bittercold & bittersweet

November. The third month in Spain. And there is one notable change: The weather. Thinking of Madrid, the first thing that might pop into peoples head might be the long sunny hours and the almost unbearable heat at noon. We ́ve witnessed that the end of spanish summer – which was a nice extension of the rather cold „semi-summer“ in Germany. Until the end of october we had a fantastic temperature in Madrid, always about more than 20 degrees and we enjoyed it. Some of us brought their tennis rackets to play matches on the courts of the campus. Another group met during their free lessons for playing soccer. Sadly, this has found an end with the onset of winter. Misleadingly we almost bragged there won ́t be a need of warm clothes, let alone a parka in this city. At least since the beginnig of last week we all know better. The temperatures fell down and now we ́re freezing like in Germany. But, what makes the difference, even if it ́s sometimes less than 10 degrees, we have more than five sun hours in the city per day and just a few days of rain.
Furthermore parts of our private life developed. It was our objective from the beginning to get to know new people here, from different countries, with different cultures and languages. We recognized this is a matter of time and it depends on ourselves. After those three months in Spain and after meeting a lot of people at the University every day we all have a circle of friends and people we know better around us here. We are especially hanging out with some french fellow students, having parties with them, exchange experiences and learn a lot about their culture and their opinion about the Germans as well. Before we were spending time together, the only thing our classmates heard was our tight pronounciation of German words, just like „Kartoffel“. They thought Germans were strict, had no parties, only wanted to be in common with other Germans, never looked friendly and weren’t funny at all. Now we ́re glad, we could adjust these prejudices about our country. We also got in contact with native „madrileños“ some more. On the one hand during the university, while meeting them at the tennis court or at the cafeteria and on the other hand in our leisure time, for example in nightclubs and bars.
These places are our favourite ones for spending our leisure time in Madrid. If there exists a list, of „cities that never sleep“, like for example New York, the capital of Spain should be added. During the day some of the hippest areas, just like Malsaña or Chueca, are almost deserted and get alive by night. The feeling arises that the inhabitants crawl out of their holes in the evening, fill the restaurants at ten o`clock, sit at Sol afterwards with some canned beer or in one of the uncountable bars and dance during the whole night in the clubs of Madrid. So in order to be with natives, Spanish adolescents and other exchange students, you have to go to different bars, for example to a Flamenco-bar, to the Jazz-club „El Junco“ or to the „El Tigre“, where they offer you a plate of food to every drink. Another typical, extraordinary and very busy place for having some beers coupled with food is the „Museo del Jamón“. You might guess, it is a museum, which it is actually not. It`s a shop, which offers different kinds of ham (Serrano, Ibérico) and it includes a bar where you can buy „Bocadillos“ and drink „Cañas“ (Small beers) for only 70 Cents, and these well-known stores are located in every famous area in Madrid. Afterwards, at about 1am you will meet most young people in the clubs. The huge Kapital-club is notorious in the city since it compounds 7 dance-areas and plays a wide branch of different kinds of music. Another popular club amongst younger adults is the Joy club where you might snatch a free jigger. Those of us who listen to Hip-Hop love the „Serrano 41“ and the electronic-lovers support the Mondo, where you can see the most famous DJs from all over the world.
There are just a few weeks left until it is december and there will other places to meet then. The decoration of huge lights and big metalic stars and bowls on taut wires in the streets of the city centre indicate that christmas time is coming. At Sol you can admire a huge metallic christmas tree in the middle of the place, which sparkles colourfully at night. The Plaza Mayor is prepared for the christmas market which takes place there and we can ́t wait to see it. This market is very famous in Spain and we ́re looking forward to drinking some hot sangria and eating sweets. Right now you already get the typical christmas food you need. At this point it is mentionable that you get real „Butterstollen“ and „Lebkuchen“ from Germany at the „Lidl“ for not getting homesick in the time of advent. Aside from that you can find small stands distributed in the city. They are selling sweet chestnuts and baked pumpkins. So don ́t worry, families and friends at home, with all those sweets, tasty Churros and cookies and cold temperatures it will be no problem to put on our christmas-weight soon.

Charlotte Roever & Janina Götz