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My name is Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye. I am originally from Providence, RI and graduated from Classical High School in Providence. I attended the University of Rhode Island and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. While I was completing my undergraduate coursework,...

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Viva Espana!!!

Posted by Kevin Olasanoye on 07/12/2010 at 12:25 PM

This past weekend was the last long weekend before I head back home and I did not want to waste it. So me and a couple of RWU Londoners jumped on a plane and went to Madrid. I had such an amazing time that I decided to dedicate the bulk of this entry to what I saw, heard, and experienced. Here goes…

We landed on Thurdsay night and decided to go into the city to do some exploring. Luckily for us, Madrid has a Metro system much like the one in London (although, unlike our British friends, the Spanish were good enough to install air conditioning in their underground trains. You have no idea how hot it can get when you are a few hundred feet underground without any air-conditioning surrounded by a whole bunch of people). We went to La Latina, which is a trendy part of town where young people go to hang out (unfortunately for us, we didn’t see any of them. It might have had to do with the fact that it was 102° outside at 10pm or the fact that no one goes out in Spain until midnight, including young children). We ate the most amazing and authentic Spanish cuisine at a local restaurant and decided to pack it in for the night.

Over the next two days, we visited the Reina Sofia Museum (this was the Spanish cultural/modern art museum. There were some really cool exhibits, but I don’t really get modern art so it was tough for me) and the Prado Museum (this museum houses the world’s largest collection of paintings and sculptures. There were tons of religious paintings, mostly depicting the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, at various stages of their lives. My favorite piece was a bronze statue of Queen Isabella that dated back to the 15th century). Our tour of the city of Madrid also included an Egyptian temple that dated back to the 4th century B.C and el Palacio de Oriente, which used to house the royal family (today it is used primarily for ceremonial purposes. However, the palace has nearly 2,800 rooms and is next to an ornate church that was opened by Pope John Paul II before he died). Of course, with all this touring, we made sure to eat some traditional Spanish dishes like paella (a rice based dish) and rabo de toro (stewed ox tail), have our ciestas (because everyone in Spain is up until the wee hours in the morning, it is common for folks to get some much needed rest during the afternoon hours), and stay hydrated with tons of sangria (It was nearly 100° every day we were in Spain. Not that we needed an excuse).

Then, of course, there was Sunday and the World Cup Final. As you might expect, the Spaniards love their football and they are passionate about their national team (perhaps the best part of the trip was seeing the crowds lining up in the heat at La Plaza de Callao hours before the game wearing their red and yellow football shirts). Since it was the country’s very first appearance in the championship match, everyone was literally stirring with excitement about the prospects of being crowned los campiones del mundo (world champions). We learned a very popular national song, Viva Espana, which the locals sing during the matches and in pubs (one of the pubs we went to went insane when the song came on. Of course, the only words I could pronounce with any confidence were viva and Espana, so I fit right in). My only regrets were that we couldn’t stay for the party that ensued after Spain won the game in thrilling fashion during extra time (oddly enough, after watching virtually every match in this year’s World Cup from London and Dublin, I managed to miss all but two minutes of the final match, including the game winning goal as I was commuting back to London for today’s class).

This week is my last week in London and I have quite a few things I haven’t done (still haven’t eaten fish and chips yet) and places I haven’t visited (I have yet to have my audience with the Queen, but don’t worry, I am working on it). I have an ambitious schedule set up for the next few days, and it doesn’t help that we have a bunch of reading assigned for this week. Let’s see how much we can get crammed into a week. Until next time, Adios amigos!