Underground Madrid

Was it good or poor planning on my part? Well, I think I made the right decision to book a trip to Madrid, just for one day, before returning to the good ole London. What better way to end Spring Break 2018 then in another major and popular Spanish city. Arriving to Madrid was not easy. It required hard labor, mainly just waking up extremely early in the morning to catch a 7:30AM flight. When we arrived in Madrid, 9 in the morning, we were drained. I was torn between staying at the airport till the next morning to catch the flight back to London or heading out to the city. Well, since I was there already, I might as well see what was the talk of the town. But a major dilemma: what do I do with my carry on? I had two carry-ons, both of which I was not willing to drag along with me in the city.

Should I go into the city ?

There was a company within the airport where I could leave my suitcase, but for two bags it would have costed me 20 euros. Too expensive. Luckily, I had recently met a friend back in London, who was studying in Madrid. After hours of waiting for a response, we finally had a plan that was affordable and allowed us to explore the city. I stashed my bags at my friends host family’s place, as I roamed around Arguelles.  We worked our way down to Gran Via. Gran Via, also known as the Great Way, is a large upscale shopping street filled with high-end brands to affordable brands. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re most likely going to find it on this Spanish Broadway. The ZARA was like a mansion, decorated with mirrors and white interior designs. Primark was muliti-leveled, and stocked with clothes I haven’t even seen in London’s Primark.

Tobacco & Art

Honestly, the main highlight of this day was going to La Tabacalera de Lavapies. Tabacalera was a Spanish tobacco company, monopolizing Spain since 1636 and merging with SEITA in 1999. La Tabacalera, formerly the tobacco company’s factory, was the workplace for over 1,000 women. These women shredded, chopped, and tobacco throughout the 19th to the 20th centuries. The building was originally built in 1790 and an example of Madrid’s early industrial architecture. In 1809, it was the Tobacco and Snuff Factory till the company was privatized in 2000. Spain’s Ministry of Culture took over the building in 2003, and that was the beginning of the well-renowned art community in La Tabacalera. Now La Tabacalera is run by locals, who used the building to showcase art and host concerts. The building illuminates and highlights the diversity and the multicultural neighborhood in Spain. Currently, the walls showcase different local artist each week and the gardens are tended by the local community.

The sky-high walls surrounding the building were filled with variety of art, some more serene and others more child-like.. My favorite one was the depiction of a sensual women with flowers surrounding her, while exposing her blossoms. It is the way her hand seems to almost depict the vitarka mudra, an iconic hand gesture seen on sculptures of Buddha. The gesture represents the discussion and transmission of the teachings by Buddha. For me, the hand gesture seems to be reaching out to me. Telling me to reach out to my own feminine side and sexuality. To love and explore the female body. In a single art, it seems to be empowering women from around the world.

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Inside was a different world, with variety of people their own stories through art. Most of the art can be found underground and in the garden. Some I can not understand, but others that made me laugh. There were moments where I had just stood there and lost myself in the colors, the strokes, and just the way the light reflects the art.

It is quite deem in the basement, therefore pictures did not come out as clear as I hoped for. But for my readers, I managed to capture a few panoramics. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Many people said Madrid was a city on a hill, for me, that hill brought you to a world of color in corners you may never expected to explore. These corners were filled with talented people who embraced their culture. Remember, learn to love yourself and the culture you grew up in. It shapes the way you think, react and view the world. For everyone is one of a kind, worthy of love, and true to themselves. Until the next time my readers.

Yours truly,

Lina

The City of Gaudí

The final day. The last day in Barcelona. Well, you would assume after all I saw in the first few days in Barcelona that I would be done sightseeing. But, nothing will stop an energetic explorer from seeking beauties in the world. The third day, I dived into the world of Gaudi. Seven of his works are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. I searched and captured his remarkable works. First thing first, I needed energy in order to hunt. I feasted in Milk Bar & Bistro, a bar with a rich old school 50s’ feels. The food was just absolutely amazing, mouth-watery, and tummy filling. I was surprise to see an adorable cup, that clearly showed each layer of a cappuccino: espresso, milk, and milk foam. I ordered Eggs Benedict, which included two poached eggs on a toasted chapata bread with bacon and topped on with homemade holandaise sauce. Feeling the warm orange yolk dripping on to your tongue, escaping the corners of your mouth and then, crunching on the perfect crispy bacon.

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Capital of Catalonia

What do most students look forward to during the spring semester? Spring Break! Yes, it is that time of the year when you can finally stop spending sleepless nights cramming for midterms and essays. You can drop your pen, hand in your test booklets, and hop on a plane. Where did my plane land?  My first destination was the city of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. Warning: Do not expect the weather to be 80 degrees here, as I had hoped for.

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Eye See London I

The title of my blog is purposely a play on homophone words. And, yes, here is a picture of a British pup. 

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Exactly a month ago, on this date, I arrived in London and that was the beginning of a boundless exploration. I spent the past month exploring the wet streets of London, from Brentford to Islington.  London is a city filled with mind-blowing events, heart-pounding music venue, eye-opening museums, and mouth watery food. I will be posting multiple blogs giving you the ins and outs. Let’s start with Week 1…

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Trip to Iceland

Warning: This trip was not planned beforehand. The tickets were purchased two weeks before departure and car rental was purchased the day of departure. Risky, I know. 

Why Iceland?

Honestly, the only response I have is: My companion wanted to be in the dark. Darkness is exactly what I got. During the winter, there are only about 4 hours of sunlight.

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