Last night we celebrated the end of our semester, technically it was the last day that we could turn in any of our last projects. (Thankfully I finished earlier) We all met in Bilbao, a metro stop near the Malasana neighborhood. One of my classmates, Eduardo, is a resident of this barrio and from what I can tell has been for much of his life. He took us to a local bar that was opened by the bartender’s grandfather. The walls depict the many changes Madrid has encountered over the years and the sign is still original. From there we went to another local bar called La Giralda. Since it is the only place in the city you can find palo cortado, we obviously had to have some. Palo cortado is a wine from Andalucía and here is a link to a NY times article about such wines [http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/travel/sharing-a-sherry-treasured-in-spain.html?_r=1&]. I enjoyed it’s strong caramelized flavor opposed to traditional red wines. There was a bull’s head mounted on the wall that Eduardo said he saw killed back in the sixties. We became friends with our bartender and Eduardo convinced him to give the each of the girls, me and Miriam, a traditional palo cortado glass.
Now that we were all full of tapas and drinks we headed over to dinner at Casa de Tortilla. It seems to be a hot spot amongst students and groups of friends because you pay a flat rate for the meal and they bring out endless traditional tapas. I could not begin to say which was my favorite, but if I had to pick it would be the fried green pimientos (it’s my favorite tapa regardless of the restaurant because they are like playing russian roulette. Generally they are mild, but every so often you bite in and it’s super spicy) We finished the night with a quick night cap at another local bar and played games of connect four and chess.
It has been a stressful couple of weeks for all of us and so it was nice to get together and blow off steam. In other great new we were just told this morning that we have an extra week break and that the second semester does not begin until Feb 11th – more time to catch up on sleep and get over this little cold.