Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter and Madrid

Well it's been awhile since my last post but i just got back from my class trip to Madrid so i think it's time i updated.

I'm going to start with last Sunday which was Easter and also the day i left for Madrid. I had a nice sleep-in and then got up, had a shower and packed my bags for Madrid. We went over to Bernard and Jaquie's house for lunch. They are the parents of my current host mum and they are my next host family. We were all given a little lindt bunny and i gave out all of my eggs. We then sat down for a meal and we had roast lamb and sweet potato and apple pie for dessert. After lunch we all went for a walk but it started to rain halfway through and we had to run back to the house. We all got soaked though! After that it was pretty much time for me to go. My host brother was staying with Bernard and Jaquie so he said goodbye then. He didn't want me to go and made such a fuss that i've decided he's forbidden from coming to the airport at the end of the year. My host mum and host sister then took me into town and waited with me for the bus. Everyone had to have their passports checked and then we got on the bus. I sat next to Claudia in the aisle seat right behind the driver. It was pretty good because we had a bit more room there. We left Villefranche de Rouergue at about 7.15pm and started the long drive. We swapped driver's about 4 hours into the trip and Roger, our new driver, would be with us for the week. After that we had stops every two hours or so. We watched a movie in Spanish, talked and tried to sleep. At some point in the trip Claudia moved to a seat in the back and a girl i didn't know came and sat next to me. I got to sit at the window after that! Andrea was really nice and we talked a bit. The bus trip passed quite quickly after that and we finally arrived in Madrid about 8.30am Monday morning. We went straight to our first stop. We walked to the Plaza Mayor for breakfast and then we went on a tour of Madrid. We saw some churches, the basilica, the town hall, the outside of the royal palace and Puerta Del Sol. After that we headed to a park for lunch and had a bit of a rest in the shade for about an hour. Then it was on to an art museum called the Reina Sofia. It had a lot of modern artwork in it which was pretty cool. Afterwards everyone was pretty tired but we had an hour of free time. Cludia and i bought a couple of souvenirs and then we headed back to get the bus. We went to get our host families but the bus driver couldn't find the meeting spot so when we finally got there it was about 9pm. A very long tiring day! Claudia and i were together in our host family and it was just a lady with a dog and three cats haha. We walked back to the apartment we were staying in and had dinner and a shower. I was so relieved when i finally got into bed about 11.30pm.

Day two started with a walk to the bus at 8am. By this time i realised i would be doing quite a lot of walking during the trip and it turns out i wasn't wrong. I think i walked more in the past week than i ever have in my entire life and my feet and legs are killing me. My shoulders are also pretty sore from carrying my backpack around the whole week. We were lucky to have nice weather all week but it was really hard to dress for the day because it was cold in the morning and then super hot for lunchtime. Well day two got off to a bit of a rocky start because Andrea felt sick on the bus. when we arrived at the parking station she had to get off and i went with her to the bathroom but we didn't make it before she was sick. She was ok afterwards though which was good. We then walked to the Royal Palace and took some photos there before we went in. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside but it was huge and absolutely amazing. Everything was gold and immaculate and stunning. Also the information spots were written in English and Spanish so i could read it. It was also nice to hear some tourists speaking english though i didn't hear any Australian accents which is a shame. Afterwards we headed to the Bullfighting stadium and went through the museum there. It was pretty cool and then we had lunch oustside in the courtyard. We then had another hour free time to shop and i bought some souvenirs. The last stop of the day was at a church/art gallery/garden/royal mausoleum that overlooked Madrid. It had a lot of religious paintings and the garden was really pretty. Afterwards we had to walk for ages to get to the bus and i was so glad when we finally made it.For dinner that night we had a potato tortilla kind of thing which was interesting. It wasn't too bad but i wouldn't really want to eat it again.

Wednesday morning started with some free time so i walked with some new friends to Puerta del Sol but everything was closed because it was only 9am. We finally found one open souvenir shop so we all bought some things before it was time to go back to the bus. We then headed back to the bullfighting ring and went on a tour. We got to sit in the stands and go down into the actual ring. We also had a gruop photo there but i didn't get it on my camera so i'll have to get it off someone else. The afternoon we headed to a science museum and we watched a movie, in spanish, about the atmosphere and then went all around the museum doing the experiments. It was really cool. We then headed to the Real Madrid football stadium but the teachers told us we were'nt able to go in so i took some pictures fo the outside of the stadium and then put my camera back in my bag. Turns out it was a joke and we went on a tour of the stadium etc but i didn't have my camera with me which was frustrating. We got to see all the trophies, the stadium, the press room, the players area and dressing room. It was absolutely huge and there was a huge store too.

Thursday was our last day in Madrid and we had to pack our bags and take them with us to the bus. The teachers were late as usual so we all waited on the bus for them to arrive. We went to the wax museum in the morning and went through all the galeries of models and on a "terror train" that wasn't very scary and into a motion simulator. We also watched a little movie about the history of Spain. We went and had lunch at the botanical gardens. We then went on a quick walk through the gardens and they were so pretty and peaceful. Afterwards we got to go to the Prado art museum which holds a lot of famous paintings. I saw the Goya painting that studied in english last year so i enjoyed that. After the museum we had three hours of free time to finish of our trip to Madrid. Claudia and i went back to Puerta del Sol and did some shopping before we went back to meet everyone else. Last on the agenda was dinner at a Tapas bar. I sat with my new friends and we gave all the teachers a gift of "i love Madrid" shirts. I really loved Madrid and being in a big city again. It was beautiful and exciting and full on. It was also fun being a tourist and hearing other tourists speaking english and bying souvenirs and taking photos of everything but it was also nice to get home. I can now say i've been on an overnight trip with my school and i've been to a capital city in Europe! We left Madrid about 9pm and arrived back in Villefranche de Rouergue very tired at 11.15am yesterday.

My host family weren't picking me up until 4.30pm so i went back to my new friend Andrea's house. She was born in Romania but has been in France since she was 7 years old and learnt french at school. Her mum is really nice too. We went out for lunch at a restaurant in town and we all shared our meals so i had some steak, fries and some salad with a lovely strawberry tart for desert. They wouldn't let me pay even htough i offered a couple of times. We spent the afternoon together watching t.v and then i went to meet my host dad. It was so nice to finally be home and i was so so so tired. My host brother made hamburgers for dinner and then i had a shower and went to bed. I slept until 12pm today but i've had a pretty lazy day. We ate lunch outside today and the weather is finally warm enough to wear t-shirts and thongs yay! Tomorrow i'm planning to have another relaxing day before Aymeric and i go to the ocean for the two weeks of holidays on Monday. We are going with Bernard and Jaquie so it should be lots of fun. When i get back it's nearly time for me to change host families and go and stay with them. This exchange is starting to fly by now and i have definately realised that after this year my life is never going to be the same again. I have already changed so much here, hopefully for the better, and i'm goign to miss the life i've made here. I also know i'm going to miss this place and that even though i can come back to visit, it will never be the same. Knowing that i'm going to try to make the rest of my time here fabulous and i have lots of things to look foward to.

Well i promised some photos so here are just a few...

Bernard and Jaquie, my host mum, my host dad, Aymeric and Manon at Easter lunch.

Plaza Mayor

Royal palace

Puerta del Sol

At the science museum with some of my new friends...Marie and Marie

The bullfighting ring

1 comment:

  1. Mel sounds like you had an awesome trip :) Can't wait to talk to you soon and here more about it xoxo