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sunday, june 21, 2015 the solstice
After getting a late start to the day due to a Saturday evening of Mexican food and tons of Spanish conversation (which I had been longing for and was incredibly happy to have), we headed to Marianne's for breakfast. She was kind enough to make some chocolate chip muffins and lattes (mine had a heart in the foam!). When we went out earlier last week, Marianne had mentioned to me that I should check out El País, a local newspaper just to see what's going on in Madrid and maybe find some things to use in my classes. She was kind enough to get me the Sunday paper, so I chilled on the couch with my muffin and latte and read the paper for a bit. Along with the muffin we each had a pionono, which Paul purchased in Granada. They're very popular there, and Marianne had requested that we bring her a few. I would say that piononos are basically small, pastry-like crème brûlées that are cakey on the outside and then creamy on the inside. There is a component of caramelized sugar, so it reminds me very much of crème brûléee or a flan, perhaps. In any case, they're really good.

The idea of today was to head to the rastro, which is a local outdoor flea market that only pops up on Sundays. We were going to go last Sunday, but we started the day too late and didn't get there in time. Well, the same thing happened today. We had every intention of going there and making it on time, but since it was so nice out (I hear y'all have been getting a lot of rain in the States), we couldn't find any bikes at the bike stations to make our way down there. So we headed there on foot and by the time we arrived, they had closed up for the day. Paul and Marianne decided we should take a break from walking and get some lunch, so we went to a local place that basically served every part of the animal. I wasn't feeling too hungry since I was full from muffins and piononos, and they ordered callos, which I had had last week. I did, however, grab a quick Cornetto from the local alimentación store. I had seen these ice cream cones everywhere, and I felt that today would be the perfect day to try one since it was so hot out. It didn't disappoint.

Sundays in Spain are very social days, but there's also a relaxed atmosphere to them. We were out and about for quite some time, and at one point someone got the brilliant idea to order Domino's pizza and watch a movie. I was more than ecstatic to participate, so that's what we did. The pizza was everything I was hoping it would be, even though I'm typically not a fan of Domino's pizza. It actually tasted more like Pizza Hut than it did Domino's, and I was okay with that. We watched Pitch Perfect since Paul hadn't seen it and it was one of few movies that Marianne actually owned. Along with our pizza we had a huge bag of gummy candies and chips and homemade habañero salsa. It was a weird mixture of food, and I mainly stuck to the pizza.

Once the movie ended and we felt stuffed on pizza, we thought it would a good idea to head to the river and watch the sunset since it was the longest day of the year. We got on some bikes and made our way through the city streets to get to the river area. As it turns out, everyone else had the same idea. There were so many people along the pathway along the river, and they were walking or running for exercise or rollerblading or biking. I loved that there were tons of people out enjoying the evening and the social interactions. It was very indicative as to what Spanish life is like, and while we do see that in Indianapolis, it was in much greater numbers here. I didn't have my Canon PowerShot G7X camera on me to take pictures of the sunset, so my phone camera had to suffice for taking pictures. They turned out alright, and unfortunately I think we arrived a little late to see the actual sunset. In any case, it was still nice to be out on the river and catching the last few moments of the sun. We then took a long bike ride back up to Malasaña where I bought an orange Fanta that I was craving, and then we called it a night.

Today also marked the halfway point of my time in Europe. Before leaving on this trip, time seemed to go by fairly fast, and people had told me that my time here in Europe would also go by just as quickly. From what I'm seeing, that's not really the case. It's been three weeks that I've been here, but to me it doesn't feel like it's gone by fast. It could be because I'm taking in each moment and not letting anything get by that all the moments add up to make me feel like I'm not losing time. I'm not about to get deep here with this topic, but it was something I've noticed. That's all!

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