Snow in Madrid (which is uncommon, apparently)

La Catedral de la Almudena (Madrid's cathedral,
which is right next to el Palacio Real)
One more email to my family from my first trip to Spain, written February 5, 2018:

¡Hola! buenas.

That is how many greetings are carried out here. People shorten buenos días/buenas tardes much of the time. Another abbreviation you hear is porfa instead of por favor.

I am writing this update from my phone while I eat lunch in a cafe and it snows outside! Today it is snowing enough (and I guess cold enough) that some of it is sticking on the ground! I lost my umbrella yesterday (someone else took it from the bucket at a restaurant) and I was going to go back and see if it had been returned, but with the snow coming down so much, when someone was selling umbrellas in the street for €5 I just bought a new one. The old one was a cheap one I bought in sudden rain in Chicago and it was approaching its breaking point anyway.

I went inside the Royal Palace this morning. It was amazing!! The paintings by famous painters, the armory, the furniture, and the frescos were all incredible, but I think my favorite part was walking into a room to find, protected behind glass to my right, a Stradivarius cello. And as I continued around the room they had another cello, two violins, and a viola, all made by Stradivarius!

el Templo de Debod
Now I am about to finish my lunch and then I am going to continue walking (despite the snow!). I want to go see the Temple of Debod, an authentic Egyptian temple that was given to Spain as a thank you gift in the 60s and was dismantled in Egypt, shipped here, and then reassembled!

Not sure about my plans for the evening yet, but I will see what the day brings!

I had dinner in the hostel last night and I was seated next to a few guys from different parts of the world: Argentina, Mexico, the US, Israel, and Holland. I mostly talked to the two guys from Argentina and Mexico, and they kept pretending they didn’t understand me in English so I had to practice Spanish, which was great!

Signing off for now!

Love you all!!

(Looking back at this email now, can we all just note the excessive amount of exclamation points? There is no doubt I was having a great time.)

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