Studying Spanish in Madrid
A few years ago, I decided to learn Spanish so that I would be able to travel to Spanish-speaking countries and communicate with the locals more easily. After going to language school and taking private courses, I felt I was ready to take on the next big step: going on a full-blown Spanish immersion! After doing some research about schools, cultural activities and so on, I decided to go Madrid's International House (http://www.ihmadrid.com) and chose to stay with a family to make the most out of the experience.
So about the school: there usually were between 6-10 students of all ages per class, coming from all around the world. My classes went from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, and we'd usually start with some grammar (but in a non-boring way), followed by conversation. A lot of activities had to do with talking about our different countries' customs and traditions, so on top of learning about Spain, I also got to learn about my classmates' countries, and even about Canada! The school usually organized 3-4 activities every week for which you could sign up, there was a small cafeteria and some computers with free Internet access. The location was quite central, so usually I could just walk over to a museum/park/tapas bar after classes.
As for the family stay, I would highly recommend it. The family I lived with was incredibly nice, my little bedroom was super comfortable, food was great and, most of all, it really helped me experience what life in Spain is all about. I came back thinking about only one thing: how soon can I go back on a language immersion!? It truly is a great way to travel!! One of my fondest memories would have to be the night we celebrated the birthday of Arturito, the family's little boy. The entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grand-parents) came over, I got to chat with everyone, I even sang some karaoke with the girls (!), for a while I think I may have forgotten that I didn't actually live in Spain!
Highlights of the museum. 1. Landscape at Oldenburg (a painting by the german expressionist Schmitt Rottluff. he was a member of the groupe Doe Brücke, founded in Dresden in 1905) 2. Hotelroom (a painting by Hopper about lonelyness in the big city) 3. Hieronimus wildlife (by Titiaan, depicting Holy Hieronimus as ascetic.) 4. Venus toilet (a painting by Rubens. theme is the ideal beauty. the paiting is typical for Rubens use of colour and shade). 5. Harlecin with a mirror. (the Harlikin is a loved subject from Picasso.).
December music festival
Jazz , Blues and Gospel are the last fest of the year. Those events lock, in an unofficial way, the year. A minute before the X-mass Madrid host the music festival, so if you are in town during winter and just before winter vocation here is a nice thing for you to do.
Have a drink or fight a bull?
Chinchón Circus seems to be a typical small town circus, surrounded by ancient buildings with beautiful balconies. Some restaurants and pubs place their tables on it, so you can have a "chinchón" (dry aniseed liquor on the rocks) or a cup of sherry, and enjoy the sunlight. But somethimes, tables are put away... and the circus becomes a bullfight ring!!!
(If you want more information, you can check my Chinchón page.)
La plaza principal de Chinchón aparenta ser la típica plaza de pueblo, rodeada de edificios antiguos con hermosos balcones. Algunos restaurantes y bares ponen sus mesas en ella, por lo que puedes tomar un "chinchón" (anís seco con hielo) o una copa de jerez, y disfruta del sol. Pero algunas veces, las mesas se guardan... ¡¡¡y la plaza pueblerina se transforma en plaza de toros!!!!
(Si quieres más información, puedes visitar mi página de Chinchón.)
Peurta Del Sol is one of the places for shopping if so inclined to do so. There are musicians , vendors, arts and crafts and plenty of people. A place to congregate for locals as well as tourists. You can find anything here. Shops can be a bit pricey. But shop around making your choice. If in doubt always haggle.