October 7th was Vogue Fashion's Night Out in Madrid, held in the swanky barrio of Salamanca (not to be confused with the actual city of Salamanca). All the stores along the main drag in Salamanca had DJs and bars, in an attempt to get people drunk so they would be highly overpriced clothing. My girlfriends and I got dressed up and headed out to dance in jewelry stores, keep an eye out for models and celebs, and score free champagne.
|Sweet graphic design, bro.|
|Champagne in L'Occitane. If you don't speak French, that rhymes nicely|
|In a shoe store where the cheapest pair cost a minimum of €300|
|I tried to be fashionable but my host mom made me wear a cardigan...|
|DJ in the jewelry store|
|From San Ginés Chocolateria|
That same weekend, Pepa (one of the monitoras) invited the whole Vassar-Wesleyan group to her family's mountain house for an afternoon of swimming and paella-eating. I've known Pepa for two years because she was the Spanish Language Fellow at Vassar my freshman year, and I took a conversation class with her. Anyway, the mountain house is in a town called Robledo about 1 hour away from Madrid. I couldn't take pictures because the winding roads had my wildly carsick, but the sierras (mountains) of Madrid look so much like the mountains of Santa Barbara, it was insane. Oak trees, chaparral, everything. Every time we got to a viewpoint, I kept expecting to see the Pacific Ocean--but instead, I just saw the sprawling grey blur of Madrid.
|Sammi, me, Danielle, Lucy, Kelsey, & Kat|
|[photo cred: Kat]|
|Pepa, master paella chef|
The first paella I ever ate was made for me by Pepa at Vassar. She apologized profusely for it, saying she wasn't used to making it on a stove and with such a small pan. I had no idea how else you would make it...and now, two years later, I got to see Pepa in action making real Spanish paella--in a pan the size of a toboggan, perched on top of its own special grill. She didn't use a recipe or measuring cups, just threw everything into the pan, but it turned out perfectly.
|Chunks of mystery meat...mm!|
|Get in my bellllllly|
|Pepa singing along|
|Super rad external elevators|
The second I walked into the room where Guernica is housed, I got chills and tears came to my eyes. It’s so incredibly huge and so incredibly powerful. No photo can do justice to the raw emotion Picasso put into every brushstroke. That’s what’s so different about seeing paintings in real life—the brush stroke is what really speaks about the artist’s thought process, the artist’s mental state. Some parts of the painting are thin, bare, as if Picasso was painting as rashly as possible. In others the paint drips down from lines, and in others you can see ghostly sketches that weren’t painted over thoroughly enough. And curiously enough, the horse in the center is the only figure that’s contoured; it’s also the most re-worked figure, as the first version of the painting had its head upside down, grotesquely contorted.
All that emotional art analysis made us hungry, so we grabbed tapas at Estado Puro, a restaurant famous for its innovative take on classic tapas dishes. We drank the best sangria I've ever had and grubbed on eggplant with honey-sherry sauce, mussels with a delicious mystery cayenne sauce, ham croquetas, and fried potatoes topped with chives and roe.
|Eating the fruit slices at the end is the best part of sangria|
|The roe-topped potatoes|