Tag Archives: Sol

“De Perdido al Río”

“Vivo en Sol.” The words slip from my slightly chapped lips as I explain to the cab driver how to get home on my last day in Madrid. It’s a natural phrase, uttered without hesitation, reflecting my years of practice and months of living in this city. A recited and practiced line, I guess you could say, but more or less a string of words smushed together haphazardly, indicating that I call this place my home. I live in Sol.

“Derecho en Calle Mayor y para antes la iglesia.”  Sentences begin to flow effortlessly, a sudden click between brain and tongue, a feeling of near fluency. A sense of accomplishment washes over me, but then the sudden realization that I will be on a plane a mere twenty-four hours later brings me down from cloud nine.The ping of my inbox, alerting me to check in to my flight, brings with it a flood of emotions, regrets, memories, question; an almost self-loathing and pity all combined into one.

I watch the minutes tick away, yet I cannot bring myself to terms with leaving this place which had just provided me with a treasure chest full of experiences. Laying in my tiny twin bed for the last time, I set the alarm for 9 AM, early by our Madrid standards. Insomnia strikes again, surely a result of the conflicting emotions pitted in the depths of my stomach, thought I’m sure the cup of green tea an hour earlier wasn’t helping either. I shoot my family a quick “24 hours” text, send a Snapchat to my favorites and browse through the photos on my iPhone one last time before slipping into a light sleep. I wake no less than seven hours later to the blaring of my alarm, but instead of getting up, I silence it and enjoy the fleeting moments in my bed for the last time in our tiny Calle de la Villa apartment.

I rub the sleepies from my eyes, and look up from my bed towards the charcoal painting above my bed for the last time. The portrait of an old man, arms crossed, with a disappointing look strewn across his slightly wrinkled face, almost resembling my gather, looks down upon me and my questionable decisions for the last time. I look to my right and see three bags filled with a semesters’ worth of clothes and souvenirs, sitting neatly ready for their next adventure.I muster all my of my strength and plop myself up and quickly throw on my clothes and hastily pack away the last of my belongings. It plays back in my head; a surreal moment, frozen forever in time.

I creep down the hall into Erin’s room and see her struggling with her overpacked suitcases. I proceed to zip them shut in a “sitting and pulling” fashion, learned from my reign as Packing Princess of the Patten household. The clock hits 9:27 and we wake up our other two roommates to say our final goodbyes. The routine is all too familiar, from weeks of traveling together, yet the baggage, both physical and emotional, is much more to bear. A final group hug, a huddle, if you may, and we drag our belongings up the stairs from Bajo Izquerida for the last time and hail a taxi down.

After squishing into a cab, we wind our way through Sol and head eastward to the airport, past Puerta del sol, through Plaza de la Cibeles, by the Prado, and turn left at the Atocha railway. The cab driver asks us if we’re Americans and he reacts eagerly to ask more about our stay once we’re from Chicago and California. He asks if we mind if he smokes a drag, and though it’d normally bother the hell out of me, the smell and smoke in my face is almost welcome, a subtle reminder of my time in Europe. We continue on, past Plaza de las Ventas and my normally subdued emotions take form as a singular teardrop out of the corner of my left eye. It was beginning to hit me. The only thing holding the flood of tears back was the conversation with the cab driver about the Copa del Rey final the night before.

We struggle through the airport, it feels as if our feet our chained together, the city unwilling to let us out of her grip. Erin and I part ways, and promise to meet up after security, and sure enough, we do. My luck of running into people still proving to be as relentless as ever. What seems like an hour later, we are saying goodbye for real this time. She goes through yet another security check point and disappears into the growing crowd beyond the fence. I find my place among the remaining empty seats at gate U60, and find myself thinking of the number of people who have sat in that exact seat after a semester abroad.

I flash back to reality when fellow NYU students sit next to me, all hungover, clearly already missing our new city, regretting getting drunk the night before an 11 hour flight. I guess they really did grow accustomed to this Madrileño lifestyle. Twenty minutes later, I’m sitting in seat 27H, next to one of my teammate’s freshman year roommates – as a matter of fact, the same one who comforted my sobbing self when I missed my flight home on my official visit, three years prior. This world really is getting smaller. We break into conversation, reminiscing of our days abroad, her adventures in Italy, and mine in Spain. The familiar pang of nervousness washes over me as the captain announces we are delayed because we cannot take off in tail winds.

My basic flight training flashes before my eyes, and I reason it is because our 767 is way too heavy to do so. My intuition is rewarded when thirty minutes later, the captain explains that cargo is going to be taken off to lighten the load. An hour and a half late, we’re finally in the air – my true home away from home. I double-check my ticket from DFW to SAN and realize my original two-hour layover is compromised. Instead of my normally fretting and stressing, I repeat my favorite spanish phrase, “De perdido al río,” over and over in my head (translated meaning, “from lost to the river”). I accept the fact that I might not make it home tonight. I figure, a typical megventure is not complete without a missed flight, so I just go with it. That’s what the phrase essentially means, so…

de perdido al río


Chocolatería de San Gínes

Europe knows chocolate: chocolate and wine, chocolate and fruit, and our new found obsession – chocolate and churros. One of Spain’s most famous desserts, these fried dough pastries and thick chocolate drink are perfect for any occasion.

Interestingly enough, Spaniards order this insanely delicious combination at any time of the day – including breakfast. Yes, chocolate for breakfast – count me in! The most famous chocolatería and where we are the most famous per se, is Chocolatería de San Gínes, a mere three minute walk from the Sol Metro, right between Calle Arenal and Calle Mayor. To say that we are regulars here would be quite the understatement, but somehow we still don’t seem to care that they know us so well.

San Gínes, as we affectionately call it, is easily one of the most touristy places in all of Madrid, but that doesn’t stop us from indulging in our favorite late night treat. Open 24 hours a day (dangerous, I know), this chocolate and churro hang out is the place to go if you want a taste of Spanish culture. Though most people order the typical chocolate con churros, I definitely recommend Porras, which are thicker versions of churros. They have a very simple menu – churros, chocolate, tea, café, and ice cream, but I would recommend staying with the original masterpiece.


Why Yes I Do Go to School

¡Hola Amigos!

I hope your day is going as awesome as mine. I’m currently finishing up my last class of the day, Blogging Spain. Yes, I know that it does not sound like a real class, but I promise you that it’s actually pretty hard and not just about blogging about my experience in Spain (though that’d be a pretty awesome class). I’ve received a lot of feedback and questions (mostly from my parents and their friends) about going to school, so I felt it was appropriate to finally describe a normal day in the life of Meg in Madrid.

Our cute little yellow school house

Our cute little yellow school house

Mondays and Wednesdays I usually wake up around 9:30 and am out the door by 10 to get to my 11AM class. On Tuesday and Thursdays I’m up around 7:45 for my 9:30 class – honestly it’s nothing compared to my NY sleeping schedule. My only complaint thus far about living in Sol would have to be the long commute to school – 10 minute walk to the Sol Metro, 2 trains, and a 10-15 minute walk from Santiago Bernabeu to our Calle Segre campus takes about an hour total depending on if the trains are on time or not.

I was incredibly lucky that I got my first pick with classes and scheduled everything back to back so I wouldn’t have to wait around campus for awkward periods of time. On M/W I have ‘Cultural History of Spain’ and ‘Blogging Spain’ and on T/TH I am enrolled in ‘Critical Approaches’ and ‘Spanish for Commerce’. Though I cannot say I’m completely infatuated with my classes as I was with my Sports Management classes in NY, I am enjoying the selection (even if they are completely in Spanish and I’m lost in translation about 70% of the time).

Check Out the beautiful moon

Check Out the beautiful moon

After class for two and a half hours a day, I head back to our apartment in Sol, grab some food, sit down on our lovely couches (pictures coming soon) and pretend to do homework. I usually proceed to get cabin fever and head out for a run.

Sidetracking a bit, but tonight I went for one of the most amazing runs of my life – though it was a brisk 42 degrees, it felt like it was a cool and comfortable 65. I found my heart rate monitor and watch, ran for a good 45 minutes down around Puerta del Sol, up Gran Vía towards school. I began around 9 PM, just when the moon balanced perfectly between the buildings and sat in the mystic midnight black sky. I desperately wish I had ran back and grabbed my camera but my legs and body were exhausted from a long day and I plopped back down on the couch – I know my iPhone won’t do any justice to the beauty in the Madrid sky.

Another beautiful run

Another beautiful run

Since settling into our apartment, the four of us have been trying to cook more at home, so around 8-9 we usually grab dinner and try and start back on our homework. This past week our meals consisted of a lot of pasta, bread and cheese (channeling our inner European goddesses) but today we swore to go the grocery store and get some chicken and healthier food for this upcoming week.

The End of Gran Vía

The End of Gran Vía

After a few hours comprised of a healthy dose of Facebook and homework, I jump into the shower and try to get to bed by a reasonable hour.

Hope that provided a comprehensive overview of a day in the life, until next time!IMG_7223


Una Semana Sin Escribiendo

Seven days without writing, makes one weak. That much is true for me. First let me begin by apologizing profusely but not posting more sense I’ve been here. Though in my head it seems as if I have tons of free time everyday to go about my life, to write, and explore, the minutes easily turn into hours which slip into days which  transform into a week and I find myself at a complete loss for time. I guess the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” really is true.

My first week in Madrid was definitely one to remember (if only I could remember it all). Each morning was not only a struggle to get out of our beds, but a struggle to find our place in Madrid, our little blip on the map in a city of millions. Each day was an adventure, a new set of challenges faced us and we conquered them (ever so majestically, might I add). Orientation at school began on Monday and consisted of crash courses in Spanish slang and Spanish cultural history, along with  visits to Segovia, the Reina Sofia Museum, walking tours of Sol, a scavenger hunt and a ton of information to get us back on nuestros pies (our feet). I promise to have a blog to recap everything but in the mean time, I think it’d be appropriate to introduce my roommates because you’ll be hearing about them many times throughout the blog, they are absolutely amazing and you probably, most likely, definitely should meet them!

Los Chuptios

Los Chuptios

Jess: This chica (whom I share a room with) hails from the city of Chicago (the actual city) and is never without a smile. She seems to be my partner in crime everywhere we go and we constantly find ourselves being asked “How long have you known each other?” We immediately begin to laugh it off, knowing that the answer is of no importance to our friendship. Jess loves chocolate con churros (like duh!) and we have recently discovered baguettes, strawberry marmalade and cured cheese as our favorite post school snack. She enjoys taking pictures but much to the rest of our apartment’s disappointment, she does not like posting on Facebook (I promise this will be changing sooner than later).IMG_6699

Alina: Also known as #twitterlessalinah in my tweets about los chupitos (our nickname), this girl is la reina (the queen) when going out at night. She may be the last to get ready when we head to school, but without fail Alinah is always dazzling. She’s from Nueva York (NY) and has the style and outgoing personality to match. I know I can always count on her to have a fun time and to quote pretty much anything ranging from our favorite songs,  “The time I studied abroad” tumblr, and “Midd Kids”. Between Jess, Alinah and I we all tend to be bad influences on each other when it comes to food (shown by her love for Pizza, what New Yorker doesn’t?)  but as the Spaniards say “de perdido al río” (from lost to the river – we don’t know what it means either!)IMG_6729

Erin: Another native from Illinois, Erin is from the suburbs of Chicago. She is always prepared and has been to Spain before so she helped us along the first few days with some of the customs we weren’t used to. We’re in 3 of 4 classes together, but I promise her Spanish is much much better than mine and she’s always helping me to with my tarea (homework)! We have bonded over our love of traveling and have found ourselves in deep conversations over coffee back home in the city (She’d never heard of NoHo Deli!) Even when we are “de perdido al río” she’s always smiling and looking on the bright side of things!IMG_6821

These chupitos continue to make me laugh on a daily basis and I can’t wait to update you on our latest adventures and mistrials.

¡’sta luego!


I Made It

Estoy aquí! I arrived in one piece, barely awake, but nonetheless extremely excited to go out and conquer Madrid. In typical Megventure fashion, our plane arrived an hour late which set us back a few hours for everything else I did that day. After taking a shuttle to Terminal 1 to meet NYU, a large group of us boarded a coach bus headed into Sol where we then proceeded to catch a taxi to our apartments. I’m living with three other girls from NYU and absolutely love the place. It was definitely nerve racking signing a lease in a foreign language, but after going over it lentamente (slowly) in Spanish with our lovely landlady, Patricia Mateo, everything was smooth sailing from there.



After unpacking we explored around Sol (the city center and where we live), and found La Puerta del SolLa Plaza Mayor and a cute little café where we nibbled on some Café con leche y croissants (Coffee and Croissants). We then took to the metro and embarked on a NYU walking tour to smooth over the jetlag (which is thankfully currently nonexistent).  Much to my amazement, the metro system in Spain is incredibly efficient, easy to navigate and super clean. We took la línea amarilla (Yellow Line) to Argüilles from Sol and walked down Calle Princesa to the Templo Debod which is a marvelous Egyptian Water Temple given to the Spaniards in 1968. After getting a panoramic view of West Madrid from the end of the Templo, a group of us living in Sol trekked back to our apartments but not before walking past the marvelous and extremely beautiful Palacio Real, the residence of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. For being a pretty spread out, non-English speaking city, Madrid is extremely easy to navigate – on maps everything seems miles away but in reality, everything is really close to each other.




El Palacio Real

Later that evening the girls and some guys from Amherst decided to go out and see Sol some more, which turned out to be a complete fail, not because it was a Sunday night, but because it was too cold for Madrileños. This city just gets me, its unbelievable: not going out because its too cold, siestas, wine all day, tapas instead of full meals, and the laid back attitude of la gente (the people). It’s an absolute sueño (dream) to live here and I can already tell that I will not want to leave (lo siento Mom and Dad).


The following morning (Monday) we all had orientation at the NYU Madrid campus which is located off the Santiago Bernábeu (aka the Real Madrid Stadium) metro stop. I myself was incredibly happy when I found out that we get to pass it every morning, but I guess thats just the inner soccer fanatic within. Although the commute is rather long – a little less than an hour – I’m so glad we live in Sol because it’s really the center of it all for us. Orientation is similar to welcome week: you meet a bunch of people, go out, forget names, take placement tests, sit through lectures on being safe, etc. It’s very relaxed and a great setting to meet a ton of people.IMG_6672

After orientation, NYU sponsored a Paella lunch at cool restaurant called Muuuu north of school. Los Díos! The paella was absolutely amazing. I was apprehensive at first to try it because I didn’t know what was in it, but it was so good. Words don’t even begin to describe it. Though the paella was apparently the best in the city, I cannot wait to travel to the coast and try paella in Barçelona because I heard it is unreal there.IMG_6675

That night, a group of us decided to head out to Sol again, except this time it was a lot more fun! We wound up at a lovely tapas bar that is very popular with both Americans and Madrileños – El Tigre. They provide drinks and numerous tapas for only 6 Euros. Trying the tapas brought me back to my “Fear Factor Days” of living in Japan because we didn’t know what was on any of the plates, nor could the server, Alberto, explain to us what they were.  I still probably couldn’t explain to you what they were, but my favorites were the pan y jamón and las patatas (bread and ham, and potatoes). The jamón is very different here, but is absolutely one of a kind. There are Museo’s de Jamón in almost every barrio (neighborhood), and the Spaniards are very proud of it.  I don’t quite understand, but I’ll take it.

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Following El Tigre, we headed out again to this place called Joy Eslava located in Sol. It was great place to dance, the weird thing was that it was completely empty until about 3 or 4 in the morning. Madrileños have an extremely warped sense of time that will definitely take some time getting used to, but as a night owl I’m sure I’ll really love it.

That’s all for now, off to day two of Orientation. Hasta Luego!