Last week I found I had to go to Madrid on Friday to fill out paper work for my residency thingy. I had an appointment to be in Madrid by 10 and it was unchangeable. Luckily for me there was a 6:30 am bus leaving Tomelloso. Because I didn’t feel like coming back to Tomelloso the same day, I asked a friend of my from home who is now teaching English in Madrid if I could spend the night at his place. I figured it would be nice to hang out with a familiar face and with some English speakers. Anyway, the bus station is about a 25 min walk from my apartment, but one of the teachers, Mercedez was nice enough to offer me a ride.
Woke up at 5:45, left my place at 6:10 and boarded the bus at 6:30. Normally, the ride takes 2hrs15min but we hit traffic so it ended up taking more like 3. When I arrived, I took the metro to where I needed to go, filled out the paperwork I needed to and was finished by about 10:45. They also told me that I have to return to Madrid in 3 weeks to pick up whatever it is I need to and that It cannot be mailed to me.
After that I decided to go to a part of Madrid called la Latina that I hadn’t been to yet. La latina is the oldest part of Madrid consisting of narrow streets and large squares(plazas). It also happens to be the place where my friend lived, but I didn’t know that at the time. While in la Latina, I visited the basilica San Francisco el Grande.
The basilica has one of the largest domes in Europe. Inside it is truly breathtaking. The whole church is elaborately decorated with paintings and walls lined with different colored marble. The whole dome is covered in fresco paintings illustrating biblical scenes. I can’t imagine the time and hours it took to paint it. The walls are also lined with statues depicting apostles. There are six or seven relatively small chapels surrounding the main room. Each chapel is also elaborately decorated with murals on every side.
There was a 2 euro entrance fee, but there was also a guided tour. The tour was in Spanish. but the man actually spoke pretty clear and relative slow so I was able to understand most of what he was saying. He not only explained the significance of each side chapel, but he also took us through the rooms behind the church. The tour finished around 1. After I had lunch and then met up with my friend. We went back to his apartment, I took a nap and then we got ready for the night. He had plans to go to dinner with teachers from his previous year and he invited me along. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was a great meal. At the beginning it was pretty awkward because they were all catching up since they haven’t seen each other in a while and talked about school stuff pertaining to their school, which I of course was unable to contribute to. We finished dinner pretty late and didn’t make it back to the apartment until about 1:30. Good thing it’s not that late for Spain. We got some drinks and prepared for the night. First, we went to this bar that had 10 euro cover, about a 45 minute wait to get in and it wasn’t even good. It was mostly dudes and they played a really weird mixture of American music. After some time we bounced out of that place and went to a club called Joy. I have been there before and had a great time and this time it again did not disappoint. I again had a great time. It’s a old theater converted into a club, so it’s an awesome mixture of old and new. We returned back to his place around 6. I woke up at 2 and had no time to do anything other than get dressed because I wanted to catch the 3 o’clock bus back to Tomelloso. I arrived to the station with 5 min to spare.
I arrived in Tomelloso around 5:15, made it back to my apartment at 5:45 and didn’t really do anything for 3.5 hours. However, one of the teachers at the school (Mercedez) invited me to go to a poetry thing that started at 9. I accepted because why not, I wasn’t doing anything and I thought it could be cool to experience, and it was. It was held in a very hipster bar. Something I didn’t expect Tomelloso to have. There were five poets that read. Even though I didn’t understand most of what they were saying, it was cool to try to figure it out. After the poetry reading we went to another bar because there was a band called Mambo Jambo playing. Mercedez had her friends get us tickets. It started around 11:30 and it was amazing. The bar is small so it was very intimate. The band plays music that’s like the instrumental music of the 40s, 50s and 70s with a modern feel to it. It’s the type of music you can’t stop moving to, like shout by the Isley brothers, except with no vocals. The band consisted of a phenomenal saxophonist, an incredible bassist on a cello, a fantastic drummer and an amazing guitarist. They were absolutely incredible and the place was oozing with energy. There wasn’t a person in there without a smile. Look them up on youtube, Mambo Jambo. After the show ended we went to a bar down the street to have some more drinks. Mercedez left because she had a baptism to go to in the morning. After that bar we went to another bar where we stayed out till about 5:30. It was a great time with amazing people. So far the people here have been so friendly. Oh, I also found out that there are two American girls that are here for three months in other school, so it would be cool if I could meet up with them.