Fútbol (soccer in the US) is pretty big here; bigger than football, baseball, hockey, and every other sport combined. It’s insane. The game last night (Real Madrid Vs Atlético Madrid) was absolutely nuts. Beforehand, we wandered the streets. We ran into dozens of lovely people who we took pictures with (for no real reason) and who taught us chants.
We went out to a bar to watch the game. Somehow I expected to be able to sit, or to be able to move, or to be able to turn or breathe, but it was BEYOND packed. Fighting my way to the bathroom was quite the experience. After 80 minutes when Real scored their first goal and tied up the game, everyone threw everything: Tapas? Yup, Full meals? Yup. Beer? Yup. Water? Yup. Empty cups?...You get the idea. Within the next 10-15 minutes, Real scored again and again and again; the crowd getting crazier with each successive goal. My clothes were THE textbook definition of stained (although my WHITE jersey is now completely stain-free, thank you washing machine). Afterward there were parades and chanting for hours, even though I went home fairly early (2 am or so), I wasn’t able to sleep until much later. It was a great time. Fútbol truly brings everyone together here.
As I was walking home, I saw a bunch of cars with rowdy people waiting at a red light, so wearing my jersey I raised my hand and shouted to them. They replied, “Tenfold”. They shouted and jumped and raised Real Madrid flags out of their cars and it was wonderful. Never have I felt so empowered.
Also, as I was running today, (my jersey is now my running shirt because, I don’t know, it just is), and a bunch of kids shouted “A Madrid” at me while I ran past. I love these people.
We recently visited Toledo, which is a short trip from Madrid. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep the night before and I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to enjoy the trip or not, but it was amazing. Originally we were going to go on a train tour, but we decided against it because it looked overly touristy. Instead, we (there were five of us) just walked around all day.
Normally I try to avoid looking like an American, but I decided to let it go this time because all we really did was walk around taking pictures. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I was in more selfies then than my entire life. It was relaxing and fairly uneventful but great to see another city outside of Madrid.