20090929

Travel schedule.

Today was a lazy day. Actually I stayed all day in bed - except for that little shopping something in order to fill the refridgerator. But I had to recover my energy, as I will go to Segovia tomorrow. I am really curious about it, because so many guys already told me, that it's supposed a beautiful city. So I'll go there tomorrow with two other german girls. But before, I'll go out tonight with the ERASMUS Students. Having a Coke and some Tapas and that's it. But I am sure, it will be a fun evening though.

And to complete me travel schedule, I am happy to say, that I booked a flight to Barcelona in October. So I will go there for 4 days to visit a friend of mine, who is studying there as well for the upcoming months. As we could fix a date to meet each other in our hometown, now we could find a date in Spain. I am so looking forward to see her after such a long time again and of course I am curious to be in Barcelona again. Maybe even the weather is fine, so that I can spend some hours at the beach. This would be awesome.

Furthermore I already received some bookings for the next months. I am really excited about it, to see some german friends around here and to show them around, showing the places I recently got to know and all that stuff. This will be great. I am sure. So - who's next? :-)

20090928

English doesn't exist.

At least I have the impression, that English seems to be from another planet for most of the spanish inhabitants. There are just a few guys in the streets, that are able to speak a little English. The ones, that are able, speak a very spanish English. For example, the prof of a certain subject in University: although he has been in UK for 15 years, he is not able to pronounce the words correctly. In fact, he is able to speak fluently, but every single word sounds spanish. This is really funny.

But on the other side, it's not really surprising, as they translate almost everything into spanish. Whereas in Germany we keep phrases like New York, Big Apple, Mickey Mouse, Hot Dog or Big Brother, here everything is translated as follows: Nueva York, Gran Manzana, Ratón Mickey, Perrito Caliente or Gran Hermano. This is really weird. But fun though.

But I like the language and the way they are communicating. Above all I like the belittlement of "-ito/-ita", which is used quite often. So a small car isn't called "coche" but "cochecito", a little house is not a "casa" but a "casita" and so on. This is also used for little books, pieces of queese, animales, .. everything. It's lovely.

I hope, I will get used to all this lovely expressions in the upcoming months. I am really looking forward to it. And I will keep my ears open for some more weird, but lovely expressions of my beloved spanish friends. :-)

20090927

Week III - Flashback.

It's crazy, how fast time passes by. Week III is almost gone. Accordingly, this means I am here for more than three weeks now. I hardly can believe it. I do not want to list everything I did. Just mention some highlights of the week:
  • Monday: very delicious vegetarian dinner consisting of soup, main course, dessert
  • Tuesday: Tapas-highlight: Croquetas, Salmorejo con Jamon, Pastel de Pollo
  • Wednesday: met another girl from my hometown (!) to went out in La Latina
  • Thursday: first little shopping tour, enjoyed my first Napolitana de Crema, chilled "siesta-evening", went out with friends
  • Friday: birthday party of Ele, my personal assistant
  • Saturday: another delicious experience: Leche Merengada, Horchata con Fartons
  • Sunday: journey to Toledo
As you might have seen, it's all about eating and food. This is really great here in Spain. Food is not just eating in order to get rid of hunger. Better said it's a whole culture of its own. It takes its time and it is worth it. Furthermore, it creates a totally close atmosphere and establishes a feeling of community, as everybody is eating from every plate on the table. In most cases, food seems not to be very sane, but it's delicious. At least what I have eaten so far. :-) And this is just a little piece of the spanish kitchen, as it seems to me. I am curious to find out more about it.

Another highlight of the week was definitely the birthday party of Ele. It was the first time after my arrival in Madrid, that we saw each other again - including all of her friends. We started the whole evening with a "Botellón". This means meeting your friends outside, celebrating and of course having some drinks. This is a bit difficult, because actually it is not allowed in Spain. So you have to be careful with drinking in the streets and above all with celebrating birthday with a bunch of more or less drunken spanish guys. :-) But we were lucky and nobody disturbed our little party. As it was very cold at the end, we decided to go to a club to keep on celebrating her birthday. As my jacket didn't fit to the dresscode, I changed the jacket with a sweater of Pablo (friend of Ele) and it wasn't a problem to enter. Weird world, but this is how we know it.
I was also happily suprised, to get to know three guys during the evening, that were able to speak German. So there was no need for me to feel completely lost within the crowd of crazy spanish speaking people. But it was quite good and I got to know some more words. It's all about learning the real spanish language. :-) The party then lasted until the early morning hours and I was at home at about 6:45h. As this was my first night in Madrid, I was really wondering how crowded the Metro is at that point of time. All the creatures of the night are on their way back home, heading over to have their first café of the day or the other ones, that are just on their way to go to work.

The party crowd of THAT night.

Furthermore I want to dedicate some more words to the trip to Toledo which took place just as of today. Toledo is about 45 Minutes by car from Madrid. I was lucky to join some friends to go there, so I didn't have to take the train. We met each other this morning at 10:00h, so we could start our Toledo-tour at about 10:50h. Just like all the other tourists, we walked up- and down-hill through the narrow streets of Toledo, watching all the old buildings and taking loads of pictures. Toledo seems to be an old city, that is just waiting on its little hill for all the tourists. There seems to be nothing else, but old building, souvenir-shops, restaurantes and all the other stuff, that attracts tourists. But nevertheless, it is surely worth a trip. You'll see the pictures and know what I am talking about.

20090920

Weekend Flashback | 1st day at University.

This weekend was kind of cool. It already started on Thursday evening, as I decided not to go University on Friday. hehe. So I went out with some german ERASMUS students to a party, especially for ERASMUS. But unfortunately the prices weren't student-friendly, the music was aweful and the people just sitting there. So, this was not our place to be and we changed the location. At least, we wanted to. But as I saw the queue in front of the club, I didn't feel like waiting for hours and I went home.

On Friday I did another Tour through Madrid, watching some more tourist attractions and Stuff and had a real good time. In the afternoon hours, I met a friend from Madrid and we found out, that I already know "every single" touristic place. So we just walked around and enjoyed some drinks here and there. In the evening hours, I was out for a little bar-hopping session. Checked out various places in Chueca, but honestly I just liked one more or less. hehe.

Saturday was a pretty chilled day, which I spent almost the whole day in bed. I really enjoyed just doing nothing. Also I had to get prepared for the "Noche en blanco". But if I knew, that it would not be anything special, I would probably not have been sooo lazy all day long. This night was pretty and funny with the people I was out, but it did not meet my expectations. There were just sooo many people walking through the city center watching the beautiful buildings. Main feature of that night actually were museums for free, different stages within the city, various artists presenting their arts (painting, dancing, ...). But as there were so many people, the queues in front of every "highlight" were too long to be worth waiting for. So I just took a loads of pictures, but in the end it was a fun night as well.

On Sunday I kept on doing some cultural experiences - thanks to a good guide. I saw some exhibitions about photography and modern art at one place and great architectural models at another one. At night I walked around the city again, searching some places to have Tapas. But here it's very common, that the bars are closed on Sunday. Just the tourist places in the city core were open. But we didn't feel like paying loads of money for semi-well-prepared food. At the end, we ended up in my neighborhood. It wasn't very cheap as well, but okay. But you have to face, that Madrid is an expensive place to be. Food - even in supermarkets - is quite expensive and also all drugstore's articles are hardly affordable, as you won't find some shops like dm or Rossmann here.

Today I had the my first day at university - at least I were there. hehe. I was waiting the whole morning in front of the "International Relations"-office just to get an answer, I knew already before. So I went on checking out my schedule, but I wasn't successful. Neither I could find the course nor the right class room. So I decided quickly to change it and to join some other ERASMUS students, but we weren't more successful. The teacher didn't come, so after 1 hour of not knowing what to do, waiting, hoping and laughing, we finally went home. I think, this was the best decision of the day.

Puerta de Sol [Madrid]

20090917

Week II - almost over.

It's Thursday again and another week already almost passed. Time goes by so fast, it's unbelievable. Some more days are gone and I got to know some new people, places and the change of the spanish weather. Whereas it was so damn hot last week, now there are not more than 17°C and rain from time to time. But according to the forecasts, the weather will improve at the weekend, so I can be optimistic. :-)

On Tuesday I met my tutor again and I went out with her and a friend of hers to have Tapas. The two girls spend their Erasmus time in Poland and told me what can be expected from the upcoming months. I got a nice impression - again. So I am very optimistic, that this is going to be the time of my life. As another Erasmus friend of theirs arrived, it was quite hard to follow the conversation, but at least I got the sense of it.

Concerning the university there are not many news available. I already had two little tests, where we had to show our level of spanish. We will see, how good or bad I am. Although on Monday my regular courses will start, I still don't know, which courses I will have to attend. This is really crazy and really non-german. But good to know, that I am in Spain.

Tonight I will meet Wiebke (a german student from Wiesbaden) and then we will join the Erasmus party, that every Thursday takes place. It's the first time for us, so we will see, what will happen there. But I am sure, it will be fun though.

On the following pictures you can see my road at night and my way up to the 4th floor, where I live.



20090914

This is my room. | PART II

To be more precise, it's not my room but the rest of the flat. Just a little update with some more pics for the moment.

Some additional information: this little roomie annoys me with his friend every single morning, when they start chirping as soon as there is some light in the flat. :-/

First "guided" city tour.

Unfortunately, this weekend is already over and in just a few hours I will be sitting in my intensive spanish course again. This weekend turned out to be a very cool one in that sense of matter, that it confirmed my choice to come to Madrid. The city is just beautiful and the guys - both from Erasmus as well as from Madrid itself - are really cool.

So I spent two nights out with the students in one of the various bars in Madrid. Although the weather turned a little worse, it's still ways better than it might be in Germany right now. :-P Today, I had my first "organized" walk through the city. I felt like a tourist, but... honestly speaking, I am a tourist at that moment of time. So, who cares. I saw lots of new and already known places, took some photos and drank a very refreshing crushed-ice-lemon-something, which name I already forgot. Stupid me, but surely it wasn't the last time, I bought this. Furthermore, I would like to mention, that it's totally crucial to get one of this delicious McFlurry with OREO, if you come to Spain once. I've never had something more amazing to eat than that - okay. This might be a little bit exaggerated, but you got the message, right?

Furthermore some of the Tapas-food also turned out to be very delicious. In detail I am thinking of Croquetas, fried potatoes with eggs and some vegetables, calamares, ... I have to stop now, otherwise I am getting really hungry right now.

20090912

Good to be here. | PART II

I forgot one important thing. I do not want to say, it was the best thing today, but definitely one that has to be mentioned as well!

When I stepped out of the Metro after my short city tour, there was kind of a demonstration in the Calle de Atocha. I didn't really get it, why they were demonstrating. But I guess the wanted to open the society's eyes for disabled people, because there were many people in wheelchairs and stuff.

Besides the group of disabled people, there was a group of musicians with percussions and the made great beats just with their percussions anc clocks. The ones, that know me, also know that I totally go for that kind of music. And to see, how everybody was dancing in the streets, this was so cool. And a very sympathic way to demonstrate. Without speakers or being so serious as I knew it from Germany.

Good to be here.

This was the first Saturday, I was able to do what I want without any responsibilities. I got up very late and had a slow start into the day. After a short conversation with my roomie while I was having "breakfast", I jumped into the Metro and I tried to experience the City a little bit. So I drove to the city centre and walked through all the little streets with all these little shops and big buildings.

Finally, I decided to go to the Royal Palace. This is really an amazing building. Unfortunately I did not take my camera with me. So I am just able to post a picture taken from the WWW. When I arrived in front of the Palace, I really enjoyed the atmosphere around. I sat down on the stairs and was just watching the people. It felt so good to see all the tourists and even the spanish inhabitants over there, while listening to the music of the musicians on the street. It was such an amazing atmosphere! I could have sat there for hours.

The spanish guys seem to be vey self-confident, happy, easy going and chilled guys, that really take care of each other, although it sometimes might seem that they are "rude". But this is just part of their culture, as it seems to me. I could really fall in love with this whole attitude I think. It's not that strict and conservative over here, as it is in Germany and from time to time, this would also be good in Germany I think.

So. These were enough lovely words for now, hehe.

Palacio Real in Madrid

Already one week passed by.

While I was walking to the night buses, I just realised, that already one week is gone, since I've come to Madrid. This is so crazy. Within just one week, I got to know so many new people, I found a flat, I got the first impressions of the spanish way of life (and talk) and many things more.

Now, just arrived from having some drinks with my new "Erasmus friends", I am sitting in my bed and I definitely can say, that is was the right choice to spend this semester abroad. To be more precise: to spend it in Spain.

20090911

This is my room.

After some days of silence, now I am able to update you guys once again. In the meantime I checked out at the hostel and moved into my shared flat for the next months.

The last days in the hostel really turned out as very uncomfortable. If you share a room with three other guys, it is not possible to sleep very well. At the end, there was a young french guy, that went out all night long. On the other hand, there was an Australien guy, who was in a desperate need of sleep after hours and hours of travelling. But due to the various time zones, he could not fell asleep and was moving all the time. The third one, let me call him the "drunken Japanese" fell asleep only 2 seconds after his last words at about 20:00h. There, he didn't feel like sleeping at 4:30h, switched on the lights (!!) and was searching for something. Arrrrgh! But okay...

In the evening, I took a taxi to the new flat and carried all my heavy luggage into the 4th floor. I just felt like I am going to die. But as I found out today, there is no need to do any sports for me, because I live in the 4th floor without a elevator and the next big supermarket on the one hand is just about 500m away, but down the hill. Uff. ;-) My roomie seems to be a very cool guy from Columbia. The flat is located near the City Center and the area is.. I wouldn't say, it's quite nice, but it's okay and compared to the other ones I've seen, it's the best! On that picture you can see, how it looks like.

The entrance of my house is just next to the guys with the orange shirt. And here you can see my little room. I think, here must be about 33°C. So it's really hot in here and I am wondering, how I should fall asleep at night. But before, I will go out and meet the other erasmus students, as I didn't go out yesterday with them. I was too tired to get my ass over there to have this party.

Well then. I think, this should be it for the moment. I hope you are fine as well. Keep in touch.

20090908

All bad things come to an end.

OMG, I am so happy and relieved right now. After several days and many walks through the city and even more rides with the Metro, I finally found an appartement or to be exact: a room. Today, I have been successful with the 4th trial. The room is very close to the city center and if I compare this room with all the other ones I've seen, it's the best at all. I DO have a window, a normal door and even some space for a wardrobe and a little table. So this is even more than I expected.

The spanish course seems to work out well and now I can also start to concentrate more on all the other Erasmus students, as I do not need to search for flats anymore. There were some very nice French guys in my group, besides some italians, a few participants from other countries like portugal and suize and approximately 50% germans. :-/

I think, I spent most of my money for phone calls. As I used a flatrate while I was in Germany, I totally forgot, how expensive these prepaid cards were. This is really weird, but I shouldn't complain. :-)

Today, for the first time, it was a bit "colder" and we had just 27°C and it was a little bit windy, which made me feel more comfortable here. But it's so cool, just to wear shorts and shirts all day long without any doubts, if this could be to cold. It's quite the difference, if it was possible, I would rather wear swimwear. LOL

What can I tell you about the guys...? I think, there is a wide range for every taste. The style of the girls and boys differs from very alternative to elegant, sexy, lady-/gentleman-like,... I think almost every kind of style is represented. But those of you, who will come and visit, will be able to see everything by their own eyes. ;)

I think, I will go to bed soon. Tomorrow another day in the spanish course is about to take my full concentration in order to speak some words in a full sentence. hehe. But in private life, it somehow works more or less in a good way. So... I am very optimistic. :-)

20090907

So many german Erasmus.

Surprise, surprise. The Wifi is working again and everybody is so happy about it and sitting next to me chatting, skyping and looking for flats. Just like me. It's really a very tough task to find a room here. Although there are plenty of rooms available, it is very hard. You can hardly find a room that meets your expectations and believe me: my expectations were very low now. But I'll keep on searching.

Today I had my first day at the university and I met all the other Erasmus students. From time to time I felt as if I were in Germany. There were so many germans around, it's unbelievable. But, of course, there are many other nations as well. From France to Italy, from Poland to Estovia and I don't know where they were from. It was just a short introduction of the Erasmus Team and what will happen in the future. For example, there will be a journey to Granada in October or onther one to Barcelona in December. Furthermore we had to do a little conversation with the teachers so that they were able to find out, how good (or bad) we are in concerns of speaking german. I think it was okay and I will be somewhere in the upper middle level. But I have to look after my name tomorrow on the list. And then this will be my first spanish lesson on site. But I had to talk a lot in spanish already, as there are just a very few guys able to speak english. But I think, I've said this before.

My English feels like shit right now, so I better stop at this point and go to bed soon.

20090906

Day 1 and 2.

After mz first short night in the hostel, I wanted to look after a shared flat. Therefore I wanted to check the internet to find some new and cool flats. But the big problem is, that the Wifi is not working since yesterday morning and the most annoying thing is, that nobody takes care of this problem in the hostel. So there are just 5 old computers available for the whole hostel. As here are so many people looking for flats, you surely can imagine, that it is almost impossible to find a free computer to look for a flat. The other thing is, that so manz guys are searching for accomodation, that the offer in Madrid is very limited. So, up to now, I do not have any good information concerning "my" flat. I already went to a shared flat of 3 spanish people, but I think it might be to expensive. On Monday evening I will meet another guy to see his flat. If this was be okay, I would take it, so that this topic can be bookmarked as DONE.

As there was no internet available, I walked around a little bit in order to get to know Madrid. I walked through Chueca, crossed Gran Via, la Puerta del Sol and went back on Calle de Fuencarral. I got to see so many beautiful buildings. Very old, but rebuild and just wonderful.

The weather is very hot. Although there are just 30-33 degrees, it is quite hot. I jumped from shadow to shadow, but this even didn't help me that much. All shops and the metro are cold, because of the air conditioner. But it feels good from time to time, to refresh a little bit. I am just afraid of getting sick because of it, but I am optimistic, that this won't happen. :-)

In the evening hours, I met my tutor for the first time: Klaudia. We went out with two spanish friends of her and some other germans also joined us. It was quite relaxing, to hear some german words and to be able to get to know something in my native language. Although I understand more than I expected at first, it is very hard. The guys are talking really fast and as soon as there is some background noise, it is even more difficult to understand them. But it works out somehow and I am trying to talk to them in spanish as well, as most of the guys weren't able to speak english. But as I will be forced to speak, i could not have anz better practice and this is what I wanted at first. :-)

Honestly, I had some conversations totally in spanish and it worked somehow. Using signs, arms and feet, but it worked. hehe. I also bought a spanish mobile phone. It was quite cheap, but I am not that sure, if I got every information, that young lady gave to me. But I will ask my "spanish consultants" afterwards, what's going on.

Tonight I will meet Klaudia again with another Erasmus student from Poland, that just arrived this evening. Maybe afterwards, I will meet another guy, that wanted to show me around a bit. But maybe it will get to late, as tomorrow will be my first day in the university.

I think, that should be it for me moment. I just can say, that I am feeling really good here. The spanish guys around are really nice and outgoing. This helps me a lot to feel comfortable here.

20090905

First impressions.

The world is small - often heard and more often approved. Even before I arrived in Madrid, I got to know a young lady, who was going to visit a friend in Madrid. In the course of our conversation, it came out, that she will be visiting a girl from my hometown, that is currently attending an internship in Madrid. So we met each other on the airport and it was quite fun, as we knew each other.

Elena, my personal assistant, did a great job. She picked me up at the airport with a german flag (even if it was hidden in her bag, it was nice though) and then we drove to the hostel. I'll never say again, women can't park - she did a great job with putting her car into one of the smallest parking lots i've ever seen. It seems, as if it not a good idea to bring your car to Madrid, because there won't be any parking lots. hehe

As already promised to some of you, I had my first Coke besides my first real Tapas after I checked in to the hostel. And it was so delicious. Nam nam. Afterwards we went out to meet some (or even all?) friends of Ele in a real cool bar. The were very open minded and so lovely, so I really felt comfortable with all these Teresas, Patis, Pablos, Jorges, Joses etc. ...

At 3 o'clock I had to leave the group, although they were continuing having party. But I was to tired and I wanted to go back to my nerds in the hostel room. But it came out, that the nerds weren't that nerdy as thought at first.

Now, I had my first breakfast and I will see, what I can do in concerns of finding a room for the upcoming months.

I'll keep you updated.

20090904

Taking last steps.

Today is the day of my departure for Madrid. There are just a few little things left, which have to be done: getting all the stuff packed and trying to close the suitcases (will be a hard task), saying GOODBYE to the family and the last thing might be saying or rather thinking "Tschüss Deutschland, hola Espana.".

It's kind of a weird feeling, because the last 2-3 weeks were full of farewells. This already started in Munich, where I was lucky to get to know so many nice people during the last six months. They really became very important for me and it was really a tough task knowing, that we won't see each other for a while. So I really hope, your promises will get real and we will see each other in Madrid as soons as this is possible.

After the arrival at my parents, the whole process started from the beginning again, as there are great guys in my hometown area as well. So I tried to see as many friends as possible, but of course, it's not possible to see all them. So... For all the guys, we couldn't fix a date, maybe we are more lucky finding a date for Madrid? You never know. Keep watching out for cheap flights and let me know, if we find a way to see each other over there. Feel welcomed. :-)

Just one last thing: as there might be some guys reading this blog, who are not aware of the german language, I decided to start writing in English for the next upcoming months. I hope this fits you well and everything becomes clear though. But I am optimistic.

Having said this, it's now time for me to take the last steps here and get active. I will get back to you, as soon as there is something to say. And I am sure, there will be something worth it already after the first hours in Madrid. But I have to find the time for blogging as well. :-)