, Natalie, Janessa, and I went to Maoz (pronounced mouth I think) to get pitas stuffed with falafel, lettuce, chickpeas, onions, salsa, califlower, and topped with tahini and olive oil. They were delicous. Ahhh I have missed my vegetarian food!! I will definitely be returning, and even my nonvegetarian friends liked the food!
After eating we met up with some friends and headed down to El Parque De Retiro, figuring that if there were THAT many people in downtown Madrid, there should be less in the park. We were so right! It was so nice to just be able to walk and talk without having a trillion people right up next to you. I thorougly enjoyed our time in Retiro. On this pond you can rent boats to sail around in during the week... I will definitely be returning for that!
After wandering around the park, we stumbled upon a "Fiesta Del Fútbol", and to tell yo the truth, I don't really know what it was all about, but we found the trophy they give to the winners of the fútbol championship every year, and we got to take a sweet picture with it.Random? Yes.
After all this fun we headed to get a little food, and then it was back to the train for us! We had quite the enjoyable trainr ide home talking to various drunken, glasssey eyed Spaniards, and I am beginning to learn why we aren't supposed to be alone at night... It was a funny experience!
Well, tomorrow it is off to church, then maybe back to the park to get homework done. Buenas noches