Mi amigo madrileño


In Valencia I met my friend María José from the Tandem app where I practice Spanish with online strangers. I have used this app prior to coming to Spain, continuing throughout the semester.

Right at the end of my time here, I made a new friend in the app, Víctor from Madrid. We made plans to hang out at a park towards the edge of the city (that conveniently was on my curated list of things to see).


Barajas airport and the city skyline

Víctor is practicing English so he can get a job as an air traffic controller. He works at a company that makes chat bots. He has traveled a lot, highlights being Finland and Costa Rica. I was flattered that he was impressed with my meager Spanish ability, but we soon digressed into mostly English conversations.

While riding along with him, I learned that Madrid has pretty strict limitations on where drivers can do in the city, and you can be fined just for entering certain parts of the city depending on the time and where you reside.

Quedemos otra vez

Notes on how English speakers pronounce things quickly

An offer

Víctor also mentioned that the following day he was planning to drive to Santander where he was visited many times before, and I could tag along. It would last from that Thursday evening until Sunday. I had nothing going on after finals, so I gladly accepted this offer. I quickly packed a few days worth of clothes into my backpack and prepared for the afternoon departure. We left from his house, where I met his other family members.

Santander, Cantábria

On the northern coast

The catch

I got into the car to Santander with nowhere to stay. Víctor’s friend has a flat there, but he was taking finals and there was no guarantee that I’d be able to crash his studies.

Temporary accomodations

The room was located right above a Dia supermarket where I grabbed some fruit and pastry in the morning.

Friday morning walk

In addition to sea lions, the mini zoo had penguins. There were crowds of little kids there, presumably on a field trip.

“va-al agua!”
the little kids chanted incessantly at the penguins standing on a rock in the water.

Palace on the peninsula

Change of accomodations

Big fan of the Star Wars pillow I was provided


Food of Cantábria

Rabas, cocido montañés, pulpo, and more



Back to Madrid

Starting off my last full day in Madrid at the churreria

One last thing

Víctor and I got together for dinner on my last night in Madrid. He had been recommending this place for a while so we finally got to check it out.

Chic place with tasty food, the chicken had an almost caramely sauce

Surprise gift from Víctor

Edu, Víctor, and me

He left me with a photo to remember the trip. Written on the back:

“El mejor souvenir son los recuerdos”
(The best souvenir is the memories)

The night ended with an exhilarating drive through the illuminated city on the back of Víctor’s motorbike, and goodbye hugs.

Heading home

Adios, querida Madrid

Back in Boston

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