What a glorious last day in Madrid! I went to El Rastro in the morning, had lunch in Plaza Mayor, then spent the rest of the day in the Retiro where me and my wonderful friends went row boating (is that the proper verb? Or is it rowed boats?).

Time to get cheesy. These past few months have been absolutely life changing and eye opening. I had the fortune of immersing myself in a different culture in a beautiful city. I found that Madrid is so unique for a European city because, while there are a few sightseeing attractions, it is about the experience, not the historical sights. Madrid is about the food, the night life, the people, the art, and ‘sabor de vida.’ Nothing is better than spending a sunny day at my happy place: in the Retiro.

I will truly miss so many aspects of my time here. In the future, I will be able to return to Madrid and even live here if I wanted to, but I won’t be living with my generous señora, taking classes with amazing professors, and making memories with the craziest group of study abroad students ever assembled.

Hasta luego

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I have assembled a list (in chronological order) of Patricia quotations.

[Context: Patricia was my AMAZING art history professor who is about five feet tall, about 90 lbs., and exploding with life. She has an incredible passion for what she teaches and words her lectures colorfully.]

"She's eh-scared! eh-What you say to me? I am eh-pregnant of God?!"

"Oh, I am so fer-tile."

[At the start of our second class about the Renaissance] “We were drinking together the Reen-ah-since cocktail?”

“El Greco is….heavy metal. But he come later.”

"He see the block and say, 'David!' and he make it."

"Como la canción, 'It's raining mens. Oh my God!'"

“Venice is eh-special; really different, they are living on the water, that gives to them eh-special things: humidity.”

“The one who don’t believe in Bac-oos (Bacchus) have a lot of problems. Have no lucky, for example.”

"Woman is waking up, 'Hmm, what a nice party! Hello!'"

"Una fiesta de bebes."

“Tienes un problema, Houston.”

"All the mommys in front of this say, 'Oh this is my Georgio. Oh, my Georgio is not a bad boy.'" "'Hmm, give me some coins.' He have the bright eyes."

[On the close relationship between Felipe IV and Velazquez] “Felipe on his computer, ‘Hey Velazquez, what are you up to?’ ‘Painting your daughter, what are you doing?’ ‘Oh, a war with England.'”

"This man is saying to her, 'Do you want to come home with me tonight....... baby?'"

"Rococo is, 'Oh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.'"

"'Do not touch me, I am not alive.' But Mary Magdalene want to touch him. But he say, 'No, no, no, no, do not touch me.' Look at him here, 'Do not touch me.'"

"Super photo-shop."

“He have no afraid.”

"Do you want to see Pepita?"

"Dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked. Like the pens, click, click, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked, dress-ed, naked."

[On Goya having French friends] “He was accused of ‘Frenchship.'”

"He is making a big vomit over the wall."

“Ok, I end here. Yay, we are the winners!”

Los Toros

May 2, 2010

I cannot believe I am about to write this, but I think I am a fan of bullfighting! I would want to see at least one more bullfight to confirm whether or not I am a true aficionada, but I went to a bullfight yesterday with my classmates and I was impressed.

There are six rounds of bullfighting, each round has specific stages until the bull is finally killed. The first matador in yesterday’s match was not that good, even though he was the most senior of all the matadors. It was brutal and bloody, and I thought I might have to leave early. Fortunately, the fighter after him was superior and killed the bull nearly instantly. The third was alright, and then there was a sort of brief intermission and we interrogated Ramon on everything we had just seen. The bullfight then continued and the fourth one was fine, but then came the fifth fighter.

The fifth matador of the day started just as well as the rest of them had. Some of the bulls had been better than others, but his was alright. This man had the best showmanship of all the fighters, and began to do some really impressive passes with the bull. The whole time he was slightly better than the rest, but when the time came to kill the bull, he proved he was the best.

For a matador to kill a bull, he must get it squarely in front of him, aim, charge at him, and plunge the sword into a very small, exact spot on the back of the bull’s neck. Most of the matadors struggled with this yesterday, and had to make several attempts to kill the bull. The fifth matador, however, literally risked his life to have a perfect kill. When he got the bull squarely in front of him, he charged at the bull with such speed, he launched his body at the bull’s head, and the bull tossed him in the air! When he landed on the ground, the bull tried to gore him, but started to get weak and ended up stumbling over him, stepping on the matador a few times. As soon as the bull was no longer on top of him, the matador sprang up and started yelling in the bull’s face, commanding it to die! The bull dropped dead right then, it was incredible. It was such an amazing kill, the matador was awarded with an ear, which is a big deal. Ramon said he had never seen anything like it!

The bullfighter then walked around the stadium and Ramon said to us, “Now you can throw things at him, anything you want! Telephone numbers, addresses!” People threw in their hats and cardigans, but none of us threw anything.

The final bullfighter was a huge letdown after that performance. One thing that was interesting about the final fight was nearly as soon as the bull entered the ring, the crowd demanded a new one because his hind legs were weak or something. But even though the bull was not replaced, it was striking that everyone knew right away that the bull was just ok.

After the fight, Ramon took us to a bar for a beer. At the bar, he ordered a plate of bull intenstine lining for us to try, and it was actually pretty tasty. At the bar, Ramon’s old friend Stephen Drake-Jones found us. He was slightly intoxicated and told us some great stories from their younger years.