Sometimes the best weekends are ones where everything goes not as planned!
On Friday, Kaja and I planned on spending the night going to bars and clubs in Madrid, to experience the night life. After hanging with the kids all day, I went to Kaja's and, since Madrid night life doesn't start until very late, we just chilled around. Kaja's housekeeper, Gaby, offered to teach us to make Tortilla de Patatas, which is SO yummy. It's like an omelet with onions and potatoes, cooked up in a huge amount of oil... good times. It also is a really really traditional Spanish food that you will eat in any Spanish household... basically if you are a housekeeper/ maid/ helper it is a requirement that you can make it.
So we helped her make it and it was really fun because we learned some about Gaby, who I find fascinating. She is originally from Albania, I think, and she moved here two years ago, knowing zero spanish. I think her life is pretty sad, from what I've picked up she has a husband that she hates and who doesn't work, meaning Gaby works all day with two jobs and no rest. She gets paid like, nothing, to clean Kaja's house every day, take care of the kids when Kaja is off work, and do anything else that Kaja's parents want, like cook. She comes from a first job, eats food on the bus ride to Kaja's around 1:30, and then doesn't rest or eat again until 8:30ish when she takes another bus home. Wow. She is really really thin (probably from the no eating) and has the worst teeth I think I've ever seen (really huge gums, Kaja think's they are fake teeth) and she looks like she is in her 40's but Kaja says that she is in her 20's!!!
Anyways, we talked to Gaby in Spanish while we learned. Unfortunately, I think that the cooking oil gave me a really bad headache. She also barely cooked the eggs, which I think contributed to the result of the evening.
Kaja and I got all primped up to go to Madrid. We put on nice clothing, did our hair, and put on lots of fun makeup (but not too much haha). We got on the Bus (now that I have the Abono, I really love riding the bus and metro because I never have to pay again!!!). The bus ride was fine, even though I still had my headache, but once we got to the metro things started going downhill...
The metro is on strike so only 50% of the trains are running. This means you have to wait a long time to get on a train and when you do it is PACKED! I started feeling really hot and icky, maybe because of the heat, the claustrophobia, or, most likely, from eating the undercooked eggs. I had a really bad stomach ache and felt like I was going to be sick!
Kaja Appreciation part... Kaja was so amazing! I felt so terrible because I just felt really really sick, but I totally ruined our night! Instead of dancing up a storm we turned around on the metro and then waited for over an hour for the night bus to take us home. Kaja was with me the whole way, comforting me, getting me a bottle of water, distracting me from my nausea so I didn't vom, and making me not feel guilty for messing up the night! When we got home I went right to bed and slept for 11 hours, and in the morning I felt better!!
The plan for Saturday was to go to the Mercedillo, which is like a flea market. But it closes at 2, and since Kaja and I slept in/ didn't move fast in the morning, we kinda missed our opportunity to go there! Instead we decided to do some shopping in madrid! We went to Calle Serrano, which is like the Michigan Avenue of Madrid in terms of shopping. It was so much fun, although we didn't have much time. I got a cute shirt/ dress thing and a book to read. We didn't have much time though because both of us had to babysit for our families that night. Before we left though we grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at Maoz.
Maoz is like, the most delicious thing everrrr. Its vegetarian falafel, which I never would have thought to get, but a while ago I was with Kaja when she got one and it looked so good that this time I had to get one! The falafel is fresh and yummy and there is a huge buffet of things you can put on it! I got mine with this yummy stir-fried onion stuff and some fried cauliflower. It was delicious.
Babysitting for Rafa and Carmen was OK. It was fun to hang out with them, but they really do not listen to what I say so getting them to do anything is always a fight... It was a fight to get them into their pajamas, a fight to get Rafita to stop his video games, a fight to get Carmen to brush her teeth, and worst of all, a huge fight to get them to go to sleep!!! (Although that might just be every night... as I write this I can hear Rafa Sr trying to get them to go to sleep... and it's nearly midnight!!) Finally, after splitting them up and rubbing Carmen's back for about 20 minutes, I got them to bed before 11, which actually is pretty decent haha!
Then I hung out eating popcorn and watching Kill Bill in Spanish, which was pretty rad.
The next day's plan was to go to Segovia for the day! Of course, in true Kaja and Julia fashion, we didn't get to the train station in time to get the tickets to the early train, and we could have taken a later train but we would have only had three hours in Segovia. SO instead we decided to take advantage of a full day in Madrid with zero time limits!! It was actually SO much fun... I am really glad that Segovia didn't work out because we had never really done a whole lot of tourism in Madrid until today!
We hopped back on the metro and first went to the Jardines del Palacio Real. They were kinda cool, pretty, a good amount of Peacocks, but nothing that amazing. Still a nice walk!
Then we walked around the Garden to the Muralla Arabe, which is a cool Arab garden/ wall place. We continued to the Cathedral of Madrid, which was a really cool and more modern Cathedral. Lastly, we went to the Palacio Real which was a very royal and decked out palace. It totally looked the most palace-y of all the palaces that I've seen since being in Europe (Versailles still wins in terms of Palace-y gardens, but the interior of this one was better). The ceilings were high and every surface and nook and cranny was so luxurious and golden and just really really cool. Every room had a different vibe and theme. I really liked this palace!
Next Kaja and I went searching for a lunch place! We found a perfect little place, Gino's, where we got some nice pizza and, of course, Sangria! We toasted to the 4th of July!
I just want to take a moment to say that I really love America. I feel so blessed to be from the USA and I am proud to be an American... I think that being out of the country has increased my patriotism significantly!!
Anyyyyways, after our lunch we went SHOPPING CRAZY!! We went in to so many stores... I can't even recall half of them! I got a shirt, some cool earrings, and some souvenirs. I also got the book, Where's Spot, for Carmen and Rafa because the books that I brought from home for them to read are really too difficult for them. This book has more pictures, bigger words, and I think will be more helpful to them than the more advanced books! Plus they can keep it! Yayyy.
After the tons of shopping, Kaja and I got some Ben and Jerrys then headed home! I got back and ate some food while watching a movie with Rafa Sr. and Maica! That's it for the weekend! And it's late, I should get to bed oy!
xoxoxo and Happy 4th, independence rocks.
P.S. I am putting a bunch of photos on facebook from today's adventures! SO GLAD I FINALLY HAVE A CAMERA!!
p.p.s. A little more Kaja appreciation... I love how even though the weekend didn't go at all how we had planned, (and they rarely do) Kaja and I just rolled with the punches and had so much fun! We just take advantage of everything that happens to us and live spontaneously! Its such a good time and I couldn't ask for a better Spain travel partner!