The Prado, Paella and Puerta del Sol

april 12-14//madrid, spain//canon 5d

We arrived in Madrid early that morning, sluggish after an overnight bus; the sky had a mottled cotton candy sort of color going on, and the streets of Puerta del Sol were being hosed down from the chaos of the bar scene from the night before. I had no idea what to expect-hungry for the art museum scene and some churros, but otherwise open to whatever the city could impress on me.

Madrid and I, at first, did not get along. It doesn't have the scrappy rhythm of Barcelona that I had so loved-there's no ocean, either. The buildings are beautiful-classic architecture, neat shades of pastel and brick, and elegant wrought-iron balconies. Yet, as I'm finding with most capital cities, it is a tad overwhelming. There is something, everywhere; the frustrating feeling that you're not getting the whole city, that you are missing out on something.

The combination of a lack of sleep and an allergic reaction (on the bottom of my feet, no less) meant that I was not feeling anything that first day, especially walking around for hours. A trip to Reina Sofia soothed my wounds-while I'm not necessarily a Picasso fan, Guernica felt like a religious experience-but by the end of the day, I just wanted to lay in my bed in my hostel (which, since the entire room flooded post-shower, felt like a small boat bobbing in the sea) and listen to the spanish women one floor below yell at the soccer game on the television. My friend Kay dragged me out, though-after all, we were staying in the center of it all. The streets around us were full of tiny little bars crammed into the first floor of the slightly run-down buildings, brightly illuminated and full of people. We settled ourselves at the counter of one, and ordered sangria, because of course! what else could you drink in Spain?

I started the second day off right; Kay and I parted ways for a few hours, and I headed into the Prado, eagerly anticipating what I was about to see. My main goal? Spend some time in front of Valesquez's Las Meninas, one of my favorite paintings that I've studied in my art history classes.

The Prado is easily one of my favorite art museums, for a few reasons. For one, it is the perfect size; unlike the Louvre or the Met, the entire museum can be explored in two or three hours. Not only did I get to see Velasquez's+ Goya's  work- I discovered a whole slew of Spanish artists I had never heard of. On the bottom floor were rooms filled with massive, massive paintings depicted famous moments in history or legend-I spent close to a half hour with one depicting a queen burying her husband, unable to look away.

After a lunch in Parque Retiro, Madrid's own Central Park, Kay and I started to wander through a more residential, hip neighborhood-colorful, cheerful, and full of graffiti. Here is where the real Madrid started to emerge, and I started to sway in my opinions. I decided that, maybe, Madrid is one of those places that is better to live, spend a while in, rather than visit. Once it had started to grow on me, had started seeping into my being, I was much more receptive. Then again, maybe it was because I had a full eight hours-who knows?

Saying auf wiedersehen! to Germany


well, it's all over.

I don't know if there are words to explain what the last five months have meant to me. Okay, maybe there are words-a lot of them-but I don't know if I could put them all together, here, the feelings and thoughts I have scribbled in notebooks and sketchbooks in blue and black ink.

I will say that the people I met on exchange are some of the best. I  will miss the dinners we shared together in my kitchen, every day, in front of the "second-most famous wall in Germany;" I will miss running into people in the quadrate, every day-the late nights and, sometimes, mornings. I will miss trams and buses and cheap grocery prices and my little, ugly city. I miss it already.

I'm still slowly plugging my way through posts here on the blog, so in some ways it will be still like being on exchange for a little while-I've got, like, a million cities to still write about. But for now, I just want to say thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you, for listening and reading and commenting and sharing. I love you all! Here's to many more adventures, trips and travels.

kerris last day -1-8

Barcelona | Barceloneta + the sea

Barceloneta is a neighborhood by the sea. It's a little crowded, and a little run-down; people stand outside on the sidewalks, or in the squares, and chat. If you head to the beach and walk a little bit one way, you'll find tall buildings and expensive clubs-but Barceloneta remains fairly untouched, it seems.

I spent the first five years of my life in view of the ocean-there is nothing that makes me happier, and I swear that saltwater runs through my veins. I didn't realize how much I missed the sea until it was in sight, until its chilly waves lapped up against my feet. We went to the beach every day, and each time I climbed over rocks like a child, sand caught where i'd rolled my pant legs up. I would imagine a life lived in Barceloneta-a balcony crowded with laundry, daily pilgrimidges to the beach, spanish and sunshine. It was my favorite, favorite place in Barcelona-and what better way to end my set of posts about the city?

sorry for the silence on the blog recently-i'm leaving Germany in four days! Life has become a whirlwind of packing, papers, avoiding packing + papers, and bittersweet goodbyes.

Barcelona | Montjuic

I'm not 100% confident saying that I am glad we passed up Park Guell for Montjuic-I love a good Gaudi after all {as obvious from the last post}, but Montjuic was gorgeous. We hiked up a steep hill, only to find the entire city sprawled out in front of us, tumbling down rolling mountains and into the ocean, for as far as the eye can see. Everything was in bloom-10/10 would recommend visiting Spain in April-all bright greens and purples and yellows. We found ourselves in the Joan Miro garden, which was nearly deserted-so of course, we proceeded to take a nap in a children's playground, snoozing in a hammock-like net suspended five feet above the ground. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon-simultaneously exhausting yet restful, beautiful and picturesque and quiet.

part one//part two//

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