My Day As A Madrileño

Michael Thorson Abroad, Michael, Viterbi Summer 0 Comments

Hey everyone! Thanks for tuning into my blog today, I’m coming to you from home in Seattle after a long summer of travel and I wanted to tell you about a typical day in my life! The reality is, I didn’t have a single “typical” day during the Viterbi Summer Overseas program. Studying in Madrid, I tried my hardest to make every day unique so instead of telling you about a non-existent routine of mine, I’m just going to tell you about a favorite day of mine from start to finish.

8:20 AM – Collaboratively wake up with my roommates Naish and George for class at 9.

8:21 AM – Vigorously eat a kiwi (in my opinion, the best fruit) while getting ready for class

8:35 AM – Depart with Naish and George for our 15 minute walk/train to the ACCENT Study Center where our classes took place

9:00 AM – We join about 15 other friends from Viterbi in a small classroom and Professor Scott Smith kicks off our Writing 340 lecture (I highly recommend taking a class with him if you ever get the chance)

10:00 AM – CLASS BREAK! I Immediately run down the block to the local Coffee shop to beat the rush of other engineering students. I order the regular double espresso and croissant combo, hand the clerk 1 euro, and head back to class a little too hyper and ready to work

11:00 AM – Writing 340 ends and I transfer to the next classroom over for our Thermodynamics lecture (AME 310) with more familiar engineering faces! Without getting too technical, that day in class we proved why the diverging or widening section of a rocket nozzle counterintuitively accelerates supersonic gas flows instead of slowing them down which I had been wondering about for a while!

1:00 PM – Class ends and I head home on the train with Naish, George, and my last roommate Josh  with a quick stop at Super Sol (the local grocery store) to pick up fresh produce and meat for lunch

1:30 PM – We get home to our apartment and begin cooking chicken parmesan on a bed of spaghetti and tomato sauce. While I fry and bake the breaded chicken, Naish pieces together a simple but always delicious caprese salad

2:00 PM – FEAST! (and clean the dishes)

2:20 PM – My entire room simultaneously realizes that they are late for siesta, the nationally recognized nap time in Spain, and they immediately lay in their beds for an hour long nap. I’m not tired so I decide to go on a walk towards the Buen Retiro Park

The gelato I had was too big to capture in focus

The gelato I had was simply unreal

2:40 PM – I pass a gelato shop and buy a cone with a scoop

mandarin and a scoop of nutella

2:41 PM – The entire cone is gone. My hands are sticky from melted ice cream. I am not sure if I’m full and happy, or bloated and shameful.

3:00 PM – I arrive at the Buen Retiro Park, find a peaceful spot in the grass right next to the lake and sit down to read my book and study for the next day’s thermodynamics quiz. If you’re wondering, my summer book list consisted of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and Become Who You Are by Alan Watts.

My favorite reading spot in Madrid's biggest park

My favorite reading spot in Madrid’s Buen Retiro park

5:20 PM – Get home where my roommates inform me that we are going to a tapas or small plates bar called Juana La Loca for dinner which is just south of central Madrid. We all study, or attempt to at least, until we are ready to leave

8:45 PM – We arrive at the small, two room tapas bar where we snag the very last seat in the busy establishment. In Madrid, the late lunch and siesta culture knocks back dinner to later hours. Most madrileños eat around 9:00 or 10:00 at night! When the waiter comes, he hands us each a menu and my eyes light up. I did not realize what I was about to get myself into

Quail egg on sirloin steak at Juana La Loca. Incredible

Quail egg on sirloin steak at Juana La Loca. Incredible

9:15 PM – Our food arrives. Oh. My. Goodness. Truffle and parmesan risotto, Spanish tortilla or omelette, duck foie gras on fig toast, and my personal favorite: top sirloin with a perfectly cooked quail egg perched on top. The casual dinner quickly turns into a fierce battle between the four of us to eat as much of the five-star quality food as we can.

10:00 PM – We walk to the metro stop at Puerta del Sol, what we came to call the Times Square of Madrid, and decide to check out the street performers and browse through the sidewalk vendor inventories. After watching a duo’s 5 minute rollerblade dance routine set to Katy Perry’s Firework, I haggle

with a vendor for some funny sun glasses in Spanish. Finally, proud with my “smooth” Spanish and my hard bargain, I leave with a cheap new pair of reflective circular sun glasses to hopefully bring out my inner John Lennon. Success. Time to head home.

11:00 PM – The four of us finally get home, get ready for bed, and crash early so we can  do it all again

Overall, Madrid was packed with fun from the time we woke up to whatever time we went to bed. If you ever get the chance to study anywhere with the Viterbi Summer Oversees program: don’t miss it.

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Michael Thorson

Michael Thorson

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