Today I’m going to write about a couple of awesome events that have gone on since our return from Barcelona: La Semana Cervantina and a class field trip to Real Madrid’s stadium!
Tuesday the 9th of October was Día de Cervantes, a holiday here in Alcalá, and the opening day of the medieval market that made its home in the center of town for Cervantes Week. To celebrate the life and work of Alcalá’s historical hometown hero Miguel de Cervantes, the streets were filled with merchants sporting medieval attire and selling everything from clothing to jewelry to antique weapons to children’s toys. These booths were tons of fun to explore, but the real reason Amanda and I spent so many hours browsing the market was the food! Pastries, candies, coffee, and kabobs are just a few of the things we tried over the duration of the festival.
In addition to shopping and eating, we also enjoyed the entertainment. Each day at a designated time, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and an entourage of musicians and animal tamers marched through the market, looking like they had jumped straight out of the book and were off to harass some windmills. We also managed to catch a cooking demonstration, some hilarious jugglers, and the end of a fire-breathing show. This wonderful week was definitely an upside to studying in Alcalá during the fall semester.
The festival ended on Sunday, and at first it was a little sad to see Alcalá without all of the colorful flags and banners, but there was still plenty to look forward to. This week, my class The Global Dimension of European Soccer had a field trip to Estadio Bernabéu, the stadium of Real Madrid. Earlier, we had been told that the trip would only be open to people in the class, so we thought Amanda wouldn’t be able to tag along the way I did on the trip to Soria. However, on Tuesday, a friend let us know that there were a couple extra spots, and Amanda managed to snag one, so we both got to go!
So, yesterday afternoon, we met up with my class at the train station in Alcalá and we headed to Madrid. The stadium is an impressive structure, with a capacity of around 85,000 people. If our first thought was about the size of the stadium, our second thought was “Wait, are we at UF?” The stands are totally Gator orange and blue! (I might have to support Atletico instead…)
After viewing the stadium from the top of the stands, we descended through a museum sort of area, which paid homage to Real Madrid squads of present and past. It was neat to see all the trophies, jerseys, cleats, and other memorabilia from the course of a hundred years of Real Madrid history. Then we got to go down to the edge of the field and sit on the bench, which is not a bench at all, but a row of luxury padded seats.
Overall, it was a great trip!