Vamos a Valencia

So after Toledo, we had one last night in Madrid.  Much of the group went out, but I was still exhausted and there was no way I could do another crazy noche. Entonces, I went to bed early and got up with Katherine and David to go to mass at the  cathedral behind the Palacio Real. Correction, we attempted to go to mass.

We got up at 6:30 and Madrid was still rocking from the night before, and when I was ready to leave at 7, there was silence.  There is a very brief 30 minute period between the revelry from the night before and the commute the next morning.  It was beautiful to walk around the city while the sun rose and the city started to stir.  Of course, whilst admiring, we became quite lost.  We thought mass started at 8:30, and if that was the case, we would just have to be a little late.  En realidad, we got there at around 9, but mass did not start until noon.  Unfortunately, we had to leave Madrid at noon.  We also wanted to see Guernica at El Museo Renia Sofia and thought on our way maybe we could catch a mass.  One would think that in the most Catholic country in Europe, that would be possible on the Lord’s Day.  Well you would be wrong.  We did not make a mass, but we did get to marvel a Guernica (for free!) when the museum opened at 10:30.  It was marvelous to see the HUGE painting and also its progression from sketch to masterpiece.  I adore paintings that fill up a room. They possess this gravitas that few other forms of art rival.  I wish I had more time at Renia Sofia.  It has a little bit more modern art and I really love Picasso.  I also really enjoyed how they displayed the art work. Simple white walls and few pieces.  The painting felt like they had been picked out especially for this room next to this other painting, but the paintings never ran together. They each had their own space and story.

At noon, we all piled onto the (much smaller) bus, and made our way to Valencia! Mostly I slept, but occasionally I would wake up to see a beautiful olive grove or an incredible lagoon.  It baffles me that there is such natural beauty in the world just waiting calmly to be appreciated. After about 5 hours we rolled into Valencia to unload and get into the Rector Peset.  There was a welcoming committee (sort of) of Spanish students that were clapping as we walked through to get to the elevator.  It might have been welcoming, but frankly it was terrifying! Then I finally got unpacked.  It feels great to be settled somewhere, and to start becoming a part of a community.  Classes started Tuesday (18/1).  More on that later!


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