As our last full day in Madrid, we all left the hotel in the morning with plans to hit as many major attractions as possible and really enjoy our time in the city. We were even more excited that our classmate who had the passport troubles was able to meet us and spend the day in Madrid as well. We were all still slightly jet-lagged, but ready to seize the day.
We also were ready to complete our first assignment: an ethnographic observation and report. I set out with Julia, Victoria, and Ally to visit el jardin real, or the botanical garden. As we approached, we realized it might be more full of tourists than locals, and we were expected to observe locals. We settled on a little café on a side street, full of local patrons eating their midday meal. Observing the culture around eating out and the siesta meal was really interesting, much different from your average American restaurants. Although we were identified and called out as foreigners, it was nice to take a break and enjoy a leisurely meal.
Afterwards, we actually did check out the jardin, soaking in the beautiful buds and Zen atmosphere. We returned to the hotel in the afternoon, and had our first class discussion about an assigned set of readings. We talked about the history of religious freedom in Spain, which put contemporary issues facing the country into context. Everything is beginning to make sense, and we’re getting used to this new Spanish peregrino lifestyle. Tomorrow we take on a whole new city, with more sights, culture, and excitement. Off to Granada!
Michelle Reichman – Political Science & International Affairs