Madrid 2016

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Follow me as I blog daily from July 2nd to July 15th in Madrid, Spain.

Check back daily for new updates on where I’ve eaten, what I’ve eaten, what I’ve learned through my internship (and beyond), who I’ve met, where I’ve been, and what I’ve seen…

Enjoy!

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DAY 1 – Sunday July 3rd, 2016

The plane ride from TORONTO to MADRID was not nearly as bad as I was nervous it would be. With anxiety, and claustrophobia, I feared the worst…but I gracefully drank my three miniature bottles of red wine, ate my gluten free dinner, and watched both Confirmation (with Kerry Washington who slayed as Anita Hill) and Mother’s Day (which was just as basic and cheese-filled as I thought it would be).

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The flight was 8 hours and although I did take a sleepy-time Advil with hope that I would pass out and stress-less, I sat wide awake the whole time. Thankfully however, my stress level remained stable. Ps. The extra comfy premium economy Air Canada seats (which come with unlimited drinks/eye masks/slipper socks which are actually cute/earphones/ear plugs/blanket/pillow etc….) definitely helped with that.

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We left TORONTO at 7pm local time and arrived in MADRID this morning at 8am local time.

I find the whole time difference thing super strange… considering I got off the plane to a sunny Sunday morning without ever having slept. My body was tired, but my mind saw sunshine and tried it’s best to wake up.

We collected our baggage (THANK GOD IT DIDN’T GET LOST) and grabbed a taxi to the hotel – the VP Madrono, which is named after a strawberry tree.

The hotel is in a crowded little corner in Madrid – which is packed solid with high rise apartment buildings.

Our room is absolutely lovely. I’ve attached some pictures below.

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Two beds, a hidden kitchen, a pull out couch, work station, waterfall shower, etc. My mother out-did herself picking this one. As a plus, there’s a beautiful garden outside our window,

“We have a vast and gorgeous garden where you can have a walk between palms, orange trees, rose trees and of course strawberry trees!”

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Not having slept, I tucked myself into bed this afternoon and slept till 5pm local time… which was one of the best sleeps I’ve had in forever. I guess jet-lag is more legit than I thought.

I’ve figured that because I’ve got lots of time ahead of me,  I can take it easy for today.. champagne, chocolate strawbs, a nap, and prepping for tomorrow – bring on the internship of a life time.

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Side note: The strangest thing about my experience so far has been the beautiful garden in our yard, juxtaposed immediately beside an unkept lawn with one tiny children’s play house. I’m under the (likely ignorant) impression so far that luxury and quaintness live side by side in a very busy and high populated Madrid. Now… I’ve only been here for a few hours, so I’ll report back on this later.

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Another side note: Our room lights do not turn on unless our room key card is entered – to keep lights off when no one is in the room. Our air-conditioning also shuts off whenever the windows are open, to also conserve energy… Canada could learn a lot from these genius technological advances! So cool!

Check back tomorrow to hear how my first day went!

*View outside our room*

DAY 1 (PART TWO):

So, maybe I lied and wrote my last post pre-maturely. My mom and I attempted to order room service as I had wanted to (quoting myself) “take it easy” but NEWSFLASH KELL – most of Madrid seems to shut down on Sundays.

I think I should have realized this earlier… when first coming into the city – there being deserted roads and store fronts everywhere – but no, I didn’t really clue in… I blame the jet-lag (I feel like that’s something people do a lot).

Anyways, room service was not available, which actually pushed us to get our tired butts out of bed and go outside. But before heading somewhere to eat, we decided to check out the garden in our yard. Here’s some pics of the cutest place ever.


We walked maybe 50 steps from our hotel and found a restaurant called Juanyata Me Mata! (there are like 5 restaurant patios on every street in Madrid – and they’re legit in the middle of the street OR on the sidewalk).

I was over exhausted, so the sangria  hit me SUPER hard, but oH MY gOD was it delicious… FYI: Sangria will now be an every-day thing.

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Ps. I don’t know who Juanita is, but she is fab let me tell you… Here’s a pic of my new style icon.

Juanita

Mom ordered three different assortments of croquettes – bacon & cheese, some sort of fish, and a mushroom one. The bacon & cheese one was HEAVENLY… how Canadian of me.

I ordered the OX hamburger… yes OX. I told my boyfriend I wouldn’t eat cheeseburgers (my kryptonite) while here, but I found this clever OX loophole. I’d never eaten OX, but I was happy with my choice. It was topped with leafy greens, brie, and some sort of vinaigrette type sauce – delish. Also, the french fries were super rad… Here’s a pic.

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Here’s Juanyata looking fab again on her little burger flag.

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After our meal, mom and I asked the waiter where we could buy a bottle of wine – to which he replied – here. So, with his recommendation, we took home a bottle of red – Ramon Bilbao, and drank that too.

Then it was off to bed… again… kinda…until I woke up WIDE AWAKE from 4am till 7. Whatevs, at least the Roast of James Franco was on…with German subtitles????? Tres weird. Oh wait, that’s French. Bye.

DAY 2 – July 4th, 2016

Today Mom and I set our alarms 50 times and refused to get up until we actually HAD to. Jet lag is cruel and should be illegal.

When we finally did get organized, we headed out into the streets – searching for the site of my new internship – which PS. BEGAN TODAY!.

Long story short, a 5 minute walk turned into a half hour  hike and a cab ride back the way we came for 5 Euros. At least I still made it in time… and took this cute pic.

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My fellow interns and I waited nervously in the lobby of our new educational home. Eventually we welcomed with a spontaneous photoshoot, and then were guided upstairs to the board room. Our intro presentation was like every other intro presentation – “Hi I’m Kellie from Canada, I like to write”.

The coolest part about today was learning about the other interns in my seminar: Katie from Scotland, Max from England, Jaclyn from the U.S, Marita from Greece, Sofie from Austria, and Veronica from Columbia/ Switzerland.

We introduced ourselves, our writing specialty (Glamour, Travel, MADBudget, Globananza…) and then got right into pitching and receiving feedback about our article ideas. Everyone’s material was fantastic – and most ideas led to bigger and even more interesting conversations amongst us (being from all different parts of the world). These conversations ranged from the complexities of Brexit and idenity, how the drug war led to butt lifting jeans, and beyond… basically, there’s way to much to explain.

Next we were given our assignments and sent on our way – back out into my new city. Mom met up with me and since I hadn’t yet eaten we found most immediately close patio restaurant.

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Sangria, again… and because all we could barely read the menu we ordered this… Huevos estrellados con jamon…. because it sounded nice. Turns out Huevos estrellados con jamon is a plate of french fries with fried egg and ham. I almost cried when I saw it. See for yourself.

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After lunch Mom and I took a stroll into a few stores and then back to the hotel – which is literally just around the corner…. I think we will leave Siri at home tomorrow, b*tch.

Once back in the room I began to write my first article as an intern (stay tuned) ANNNND I am also writing this very piece of serious journalism for you right now…. So, yeah. That’s about it for today. Say tuned for my first Seminar feedback tomorrow.

What I Learned Today:
1) Brexit is bad.
2) Siri cannot be trusted.
3) French fries are amazing everywhere.

Top: Sofie, Katie, Jaclyn, Veronica.
Bottom: Marita, Me (I was told this one was suppose to be a funny one).13615197_1029335163768648_8866995244853150334_n.jpg

 

DAY 3 – JULY 5TH, 2016

Hola read-ers and read-ettes!

Mom and I started this morning off with a nap.

Once we finally got up, we went for a walk and ordered some coffee at Volapie – which looks like it only sells wine – but also sells coffee. I’m obsessed with their decor – I mean, look at those green bottles!

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Because we were running early for my class today, we took our time walking around with our coffees. We even took a people-watching moment on a bench at this street corner.

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Next we wandered into a wall of this…

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And then quickly left.

Anyone in the mood for a pigs leg? Moving on…

Today was the second day of my journalism internship with ROOSTERGNN – Global News Network! My seminar mates and I had the pleasure of meeting the multi-talented Martin Roberts – our mentor for the “Journalism in the 21st Century: Writing For The Web” Workshop!

To quote @rooster_gnn‘s blurb about Martin on Instagram,

Martin is a former Reuters correspondent and has been published in many media outlets, including The Times, The Financial Times, Al Jazeera, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, and The Sunday Telegraph. Major events he has covered range from earthquakes to football World Cup finals, and amongst many other topics he has reported on politics, current affairs, economics, the environment and culture. Personalities Martin has interviewed include the Dalai Lama and he has grilled George W. Bush and Fidel Castro in news conferences.”

So yeah…he’s kind of a big deal (to me anyways).

Here’s a super serious picture of the super kind and knowledgeable Martin:

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Martin walked us through a mock breaking story – inspired a real life event:

We were briefly provided with some of the following reportings, as well as some brief eye-witness quotes.

– Alvia (high speed) train from Madrid, bound for Ferrol, crashes
-238 passengers on board
– Train becomes derailed as it attempts to turn a bend
– etc…

Martin reminded us to be: Quick – Concise – Accurate in our reporting, and then told us we had only 2 minutes to come up with an online ALERT (as if we were real journalist sreporting from the scene/ newsroom).

Time flew by as we all tried to construct something concrete in just two minutes…

After (very nicely) tearing each of our first drafts apart, Martin provided us with a very important journalistic tip: If it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. 

AKA. None of us had mentioned that PEOPLE HAD LIKELY DIED = the only reason people care about reading your News Report. *mind blown*

We then continued working with this story… Martin slowly giving us more and more information, and us having to re-draft our publications and alerts (to then receive even more constructive criticism – don’t worry, there were no tears).

Thankfully, we all seemed to get the hang of this fast-paced workshop by the end of it – hooray!

After class I met up with mom – who was hanging out at Bulevar 54 (which is located just across the street). To my surprise (not) Mom was enjoying another glass of sangria… to which I sat down and said “where’s mine?”. BUT DO NOT PANIC – I also got my own glass – within minutes.

Mom had spent the two hours I was in class planning for our class-free weekend. Before our trip began, I had written out all of the places I wanted to go – so Mom used her free time to map it all out today – #blessed.

We finished our sangria and took a scenic walk through the Juan Bravo area. We then returned to the hotel to drop off my laptop and begin our search of both a grocery store and a GLUTEN FREE BAKERY we had heard about.

WARNING: POSSIBLY TMI
As a girl who must run to the bathroom after any gluten consumption… you can only imagine how DELIGHTED, JOYFUL, EXCITED, AND HAPPY I was when we found out that…

 


EVERY SINGLE THING in this bakery is gluten free… and the decor is perfectly urban/rustic. I almost cried. Ok no I didn’t. But it was a powerful moment.

I picked out this little eclair to eat immediately, and then also bought some croissants and muffins (that will hopefully last us more than just tonight – yummmmmmy. Thank you SANA LOCURA!

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We then continued on to find a local a grocery store. After all, we wanted to make some tapas of our own…and we were out of wine…again.

We picked up a few items and then headed back to the hotel (where I am now)…because…. I have homework… due tomorrow at 8am… I know….ew…. But at least it’s fun! and at least we now have all the fixings for a home-made tapas dinner in the fridge!

Bye for now!

 

DAY 4 – July 6th, 2016

Holy Hannah am I tired. Jet lag has been really hard on Mom and I – we can’t sleep at night, and then we can’t wake up in the morning! We’re trying our best though… I think we may drug ourselves to sleep tonight… after all, tomorrow will be an early morning, and a late night for me – as it is the INTERN TAPAS WELCOME NIGHT! Woooooohoo.

But let’s go back to this morning. Mom spent today, shopping, trying new beers, re-organizing all the clothes we brought (which got thrown around the room as I documented my wardrobe for class… oh yeah, I may have forgotten to mention – I’m writing in the lifestyle and glamour section aka FASHION).

We began our day trying the custard-filled gluten free croissants we got yesterday at the bakery… omg guys. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something so yummy and good for my stomach…well kind of. We then stopped in at Juanyta’s (my giiiiirl) for coffee – mmmm.

The best part of today was my second workshop with ROOSTERGNN – taught by the wonderful Patricia Rafael Lage. 

To quote ROOSTERGNN’s post on Facebook:

“Patricia is a journalist with an extensive background in reporting, writing, editing and translating texts from English to Spanish, mostly in written media. For more than 14 years, she has worked and contributed as a reporter and fixer for five newspapers, –El Día de Valladolid, ADN, Público, Eldiario.es, and The New York Times-, two digital platforms, –VICE News Spanish and Broadly Spanish-, and a weekly magazine –La Clave-. She has covered political, court, health, immigration, social, and cultural affairs, publishing not only breaking news, but also long-form articles and features.

During the last four years, she has been working as a freelance reporter for VICE News Spanish, Broadly Spanish, and Eldiario.es, primarily creating pieces on political and social affairs, such as women’s rights, gender violence and historical memory. Since 2012, she has been based in Madrid, working as a fixer for foreign media, including NPR and regular work for The New York Times Rome Bureau chief Jim Yardley. Here, she contributes on reporting, gathering data and information, and finding and arranging interviews from Spain on diverse, current issues.

Patricia is a Spanish native, proficient in English and has an intermediate level of French. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies.”

Here’s a picture of the lovely Patricia!

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Photo taken by ROOSTERGNN, July 6th 2016.

My itinerary had made me aware of what today’s lesson would be, but I had no idea what the hell a “Fixer” actually was… so a big thanks goes out to Patricia for filling me in:

What is a fixer?
– Someone who assists a visiting journalist with information, translation, appointments, interviews, background, data and also reporting.

– In dangerous countries, fixers may also provide transportation and security. In fact, the visiting journalist’s security may depend on his or her fixer.

(Information by Patricia Rafael Lage)

So, Patricia’s job as a fixer in Madrid is to welcome and prepare interviews for an international journalist travelling to Madrid to cover a story. Basically, a fixer finds all the relevant people to be interviewed on a certain topic, books them into a schedule, and then gives the foreign correspondent all of this information/ while also touring them around to each interview and throughout the city.

Got it? Good.

In our workshop, Patricia taught us how to be a good fixer, and that WHERE, WHEN, WHY, WHO, AND WHAT is actually the key to every fixers job.

Patricia says that when she is hired by (The New York Times for example) the journalist will reach out to her and provide her with very little initial information about the articles he/she wants to write… such as this:

1. TIME: The debate over whether to change the time zone.

2. FRANCO: My editor is interested in a story talking to some of the victims of the Franco regime and on whether the government is going something to start a Commission to find out the truth and reexamine Spain’s past.

Yes. THAT’S IT.

To which I replied – WHAAAAAAAAT? SRSLY????/ UM K NOOOOO?

Patricia then asked us to walk through how we thought we would prepare information about these topics for…YEAH… The New York Times.

After a while of brainstorming we (as a group) determined exactly WHO we would interview, WHY these stories mattered, WHAT was actually going on, WHEN when would have to conduct these interviews (in a timely matter), and WHERE we would need to go to get the right story.

The story behind the TIME pitch was interesting, but not nearly as compelling as Patricia’s account of the FRANCO investigation.

New York Times journalist Jim Yardley wanted to write a story about the ongoing law battle between Spaniards and Spanish government, demanding more freedom of information concerning Spain’s past – specifically the mass death count from the Franco regime.

For those who don’t know – (don’t worry, I had no idea about any of this before today either)….here’s the basics of what you need to know:

– Francisco Franco took control of Spain from the government of the Second Spanish Republic after winning the Civil War, and 1978, when the Spanish Constitution of 1978 went into effect.
– It is the opinion of several historians that during the Spanish Civil War, Franco’s goal was to turn Spain into a totalitarian state like Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

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(Thanks Wikipedia)

And here’s what I’ve come to understand from today…

– Franco was a bad man and under his control, many Spaniards died
– There is a mass grave here in Madrid where the many victims of his regime has been buried, but ZERO memorial mention/ government regulated remembrance initiatives pay tribute to these people
– The Spanish government has chosen to stay silent about these events.
– Spaniards have taken their case to Argentina, requesting their law services investigate these events, allowing more freedom of information (which is being held captive/on lock, by Spanish government).
– Information surrounding this tragedy is NOT taught in schools (government controlled)

= this case was a HOT TOPIC (Argentina had just been hired) during the time Patricia was hired to “Fix” for this story.

Let’s continue… SO, Patricia had two weeks to find sources and set up interviews.
Just like we (in class) had brainstormed, Patricia looked for:

– Victims
– Historians
– Government
– Lawyers in Argentina
– Associations of victims?
– Independent Remembrance Initatives
– Valley of the Fallen… biggest mass grave of the Civil War (Bring him (Jim) here)
– What Reparations??… remove Franco streets/etc…
– Numerical Data
– Educators in schools… what do they think?
– Franco Foundation… still support Franco ideals today

She then filled a schedule with the interview subjects (+ info/background about why each person was relevant) and sent this to Jim.

She’s basically like a super cool history detective.

We next moved on to her story about BREAKING NEWS FIXING… and the time she had to prepare her work in ONE DAY = as the Ebola outbreak waited for no one.

Patricia explained that one of the first cases of Ebola occurred right here in Madrid – a Priest had come back from Sierra Leon and mysteriously died. While hospitalized in Madrid, the Priest had been treated by a nurse  – who then developed the virus herself – and her whole family was quarantined!

Just a day after this story broke, press from all of the world arrived here in Madrid.

Patricia worked 24 hours to find relevant subjects to interview… doctors, the nurses friends, scientists, government officials, etc…and to create a time line of events.

Talk about being right in the middle of a CRISIS!!!

 

You can read the full stories here – all possible thanks to Patricia’s FIXES:

Spain, Land of 10 P.M. Dinners, Asks if It’s Time to Reset Clock   [TIME ARTICLE]

Spain Exposes Holes in Plans to Treat Ebola  [EBOLA ARTICLE]

Facing His Torturer as Spain Confronts Its Past   [FRANCO ARTICLE]

Maybe I could be a Canadian fixer????

After class, I met up with Mom and we hit up what I think was a [German] Beer House – called LA CASA DE LA CERVEZA. 

Mom ordered a beer called AMSTEL Oro which she says was super fab… and I got a gluten free beer called AMBAR which was the best gluten free beer I’ve tried yet! We felt super refreshed.

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We were very happy to find out they had an english menu we could understand.

We ordered the mini hamburgs with sauce and fries, the baked Provolone with tomatoes, , and of course, flaming chorizo?????

PS. The Provolone with tomatoes was hands down the best (and most fattening) thing  Ive ever had in my entire life… let’s take a closer look. ARE YOU DROOLING YET?!!?!!?!!

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ONE MORE.

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After our meal I felt the need to shop (even though I risked passing out from cheese consumption)…

While walking the streets we went into a few different boutiques (looking for a floral skirt), until we came across my new favourite boutique store on earth – MESUYA.

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I swear to god – this store is a more spanish/bohemian version of Aritzia = The same quality and style, but legit only a quarter of the price.

For just 80 Euros I got all of this…

One light Camo jacket
One olive green dress
One sky-blue dress
One pair of dark grey flow-short
One matching dark grey cami top

I know, cute right?

I’d say today was VERY successful.

Stay tuned to find out how TAPAS night goes tomorrow – post will be available later than usual!!! (maybe even a day late depending on my cervasa consumption). Bye!

 

DAY 5 – July 7th, 2016

Today in class we received feedback from Martin Roberts (one of the seminar leaders mentioned earlier) concerning the articles we had written for this week…. Dun dun dunnnn.

I was nervous about what he would have to say – as my style of writing is much more blogger-y (sarcastic, dramatic, etc… as you can probably tell), than “seriously” journalistic.

As it turns out, although Martin and I didn’t agree on everything (especially the use of the word nude – apparently this is not a globally known colour), his constructive criticism pushed me to correct and transform my article into something much more concise and helpful than it had been before – THANKS MARTIN.

Ps. The article in question is about tourists and wearing comfortable yet fashionable shoes. Stay tuned for that.

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Martin also gave everyone else in the class a lot of valuable feedback – and we have all undoubtedly become better writers already. YAY!

After class I met up with mom at the bar across the street – where she had run into an English speaking American family from California.

This family of four had moved to Madrid a year and a half ago – as the Dad had gotten a promotion abroad (a 3 year contract). Their two little children, a girl and boy, were beyond adorable – speaking both fluent Spanish and English. What an amazing educational opportunity for them!

Anyways, we all got to chatting and the Mom filled us in on all the best places to go and eat while we’re here. It was refreshing to speak to someone who fully understood us (in terms of speaking english) and really was very interested in helping us to have the best trip possible! After we absorbed as much as we could, we thanked our new friends and parted ways – as they went to pick up a Dominos Pizza for dinner – YES there are Dominos Pizza’s in Spain.

Side note: THERE ARE ALSO BURGER KINGS AND CHICKEN NUGGET ADS EVERYWHERE.

Mom and I then headed back to the hotel so that I could get ready for RoosterGNN’s welcome tapas night for us interns! Attempting to be brave, we bought metro tickets and managed to make it on time from Diego De Leon to Grand Via (thanks to me).

Grand Via is most comparable to Times Square… with less lights, but just as many people. All of the buildings are tall – which makes it hard to tell where you’re going, and there are literally people everywhere – which can make it overwhelming. By the time we had gotten to Grand Via, (around 8:15pm) it was BUMPIN. Every store was filled with customers.

Note to self: go back to PRIMARK – this looks like an even better FOREVER21…. everyone on the street had a PRIMARK bag… everyone.

We were hoping Siri would help us get to the restaurant, but again, she couldn’t be trusted. Luckily, I somehow managed to find the way and get us there – go me! again.

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Fisherman’s Club was rented out by ROOSTERGNN privately – which means we had FREE TAPAS and an OPEN BAR all night long.

*Mom went to another bar while I went to this networking event.

After two hours of socializing (with my worldly friends and mentors), Mom wondered over to see if I was ok… I guess I should have checked in/texted, but hey – the wine was free and I was having one hell of a time. As soon as Mom peeked in, the ROOSTERGNN team invited her in as well – which meant free wine for mom too. Score.

(ROOSTERGNN, 2016)
We all continued to chat about life, and work, and love (ps. Tinder is also big in Romania and Austria!).

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(ROOSTERGNN, 2016)

(pps. I’ve discovered that every 20-ish girl around the world is facing the exact same fears and insecurities as I am = WHAT A RELIEF.)

Our conversations were (if I can be cheesy for a second) actually life changing for me. I felt a sense of security and an intense new bond with all of these people who I had just met.

I also got a chance to have more in-depth conversations with my Mentors (Martin, Patricia, Max), as well as my awesome seminar leader Pablo! Seeing everyone relaxed and  outside of the classroom was great. We also go to meet everyone in the other seminar being held alongside ours = even more new friends to make.

For those wondering, the free tapas included: various cheeses, breads, meats, Spanish omelettes, octopus, olives, etc…and it was the bomb.

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(ROOSTERGNN, 2016)

As the night continued to wind down, the ROOSTERGNN team headed home, but the party for us interns was just getting started. Martin agreed to take us all (Mom included) to a bar further down the street. After a round of tequila shots, we all ventured there together – I believe it was called La Bicycletta (it was super hipster).

Now, I could try to go into more detail about the night from here, but my memory is a bit fuzzy on this one! I also can’t risk letting any of the many top secret stories (or secrets) that I’ve learnt about my new friends, slip. Let’s just say – I didn’t make it back to the hotel until 3am – it was a ton of fun – and I’ll never forget it.

13615373_10153554863220738_2466481624964580465_n(ROOSTERGNN, 2016)

 

DAY 6 – July 8th, 2016

Our hangovers kept us in bed a bit longer today…

However, when we did get up – we managed to have one of the most incredible days we’ve had in Spain so far!

We cabbed to Plaza Mayor – but somehow completely missed the true location until later that day.

We stopped in at the main Mercado – where there are 50+ small restaurant food and drink options – you also order whatever you want and can take it all over the market – leaving your drink glass anywhere for retrieval.

We ordered cheese and meats, along with a Spanish omelette, brie-filled something, and wine – standard…. there were also AMAZING desserts, but we somehow managed to stay strong.

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After we took in the whole market, we kept walking, making our way (eventually) to…

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Ok, tbh, we got lost for a while… but it sure was stunning!

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Eventually we came across a stunning cathedral – called No Sa Almudena. And although I am no longer a consistently practicing Catholic, I felt a deeply spiritual presence upon my entrance into this building.

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The cathedral was filled with religious art, stunning stained glass, statues, and tributes. My heart deepened as I came across the many intricate paintings and statues of Jesus – facing prosecution, carrying the cross, having thorns pressed deeply into his head, the virgin Mary’s cries, his stone cold body, and of his first true encounter with God – a very rare visual sighting in Western religious art.

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We wondered the entire cathedral and made our peace, while also igniting a candle for the loved ones we are worried about back home… may they too find peace in their suffering.

And again, while I am not a deeply religious person, I’ve found myself truly valuing my Catholic upbringing on this trip… I am happy that I can understand and appreciate this stunning art… knowing the stories, and knowing the global significance of these works.

Ive also felt deeply spiritual on this trip… attempting to learn more about the world, and about myself… it’s been very enlightening.

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From here we ventured just across the way to the Royal Palace or The Palacio Real de Madrid.

“The Palacio Real de Madrid (literally: Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but is only used for state ceremonies. King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.”

Thanks again Wikipedia.

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Ps. Way to go King Felipe VI – and I don’t blame you for wanting to downsize…. this place is BEYOND HUGE.

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Although I couldn’t take pictures on our tour of the inside of most of the palace, here’s a few images I pulled from the web……

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Both the decor and history was mind-blowing.

The walls were draped in the richest of satins and velvets and wallpapers… I’ve never seen ANYTHING like it.

The ceilings were also incredible… hand painted and extraordinary.

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Here’s mom and I outside the building.
We also got to check out all of the royal armoury (again no photos allowed)… but AMAZING.

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Following our tour of the Palace, we walked our way to Plaza Mayor…which we finally found! (And thank-god – because we were starving).

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We went through the various souvenir shops and took a seat at one of the street-centred restaurants in the square. Here’s our paella, yum!!

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After dinner we continued to walk until we hit Puerto De Sol, a shopping district!

It was a “happy surprise”… aka: we had no idea where we were going.

However, once we realized where we were, we knew how close we were to one of the places I wanted to see most – Cibeles.

Here it is… I’m never coming home.

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We then decided our tired feet could take no more and ventured back to the hotel.

Ps. I was awake ALL NIGHT thinking about it all….

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DAY 7 – July 9th, 2016

Today was museum day!

After our *strong* morning coffee, we ventured out to Museum Prado – the biggest art museum here in Madrid. As we hadn’t purchased our tickets in advance, we were told we would have to wait about 15  minutes in line, (which doesn’t sound long, but in the heat this can feel much longer!). Thankfully, most of the line was covered with large umbrellas – protecting my very delicate skin.

Ps. Madrid has sun protection figured out – having huge SQUARE umbrellas everywhere. Canada needs to cut it out with circular ones – square makes much more sense in my opinion.

Once into the Prado, we purchased our tickets (one normal admission and one slightly more expensive one that included the Prado Guide – which is about an inch and a half thick).

The book, and museum, contain the following types of art…
– Romanesque Paintings
– Gothic Paintings
– Renaissance Paintings
– Still Life Paintings
– Lots of Goya
– Romanticism
– Realism
– Sculpture/ Statue
– And many, many more…

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This is what the main gallery hall once looked like, and now looks like.

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This photo gives you an idea of how large the building is.

Although we were not allowed to take any photos inside the museum, here are some of my favourite works of art – found also inside of my Prado Guide (which you can purchase in virtually any language).

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The most famous of paintings I came across was Velazquez’s Las Medians, or TheFamily of Philip IV, 1656 – where the infanta Margarita is being flanked by two maids. Velazquez also painted himself into the picture – as himself, painting Margarita (left).

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Velazquez also impressed me because not only did he paint portraits of the wealthy and royal, but he also painted those whose bodies were more “unique” – those suffering from dwarfism, the extremely obese, and those with versions of down-syndrome.

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Although it is hard to tell on this matte page, this painting is truly extraordinary.  The colours and textures pop off the canvas, telling a story of their own. I fell in love with Bautista Maino because his religious art is much less gothic, and much more joyful. As you can see in this scene, the christ child has just been born and is being offered gifts from the three wise men.

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Toledo also blew me away – constructing religious art built for the most stunning of palaces and cathedrals… look at all of that gold.

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By far, my favourite painter is Rubens. Rubens religious art is so graphic and so intense, that it gave me chills.

Amongst his other art included a jealous wife feeding her husband their sons head at dinner… take that in.

Above is Rubens painting of the three graces – women with very round and beautifully “imperfect” bodies by today’s standards, but whom were the definition of beauty in their time.

Ok, I think that’s enough art for right now…

Following our walk of the never-ending Prado (we didn’t even see eveything), mom and I walked to El Retiro park.

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I had wanted to go out on one of the boats, but it was so hot, I knew I would FRY.
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Along the way were various patios, vendors and snack trucks. We walked along the man-made fountain until we made our way to the Crystal Palace – made completely out of glass.

We then walked to the Reina Sofia museum, which was free in the afternoon. It was not quite what we expected…

Art by: Remy Zaugg

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Following our long walk in the lusciously green park, and all of our museum stops, Mom and I decided we deserved an delicious meal.

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We headed back to the hotel and searched online for a good pasta restaurant… and BOY DID WE FIND IT.

La Tagliatella is now my favourite place on earth.

I’ve never had pasta this good.
It was emotional.

Food COMA… I’m still dreaming about it.

DAY 8 – July 10th, 2016

Today was the last day of weekend I would have here in Madrid, which meant Mom and I planned a full day of fun! Before we even arrived in Spain, I had researched places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see… and at the top of that list was the Rastro Flea Market.

Don’t ask me why, but I LOVE flea markets. I think it has something to do with discovering hidden gems, almost like digging through (a lot of crap) to find a few super cool treasures????

We took a cab to the market but once we got there we had no clue where to begin – their were vendors EVERYWHERE.

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For the most part, vendors sold clothing, leathered goods, jewelry, and accessories.

I managed to find some pretty great gifts for my brother’s girlfriend, my little sister, and my boyfriend…. but I wont yet disclose what those are (because they haven’t gotten them yet!).

For myself I bought the prettiest multi-colored circle throw blanket, or wrap, or wall décor, or rug… to be honest, I’m not totally sure what it is, but I love it. Here’s a little peek.

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I also bought a beautiful leather backpack…. I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time… And this one was much cheaper than the $300 one’s at Roots. I’m very much looking forward to travelling the world with this sweet baby.

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Note: Mom bought two purses.

As we finished up at the market, we found a little outdoor patio where we stopped for a super cold beer and some “American-type” food. The food was unremarkable, but the ice cold beer was beyond perfect.

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We then headed home into the MUCH NEEDED air conditioning… it was pushing 45 degrees… and the market was 100% outside.

It comes as no surprise then, that we passed right out and had our first real siesta!!! When we woke for dinner, we walked down to Volapie, a restaurant just at the corner of the street our hotel is on, and ordered some super yummy tapas.

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It just so happened that tonight was also the final game in the EURO CUP, and although neither my mom and I are real soccer (or football) fans, we watched (on the patio) as that graceful moth landed on Ronaldo’s beautiful cheek, kissing away his tears…

After we ate, we headed over to my girl Juanyata’s to get some ice cream and wine to go….

This ice cream is the PERFECT size… and pairs greatly with the blog-writing I am doing right now. Cheers!

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DAY 9 – July 11th, 2016

Today was our site visit to EL MUNDO – the second largest newspaper in Spain! The interns from both sections (me included), all met up at the head offices of RoosterGNN and then took the metro as group… so that we wouldn’t get lost on our way there.

Turns out EL MUNDO is outside of the city core and kind of in the middle of nowhere… Here’s the main building from the outside.

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Now the El Mundo building also holds a bunch of other media papers, magazines, radio stations, etc. including…. MARCA (an all sports paper), TELVA (fashion magazine), Golf Digest, Expansion, player, ARTE, EL Cultura…… and the list goes on.

We got to tour most of the building, which was awesome! Here are some pics.


Can you spot Madonna above?

What interested me most was TELVA… the fashion magazine, shocker. Below is a picture I took in their head offices… everyone’s outfits were on point.

13695250_10153566355615738_382800591_nAfter our site visit, we all headed back to Diego De Leon on the metro and went our separate ways. I met up with Mom and we both went home to work… I’ve got a deadline coming up!!!! Ah!

After working for a bit, we decided to head out in search of a new restaurant to try. We walked around for about a half hour and neither of us could make up our minds on what we wanted – typical. Finally, we agreed that we would stop at the very next patio (btw every restaurant in Spain has street patio).

We took a seat at DDIEGO (in the logo the first D is backwards, just to be cool). We were happy to recognize some of our favourite comfort foods on the menu…. here’s what we got.

The first photo is yes, chicken fingers… but they weren’t just any chicken fingers, mom’s been talking about them ever since. The second picture is battered brie with raspberry sauce… omg.

We also got this UNREAL salad… with toasted goat cheese, tomatoes, and HONEY, YES HONEY glaze. Im obsessed… I think we may go back here again.

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DAY 10 – July 12th, 2016

Today at RoosterGNN, my fellow interns and I were more formally introduced to Benjamin Jones, another of our RGNN Expert & Mentor’s – whom we had met last week, over drinks, at the Tapas night.

Benjamin is a…
– Foreign correspondent expert in Spanish politics, culture, economics, and business, travel and sports
– Correspondent in the Gulf War, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union
– And has worked for main large papers such as The New York Times

Here he is!

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He first passed around his press accreditations… from Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc. that he had accumulated throughout his life. These keep-sakes were truly very moving to see… he had been so many places, seen so many things.

Ben then went on to explain exactly what he, as a foreign correspondent does and for whom:

Foreign Correspondent
– A reporter who works in and reports from a country not his or her own

Media Using Foreign Correspondents
– Tv channels
– General interest newspapers
– General interest magazines
– Online media or the online versions of the above
– News agency or the “wires” = THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCK OF JOURNALISM
– Specialized publications (trade journals, special interest magazines and websites, etc.)

Ben, now in Madrid, works for Hotel News Now – covering the hotel industry/ Air BnB news/ articles about the increase in Chinese tourists here in Spain, etc. = All business related.

For future reference: AN 800 WORD STORY PAYS $500 – ROUGHLY 4 SOURCES.

PS. DID YOU KNOW:
Spain is the #3 most popular tourist destination behind France and the US??? I Didn’t.

Ben then went on to explain how his profession is changing… more women (considered more compassionate), younger (less family responsibility), etc…

He said that $$$$ also plays a huge part in his profession as the cost of maintaining a staff correspondent in a foreign area is EXPENSIVE (housing, support staff, salary….). Due to this, large media companies are now hiring younger people who will cost less (less experience), and are also hiring people who already live in these places, (so they don’t have to pay to send and keep them there) – neat!!

Ben then let us know “how it’s done”, including tips about cultivating local sources and researching the culture, history, customs, etc. of the country you’re in. He also gave us some insight of “a day in the life…” which was fascinating!

To end off his presentation, Ben informed us that if we were thinking of becoming a foreign correspondent, we need to go places where there is BIG NEWS happening all the time – for example, Brazil… 5 years leading up to the Olympics.

He also verified some global hot topics; climate change, women’s and children’s rights, refuges, Islamic fundamentalism, global economic and finance and cultural exchanges….

I think this is definitely a career path I’d love to take… to see the world… to report on things that REALLY matter… however, I dont think my Dad would be too happy if I moved to Israel.

When the workshop was done, I met up with mom across the street and we headed over to the pub for a gluten free Ambar – yummy! We then did some investigative journalism for an upcoming story I’m writing about local Madrid boutiques… for every woman. Stay tuned for that!

We stopped in at a bunch of different stores so I could observe the vibe, clothing, and culture. I took pictures and yes, did a little shopping – I ONLY BOUGHT ONE THING THOUGH.

Some of the stores were unimpressive, but others were super rad. I also did some online research to find some other brands I thought were interesting.

I also finished up my other article due this week entitled: Euro-Trip: Packing For Rookies, in which I act like a pro at packing… even though this is my first time here. But hey – I think it turned out really well… you should see it by the end of this week.

That’s pretty much all from today folks! Just finishing up some more homework… and trying to stay on top of this blog I’ve committed to!

I’m EXHAUSTED!

(Ok, I’ll also admit that I went back to La Tagliatella tonight for more pasta….and pizza…and cheesecake)


OH! And one of my instagrams was featured on @theabroadjournal COOL!

Ok off to bed – 9am wake up call for our site visit to Matador Madrid, Madrid’s most innovative cultural centre! Goodnight!

DAY 11 -July 13th, 2016 

Today my fellow interns and I all met up separately to the location of our final site visit – The Matadero.

“Matadero” translates into “slaughterhouse” in Spanish, which is exactly what the building used to be… ouuuuuuu creepy.

I arrived by cab, travelling 15 minutes deeper into the city from our hotel. I knew I had arrived at my destination by the huge water tower that stood in front of me, reading, MATADERO.

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Our seminar coordinator Pablo had told us a bit about what we would be doing, but it was even better than I imagined.

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Our Matadero tour guide provided us with a brief introduction of the site itself, and then Pablo presented us with a publicity-tailored slideshow – explaining the various jobs available for media professionals, and how the Matedaro advertises, etc.

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We were then taken through the building, given permission to explore the various show rooms – the performance theatres, the tube-built cinema, the typography exhibit, and the modern art room. Here are some photos.

 

As an added bonus, the KING OF SPAIN was there while we were… but sadly, we didn’t get to see him.

The theatre side of me was very intrigued by their many performance studios…. and my artistic side couldn’t get enough of the new modern innovations, constructed by Madrid’s finest new art protégées.

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The coolest invention I saw with this…. can you guess what it is?

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Ok. It’s a lice sucker. Yes. It sucks lice from your hair.

This is a photo from the cinema, the structure made entirely out of tubing and LED lights.

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To end off our tour, we were allowed entry into the old freezer room – which is now awarded to a new artist every month???? (I can’t recall right now) – to completely redesign, and showcase their talents.

This is DARYA VON BERNER’s (SELFI) exhibit.

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Following the conclusion of our visit, Katie, Jaclyn, Sofie, Marita, Veronica, Stella (from edition A) and I head down the street to find somewhere to eat. We all got lunch and drinks and exchanged funny stories – it was a great to have all the girls together!

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I had this super yummy sandwich – Glu Glu.

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After lunch we all went our separate ways and I took the metro back to my hotel to meet up with my mom. I was tempted to nap, today having been my earliest school day, but instead I pushed through and convinced mom that we should go back to Grand via and actually shop.

We hopped on the metro (which I am now a pro at) and hit up PRIMARK – which is apparently a big deal in Boston, and the rest of Europe, because of how cheap it is?? Personally, I was SO OVERWHELMED I bought absolutely nothing there. There were so many people, and so many floors, that I couldn’t handle it. See for yourself.

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Here’s some more.

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AND THIS WAS A WEDNESDAY PEOPLE.

Mom and I then looked for less busy stores, in and out of busy Mango and Zara, and then finally to one of my favourite new stores – OYSHO (read about it in my upcoming article). Oysho sells lingerie, sleepwear, active wear and beach wear… so basically everything I want in a store. I bought a stunning long navy dress – which I’m sure you’ll see in my Paris blog ;). I also bought some pjs (I love pjs), a bralette, and the prettiest robe – you’ll likely see this in my Paris feed too.

After walking then busy street, and finally buying something where I actually handle being, mom and I grabbed a quick seat on a Grand Via patio for some sangria and little baby tapas.

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The most interesting part of this visit (and dinner) was that we had sat close to many low-key working girls, who weren’t really all that low key. We watched as additional women in high heels gathered and paced, their handler/ pimp walking casually between them, across to various side streets to chat briefly then move around again… shamefully, we were intrigued by all of this.

I read online that 90% of prostitutes in Spain have gone through human trafficking, worldwide – making the pimps more vulnerable to getting in trouble – because the girls aren’t legal citizens and therefore if caught, remain in legal limbo… sad.

Eventually, we took the metro home and here I am now… preparing for my last day tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast it has gone by!!!

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