Hola, que tal!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2007
Trip End Jan 08, 2008

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Flag of Spain  ,
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hola!  Como estas!  Estoy muy bien en la Madrid.  Ok, that's as far as I'll go with my Spanish for now.  I arrived in Madrid equipped with two solid years of Spanish 1 in high school since I didn't pass the first time.  But I was excited to use my espanol and when I got to the airport, so I confidently asked the lady in the info booth, Donde esta metro estacion?  She glanced at me with a disturbed look and replied, "down to your left."  Man, how did she know I didn't speak Spanish?!@#
Few days were spent doing the touristy things once again although I'm really trying to limit myself to some of those now.  After Italy, I'm so museum and churched out...but I had to go to Reina Sofia which had Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Juan Gris, Picasso, and other abstract, contemporary artists.  They're all of my favorite artists and had the greatest time, admiring the genius works of surrealism. 
I also fulfilled one of my goals in Europe which was to attend a futbol game.  I first went on a tour of Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, visiting the Real Madrid stadium when it was completely empty.  I got to check out the vip lounge, sat on the players bench, locker room, press box and the trophy room.  Read Madrid claims to have won the most number of trophies and I believe it because there were hundreds of trophies displaying in the room.  After the tour, I was able to purchase Spain vs. Sweden for the European Qualifying tournament for the following day.
As if you didn't already know, futbol is huge in Spain.  Atmosphere was electrifying right from start.   People are chanting, Espana! Espana! while waving their gigantic Spanish Flags.  From seniors to kids, cheers don't stop for the whole duration of the game even without alcohol.  You can't buy alcohol at the games in Spain, but I quickly understood and pictured the consequences of having such.  It's probably a smart choice and saved many people's lives. 
This game was a must-win for Spain and they flexed their muscles, beating Sweden 3-0.  Swedish were simply outmatched and never had a chance.  After each goal, the whole stadium of 70,000 people erupts into frenzy mode and the celebration continues until your ears starts to bleed.  Purely amazing.  During the game, I met three local Spanish guys and they invited me to a party after the game.  Talk about luck!!!  So after the game, we headed to the club and partied til early morning.  It was a fantastic way to cap a night after going to the game by myself.  On my way home, reflecting my night out: Soccer Game - $60, Spain Jersey - $45, Metro ticket - $2.25, alcohol-free beer - $3, partying w/ the locals and Swedish girls in Madrid - Priceless
Madrid is the capital of Spain and it's right in the center of the country.  From here, you can decide to go north, south, west or east, and none of them are bad choices.  At first, I wanted to go west to Lisbon, Portugal but decided I didn't have enough time to fully explore the country.  Instead, I wanted to spend more time in each city in Spain so I headed down south to Seville. 
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