This past weekend, Merilla ventured across the English Channel to finally (it’s been well over a month guys) visit Rachel in Madrid. It was three full days of adventure, embarrassing moments courtesy of Merilla, and delicious food (and drank). Let’s get started with a play-by-play of our epic weekend.
Merilla and Zander’s (aka the elusive bae) plane got in around 11:30 p.m. so nothing really happened on Wednesday. They managed to find their Airbnb without any trouble and went to bed ready to take on the next day with Merilla’s actual soulmate—you guessed it—Rachel!!
Rachel had her internship in the morning, so we found each other at the Prado Museum. Turns out, Rachel was in front of Zander and Merilla the entire time, so Merilla decided to follow Rachel quietly instead of catching up to her. Rachel sensed her other half near, so she turned around and ran into Merilla. Aw how sweet. Inside the Prado (nickname for Prado Museum) there was so much old school art that Merilla got really excited and even pulled out her camera (and not her phone) to snap a picture. At this point, a security guard ran over and put his hand in front of her camera and gave her a stern look. In her defense, there were no signs that explicitly said “no pictures.” After pretending to ponder about art, we went to VIPS (basically Denny’s) for lunch for the menú (That means “menu” I think…-Merilla). Because we’re soulmates, we got the same order: cobb salad, a hamburger with a freakin’ egg in the middle, and coffee. Merilla ordered in English, but was determined to get some Spanish phrases in the mix by the end of the trip (lol you’ll see how that goes). Next, we hit up the Tufts program center where Merilla met all of Rachel’s “friends” from Tufts and Skidmore that are in the program. This day started off great and ended on the biggest high note of the trip: churros and chocolate.
We are not kidding when we say that consuming churros and chocolate is a religious experience. Tbh, we don’t even know what churros are made of but we know they’re carbs, and that’s good enough for us. We could have eaten 20 times as many churros, but we couldn’t shell out the €€€ for that and our stomachs probably couldn’t handle it. Rachel’s “friends” were supposed to meet up with us, but they flaked because their “phone didn’t work” or they “didn’t feel well.” Ha. WHAT KIND OF FRIENDS ARE THOSE, HUH???? (Rachel has a theory that Merilla gave food poisoning to her friends so that Rachel would only spend her time with Merilla this weekend.)
We started off the day at a cute little café called La Infinito and then off we went to do more cool stuff. We went to the Reina Sofia museum where we could take pictures and found ourselves really creeped out because the entire third floor had lots of flashing lights, dark rooms, and loud, disorienting noises. There were a few people sitting down on a huge mat watching a short movie clip, and Rachel actually asked, “Are they part of the art?” Shoutout to that one Major: Undecided sketch. The Reina Sofia is the contemporary counterpart to the Prado. Every ~minimalist~ piece of artwork we passed was met with a, “I don’t get what’s going on. I could do this. A 12-year-old could do this” from Rachel. Pretty sure her art karma (if that’s even a thing) is really out of whack, but we had a bueno (aka jolly good) time immersing ourselves in the art.
Rachel had been hyping up this one restaurant, Tacazzo, to Merilla over Whatsapp for weeks, so when we finally went, it was v exciting. Merilla was mostly hyped up for the tintos de verano (essentially red wine and lemon soda) that came in huge glasses— and she was not disappointed. The entire day beforehand, Rachel taught Merilla how to say, “We would like three glasses of tintos de verano” in Spanish so that Merilla could order them herself the next day. But, sadly, gRillz chickened out and made Rachel do it.
At Tacazzo, the entire menu was in Spanish, but it was pretty easy to understand. You just picked your style (e.g. burrito), your meat (e.g. chicken), and your toppings. You didn’t even have to use full Spanish sentences. However, Merilla again got super nervous and just read out her list of topping in English, which was actually harder for everyone involved. We present to you Merilla’s first awkward Madrid encounter…
Merilla: Hi. I would like a chicken burrito. With onions…and lettuce and beans…and cheese…uh…guacamole and jalapeños and tomatoes…chipotle and rice.
Waitress: Puedes repetir eso? (Translates to “can you repeat that?”)
Merilla: *thinking she said, “I’m going to repeat it back to you” said nothing*
*awkward 10-second silence*
Rachel: She wants you to repeat it…
Merilla: Ohhhhhh…Yeah, OK.
The food was bomb af. Rachel really understands good Mexican food and alcohol. After some leisurely walks through the Retiro Park, we passed by the Crystal Palace. We got there right as they were closing so we didn’t get to go inside, but we got a solid picture out of it and that’s all that matters. It was at this point that we ran into another Tufts student studying in Madrid—George! And we bring you to Merilla’s second awkward encounter of the day, which was a complete trainwreck of a conversation with George due to the fact that she was a little tipsy/spacey from the tintos and her social skills are like a 2/10. Ask one of us for more details.
We went our separate ways for dinner (Rachel ate with her host mom) and came back together for our first night out at the bar. It should be noted that at dinner with Zander, Merilla knocked over a candle and spilled wax everywhere, completing the trifecta of embarrassing moments for the day. That night, we strolled into Copas Rotas, a low cost bar (#ThatStudentLife), planning to have one drink…well, that was Rachel’s plan at least. Merilla convinced her otherwise. And one Spring Punch and Long Island Iced Tea later, we were…a little (a lot?) turnt. Wdk (we didn’t know), we’re lightweights and didn’t realize how much alcohol gets put into this stuff. We also discovered that the Spring Punch is Rachel in a drink. Spring Punch is a sweet drink, where you can’t taste the alcohol, so it jumps on you. This is a lot like Rachel’s personality, where she appears sweet at first, but then she’s actually really shady and it creeps up on you. But you love how sweet she was in the first place, so you stick with her. Also, the drink is red like Rachel’s hair. Merilla immediately regretted saying this, as Rachel constantly talked about being a drink.We giddily went home via parkouring and slept amazingly (s/o to the Spring Punch) as Merilla prepared for her last full day in Madrid!
Merilla’s flight was at 6:20 Sunday morning, so we went into the day planning for her and Zander to be in bed by 8:00 p.m. so they could still get a solid 6 hours of sleep, but L O L that did not work out at all. We also planned to get breakfast at 9 a.m. so that we could be at the Palacio Real by 10 a.m. Funny how drinking never helps your schedule go the way you planned. We managed to get to Uvepan for breakfast by 11:30 and to the Palacio Real around 12:30. Since it was Saturday, the place was packed with families and tourists alike. It was a gorgeous day—high 50s/low 60s and sunny. The Palacio Real itself was a gorgeous sight. Rachel had already been and acted as our faux tour guide. The palace was covered in gorgeous artwork, carvings, and gold. Gold everywhere. Cue Lorde’s “Royals.” No pics inside and we think it’s a #conspiracy.
We then walked over to Tierra aka fake chipotle and straight up feasted. We also sat there in a food coma for a solid hour after finishing our meal because free refills but mostly because we couldn’t bring ourselves to move. Then, the highlight of the day came when we took our favorite picture of the trip. We were inspired by this insta pic and not to toot our own horn, but we killed it. #Edgy.
Our last night together, Zander and Merilla, despite their ridiculously early flight the next morning, insisted on getting tapas and drinks. By recommendation of their Airbnb host, we headed over to El Tigre (literally the most famous tourist-y bar in the city) and it was packed even though it was only 9:30. We got huge plates of tapas and, per Merilla’s demand, large tintos. At this point, Merilla told her favorite joke of the night (tbh the entire trip).
Merilla: Rachel, we have to get more tintos.
Rachel: Merilla, I’m not even halfway done with this one.
Merilla: Every second that goes by and you don’t drink, a cat dies.
Rachel: Oh, really how does that happen??
Merilla: So, I heard this from my co-actor. Wait, is that what they’re called? Co-actors? I feel like there is a better word. Anyway. So. I call a guy who calls a guy who calls a guy who calls a cat *proceeds to start laughing so hard that she can’t continue the joke for a solid 30 seconds* who calls a guy who kills a separate clan of cats. Like the cat betrays its species. Like in the movies.
So, one large cup of tinto in and we are both really feeling it. Merilla accidentally turned off the lights so many times by bumping into the light switches that she was forced to move to the other side of the table. We devoured three huge plates of tapas and decided that, at 11, it was time to go home. On the 25-minute walk back to the Airbnb, many people on the side of the road asked us to join them in their club to which Merilla responded “yeah, sure!” every single time even though she really shouldn’t have. We said our goodbye’s that night and though it was bittersweet (or just bitter…yeah, just bitter), we already have plans for Rachel to come to London in March (whee!!!!!).
Waking up the next morning was a struggle, but we’re ready to make some even more fun ~memz~ in March!
Stay weird, y’all.