Thursday, July 8, 2010

Halaaaaa Españaaaaa!

Here's a picture of some of the crowd outside of Bernabeu (Real Madrid's stadium) where I went to watch the game tonight.  There are big screens of the game all around the outside of the stadium, and it was just jam-packed with fans.  I'll put up pics I took tomorrow... the one up above I snatched from a news site.

The people just went wild though.  After the game, everyone from Bernabeu left via this main street in the city, Castellana.  A couple cars were trying to get through... and some of the fans would just jump on the cars in front, run across the top of the vehicle and jump off in back.  They'd go 3-4 people at a time.  And of course, the people pounded on the busses that tried to make their way through the crowd.  Singing and pounding in the metro trains...  Endless honking and chants ALL over the city.  When I finally made it back to my apartment, which is now waaay on the east end of the city, all the cars out driving were honking as they went (still).

Viva España!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

finde: orgullo gay + conciertos + el partido + sol = perfecto

This weekend was the gay pride weekend in Madrid.  Thursday night I went out with some friends in Chueca, the gay district, and had a blast.

Friday night my friend Dani's band had a show:


Laura y yo
El grupo

Yesterday afternoon was the gay pride parade - TONS of fun and TONS of people:

I left the parade at 8 to meet up with some friends in Sol to watch the game.  And what a great win it was -- the city went crazy.

Only happy faces after the game

After the game we grabbed a bite to eat, then headed to Plaza de España where we stumbled upon a Kylie Minogue concert - part of the orgullo gay festival.

 Kylie Minogue concert in Plaza de España

Those are usually streets...

Mutriku: the huelga strikes again

The trip up north was nice and relaxing; we rented an apartment in Mutriku, a little town 40 minutes west of San Sebastian.  They say San Sebastian has the most beautiful beaches in Spain.

For those who don't know, San Sebastian is the upper east corner of Spain, part of the autonomous community of País Vasco (Basque country).  This is where the terrorist group ETA is from, made up of Basque nationalists and separatists.  Although only a small percentage of Basques support the violence and such of ETA, it was clear that week that we weren't in Madrid anymore...  

We arrived Thursday evening, while Spain was playing in the world cup.  Ibon, from whom we were renting the apartment, came and picked us up from the bus stop.  My friend Jimmy, anxious to get to the apartment and watch the second half of the game, asked him how we were doing.  Ibon asks us, "What game?"  Jimmy, completely surprised, tells him: dude... Spain... your country...
And the man tells us "we're basque", as to imply not Spanish, just Basque. Alrighty then.

The view from our apartment balcony

 One fish, two fish

Green, green, green

Playing in the sand

We spent lots of time under the sun.

One particular afternoon, Izzy tells me that a group of younger girls (age 9-12 I'd estimate) were staring at her.  I got up to look, and sure enough, these girls were blatantly staring at Iz and whispering to each other.  Then a boy comes up to Izzy and says: "You look Hannah Montana".  Izzy and I cracked up... those girls had thought Izzy was Hannah Montana!

And after that first boy initiated contact, Izzy was instantly surrounded by 15 little kids, shooting her questions left and right about her life.  Then one kid wanted to jump into the water with Izzy, so she did it and the kids were chanting "Is-a-belle! Is-a-belle!"  It was hilarious.

Izzy with her fans

Our plan for Tuesday, our last full day of the trip, was to spend the day in San Sebastian.  We got ourselves out of bed earlier than the previous days and head to the bus stop.  We wait. And wait. And wait.  Half an hour later, we decide the bus isn't coming.  I ask what day it is, and someone tells me it's the 29th, I remember seeing signs all over town with that number on them:

Bottom left in orange: "Huelga general"

We take a stroll through town to find the tourism office, to see if there are any other busses to San Sebastian.  Tourist office: closed.  There's a sign saying that the office is closed due to the strike, but that it will be opened tomorrow.  So we realize we're "stuck" in Mutriku for the day (can't complain about being stuck in a goregous little town on the ocean...).

Venture around to try and find food.  The only grocery store in town: closed.  Every single bar: closed.

We somehow managed with the remains of extra ingredientes from previous meals...

Then on Wednesday we had a little under two hours in San Sebastian between busses, so we ate at a nice restaraunt there.