May 15, the day before I left for Israel, is known as “Madrid Day”, because it’s the feast of San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid. Usually the entire weekend is full of fun events that most people go to see because they don’t have school or work. Naturally, we decided we had to take part in the festivities and were very glad we did. They’re all about celebrating Madrid history and culture, with cocido madrileño and the chulapo costumes everywhere, so it was a great thing to experience during the end of our semester.
Though there are events and special happenings throughout Madrid, most of it is concentrated in the the Parque de San Isidro in the south of the city. We must have seen thousands of people in that park and the fairgrounds. There were tons of shops, food stands, and drink stands setup throughout the whole thing, as well as a stage for concerts and exhibitions of the traditional chotis folk dance. We even saw a huge amusement park set up with rides and a Ferris wheel, as well as a much of games and stands setup throughout the park. There were also tons and tons of people hanging out and drinking in every open spot that wasn’t taken up by one of these attractions or stands, something that isn’t totally common because Madrid usually doesn’t allow public drinking and has so many green spaces that they’re not usually concentrated in such a small area.
We spent most of the day in that area and came back later that night for more hanging out and a concert by Mägo de Oz, a Spanish folk and heavy metal band that seemed to be very popular. Despite still being a little sad that everyone else left, we’re really glad we got the chance to see this celebration of Madrid culture during some of our last few weeks here.
Yesterday, Thursday, we also spent some more time ticking off the last things we needed to do in Madrid. After souvenir shopping we finally made it to the Almudena Cathedral and were able to go to the top of it and see view of Madrid and the Royal Palace. I can see why we hadn’t been there before… it was definitely a little underwhelming after us having seen almost all of Spain’s best and most beautiful cathedrals throughout the semester. Christy and I also finally finished our churro quest and made it to the last shop on our list. This one was much smaller and further from the other ones, so it was probably good we waited until now to do it. It’s crazy to think that we’re leaving Spain so soon and that these were probably our last churros for a long time.