Top 5: Harry

1. ‘Late Motiv’

What better way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture than going to a late night talk show!? ´Late Motiv´ is one of the most popular shows in Spain, and its host Andreu Buenafuente is now a household name. It´s true, there are quite a few cultural references, and the guests definitely don´t hold back on how fast they talk, but you´ll no doubt have a really fun evening whilst learning a lot about the Spanish sense of humor! To be on the show, all you have to do is apply through the show´s website, and if you´re lucky enough to get tickets, they´re completely free!

¿Qué mejor manera de sumergirse en la cultura española que asistir a un programa de entrevistas? ´Late Motiv´ es una de los programas más populares en España, cuyo presentador Andreu Buenafuente ha llegado a ser un personaje súper conocido. Es verdad que hay bastantes referencias culturales, y los entrevistados suelen hablar a toda velocidad, pero no hay duda de que lo pasarás bien ¡mientras aprendiendo mucho del humor español! Para asistir al programa, solo tienes que solicitar una plaza a través del sitio web del programa, y si consigues obtener entradas, ¡son gratis!

Late Motiv

2. Museo Sorolla

Before coming to Madrid, I didn´t know much about Joaquín Sorolla, nor had I seen many of his paintings, so I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the museum that is dedicated to his artwork (which is held in the beautiful house he used to live in!). Sorolla was largely known as an impressionist painter, and his works, I think, are very appealing and easy on the eye. Tickets are only €3, but if you´re a student, you can get in for free.

Antes de venir a Madrid, no conocía mucho de Joaquín Sorolla, ni tampoco había visto muchas de sus pinturas. Por lo tanto, me puse sorprendido cuando visité por primera vez el museo que le está dedicado (¡que se sitúa en su antigua casa bonita!). Sorolla era conocido principalmente como pintor impresionista, y sus obras, en mi opinión, son muy atrayentes y llamativas. Las entradas cuestan solo 3€, pero si eres estudiante, puedes entrar sin pagar.       

Sorolla Museum

3. La Catedral de Justo Gallego

This is perhaps Madrid´s gem that is still waiting to be discovered! In 1961, a monk named Justo Gallego was expelled from his monastery for contracting tuberculosis. Convinced that he was still called to serve God, he set about constructing his very own cathedral from scratch, without any architectural qualifications. All these years later, Justo hasn´t given up on his mission, and at the age of 95 he continues to get up early each morning to carry on building. The result of his efforts is this enormous edifice that, although looking very much unfinished, still retains an astonishing beauty, made even more impressive by that fact that Justo has done pretty much all of the work himself! To get to the cathedral, you can catch a short bus ride towards Mejorada del Campo, which is on the outskirts of Madrid.

¡A lo mejor esto es la joya de Madrid que queda sin descubrir! En 1961, el monje Justo Gallego fue expulsado de su monasterio por haber caído enfermo. Con la certeza de su vocación de servir a Dios, empañó la construcción desde cero de su propia catedral, sin ningunas calificaciones arquitectónicas. Después de todos estos años, Justo no ha abandonado su objetivo, y con 94 años sigue levantándose temprano cada mañana para continuar a construir. El resultado de sus esfuerzas es este edificio enorme que, aunque parece incompleto, aun retiene una belleza extraordinaria, una hazaña aún más impresionante si tenemos en cuenta que Justo ha hecho la mayoría del trabajo solo. Para llegar a la catedral, puedes coger un autobús de 30 minutos hacia Mejorada del Campo, que está en las afueras de Madrid.

Catedral de Justo Gallego

4. La Caja Mágica

If you´re as a big a tennis fan as I am then there are two events that you definitely can´t miss! The Mutua Madrid Open takes place every year in May, whilst for the foreseeable future the Davis Cup (´the world cup of tennis´) will be played in Madrid every November as well. These two tournaments are highly regarded fixtures on the tennis tour, thus attracting some of the biggest players from all around the world. What´s more, ´madrileños´ really know how to provide a great atmosphere (especially when a Spaniard is playing!) so you´re bound to enjoy yourself no matter what.

Si eres tan apasionado de tenis como yo, ¡hay dos eventos que no puedes perder! El Mutua Madrid Open tiene lugar cada año en mayo, mientras por ahora la Copa Davis (el mundial de tenis) se disputa en Madrid cada noviembre. Estos dos torneos son muy apreciados, así atraen algunos de los mejores jugadores de todo el mundo. Es más, los madrileños saben cómo proporcionar un ambiente electrizante (¡sobre todo cuando juegue un español!), por eso  sin duda lo vas a pasar bien.

Caja Mágica

5. MISKI RESTOBAR

This café/bar is one of my favourite places to chill and/or work in Madrid. They do awesome brunches, great coffee, all the while providing a really cozy setting just to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What´s better, as it opened only fairly recently, it doesn´t become as crowded as some other, more well-known establishments.

Este café/bar es uno de mis lugares favoritos para descansar y/o trabajar en Madrid. Hacen un ´brunch´ increíble, el café fenomenal, todo el tiempo proporcionando un ambiente acogedor para matar el tiempo lejos del ajetreo de la ciudad. Aún mejor, dada su apertura bastante reciente, no se hace tan concurrido como otros establecimientos más conocidos.

Miski Restobar

Do you know the history behind some of Madrid´s most famous monuments?

Puerta de Alcalá

The Puerta de Alcalá, located in the middle of Plaza de la Independencia, next to the Retiro Park, is one of Madrid´s most iconic landmarks. You´ve surely walked past it before, but do you know how it got there?

The arch, completed in 1778, was commissioned by Carlos III to replace another from the 16th century. You might think that the king would have chosen a Spanish architect to design such an important monument, but the architect, Francesco Sabatini, was actually Italian. 

Although it has similarities with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, it predates both of them and was in fact the first triumphal arch to be built after the fall of the Roman Empire.

The origin of the arch´s name is simple – it was located on the route to Alcalá de Henares – however not everything about the monument is so easily explained. You might have noticed that the two sides of the arch are decorated differently, but have you ever wondered why? Some people say that Sabatini sent the king several designs, and that he was unable to choose between them. Others claim that the king accidentally approved both of them, and as the architect didn´t dare point out his mistake, he decided to combine the two!

Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is arguably the most touristic place in Madrid, and even if you aren´t keen on the crowds, it´s almost impossible to visit the city without passing through here at least once!

To understand the origins of this landmark, you have to go all the way back to the 16th century, when difficult conditions caused many people to turn against the monarchy. For this reason, even though Madrid was not the capital of Spain at this time, the city was fortified with a huge wall to protect the royal guard. 

Whereas nowadays Sol is emblematic of the centre of Madrid, it did not even originally form part of the city but was one of the access gates in the city walls.

There are various explanations for the name “Puerta del Sol”; according to some sources, an image of the sun king was painted on the gate, while others attribute the name to the fact that the gate faced East, towards the rising sun.

The plaza as we know it today was originally meant to be a large rectangle, however eventually a semicircular design was decided upon which would preserve the buildings on the straight side, including the Casa de Correos.

Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor is one of the most popular places to visit in Madrid, but there is much more to this destination than meets the eye. Known as Plaza del Arrabal in the 15th century, when it hosted the city´s main market, the square has had various names since 1812 (Plaza de la Constitución, Plaza Real, Plaza de la República), and has only been known as Plaza Mayor since the end of the Civil War.  

The Plaza Mayor has a more dramatic history than you might expect, having survived three big fires. The first, in 1631, engulfed the Casa de la Carnicería, lasting three days, destroying over fifty buildings, and causing three deaths.

In 1672, a lantern caught fire in the portico of the Casa de la Panadería, leaving only the cellar and the ground floor standing. The restoration of the building took sixteen months, and today you can see a plaque in the building which commemorates this event.

The third and most destructive of the fires took place in 1790. It began in the Portal de Paños, and destroyed a third of the square´s perimeter. The fire lasted nine days; as there was not enough water in the surrounding wells, the only way to put it out was to pull down surrounding buildings to block the progress of the flames!

Now you know the secret history of three of Madrid´s most famous monuments, you´ll never look at them in the same way again!

Get social in Madrid!

So you have just arrived in Madrid and don´t know anybody…time to get socializing!

Here at Inhispania we organise activities throughout the week with our students, but getting involved in the community is also a great way to not only practice your new Spanish skills, but also to make friends and enjoy your time in a new country. We´ve hunted out some unique ideas from around the city to keep yourself busy outside the classroom…

Intercambios

Spanish language exchange in Madrid.
Madrid Babel´s language exchange at Larios Café (10 minutes’ walk from Inhispania) runs every Wednesday and Sunday from 8pm onwards. Come with the school on every Wednesday to practice your Spanish with people from around the world. Although daunting at first, there are reps to help introduce you, and if you need a bit of Dutch courage, head over to the bar for a sangria and free tapas!

Let´s MeetUp

Best ways to learn Spanish in Madrid.
Stop scrolling through Instagram and put your phone to good use by downloading the free application ´MeetUp´. With hundreds of free group activities and filters to choose the date, area, or interest, this relatively unknown app is a lifesaver. From dance classes to theatre groups, you will never be at a loose end.

Feeling Sporty?

How to be social larning Spanish in Madrid.
Make the most of the weather by hiring a BiciMad bike to ride around El Retiro, found at numerous stations round Madrid. There are often sponsored runs such as El Corro de Mujeres last week. As Madrid will be hosting the Champions League final and the Tennis Madrid Open, there´s no better time to get involved in the sports available.

Volunteer Work

If you´re feeling brave, you could offer services in your native language to be an au-pair for families who want to learn a language. These opportunities can be voluntary or paid, but either way they are fantastic to meet new people. Adverts on the ErasmusMadrid website are two hours a week, so fit perfectly around your lessons.

Hidden Exhibitions

Art exhibitions in Madrid.If you look hard enough, Madrid hosts several free cultural activities, e.g. at Palacio Cibeles, Casa del Libro, Casa Encendida and Fundación Telefónica. From interactive art to specialist talks, there are plenty of opportunities to learn outside the classroom. If you find any news fun activities, let us know so we can spread to word to all our students!

Museo del Prado: 5 must-see works

It´s always difficult to decide which attractions to visit when you´re travelling, especially in a city like Madrid, where there is so much to see. The Prado Museum is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in art, but with a collection of over 7000 paintings, it´s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help you find your way through this awe-inspiring art collection, we´ve prepared a shortlist of the most important pieces to see when you visit.

1.     Velázquez | Las Meninas

Despite years of study, this painting continues to intrigue amateurs and experts alike, who have been unable to determine the meaning of the scene. It is one of Velázquez’s largest works, and features a curious cast of characters including a princess, a nun, a dwarf, and even the artist himself.

2.     El Greco | Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest

This is arguably the best known of all of El Greco´s paintings, and one of the earliest of his works to be painted in Spain. The contrast between black and white draws attention to the nobleman’s delicate hand and fingers, while his dress emphasises his status as a gentleman.

3.     Goya | 3rd May 1808 in Madrid (The Executions)

This painting depicts the execution of working-class Spanish men by French soldiers, following the popular uprising of 2nd May 1808. It combines features of Romanticism and Impressionism, and is recognised as one of the first examples of Contemporary Art, setting a new precedent for war paintings. Picasso actually based his famous work, Guernica, on this piece, proving its enduring relevance to future generations.

4.     Rogier van der Weyden | The Descent from the Cross

Van der Weyden was a Northern Renaissance painter, and one of the most influential northern European artists of his time. He never signed his work, but this painting, which depicts Jesus being taken down from the cross, is the oldest piece which can be attributed to him with some certainty. The painting is renowned for the realism of the characters´ tears – all the more impressive given that it was painted at the beginning of the 15th century.

5.     Hieronymus Bosch | The Garden of Earthly Delights

It´s hard to believe that the weird and wonderful creatures and contraptions depicted in this piece were imagined over 500 years ago; although Bosch never dated his work, scholars have placed the piece between 1490 and 1510. Viewed from left to right, the triptych shows the progression of humanity from its creation to its eventual destruction. The piece has also inspired surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Hypnotic, perplexing or simply bizarre – you can decide for yourself, but you certainly won´t have seen anything like it before!

Top 5: Angelica

¡Hola amigos, me llamo Angelica! He hecho las prácticas durante tres meses en Inhispania. Ha sido una oportunidad maravillosa para mí. ¿La pregunta es ”por qué”? La respuesta es fácil. Quería practicar mi español. En #Inhispania he tenido contacto con españoles y mi español ha podido mejorar cada día. Otra ventaja de esta academia de idiomas han sido y son las personas de todo el mundo: nuevas amistades, nuevas experiencias, nuevos conocimientos de culturas y nuevas percepciones de personas de otros países. La mejor academia de idiomas se llama: Inhispania. Si quieres hacer tus prácticas, elige esta academia. De verdad, te la recomiendo para estudiar español, hacer tus prácticas y para todo, créeme.

Hi guys, my name is Angelica. I undertook an Internship for three months in Inhispania. It was an amazing opportunity for me. The question is ´why´? The answer is easy. I wanted to practice my Spanish. In #Inhispania I was in contact with Spanish people every day and as a result my Spanish was able to improve. Something else that was a wonderful advantage in this school was and is the people from all over the world. So, new friendships, new experiences, a new knowledge of cultures and a new perception of the people of others countries. The best language school is called Inhispania and this is the only school you should consider doing an internship with. I really can recommend this school to study Spanish, to do an internship and to do everything, believe me.

1. Alcalá de Henares – Mercado medieval

La ciudad más cercana a mi corazón. Durante las prácticas en Inhispania, he vivido en Alcalá de Henares. Está situada 30 kilómetros de Madrid y es conocida por ser la ciudad de Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra.

Cada año, en octubre, se organiza el Mercado Medieval de Alcalá de Henares. Es el más grande de Europa y una atracción muy popular en Alcalá. Desde el año 1998, el Mercado Cervantino se celebra en el día del bautismo de Miguel de Cervantes, 9 de octubre 1547. Durante de este evento, podemos disfrutar de puestos callejeros, cantantes, vendedores…

Medieval market

2. La Gran Vía

La calle más famosa y una de las más grandes de Madrid. En esta calle puedes encontrar un montón de tiendas de ropa muy populares. Por ejemplo, ZARA la tienda más conocida de España que tiene tres plantas u otras como: Primark, Mango, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, H&M, etc. Durante la Navidad puedes admirar la belleza de las luces en la calle.

El bar que recomiendo en la Gran Vía es el bar “Jamón Ibérico”.  En este bar se venden  muchos tipos de los bocadillos con el jamón más típico de España.

Gran Vía

3. Toledo

La ciudad con mayor riqueza monumental. También es llamada la ciudad de tres culturas: cristianos, árabes y judíos. Los monumentos que os puedo recomendar son: La Catedral Santa María, de arquitectura gótica, y El Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, la vista dentro es maravillosa, la entrada cuesta 3€, pero vale la pena visitarlo. Toledo es la antigua capital de España, la cual corta la respiración a los turistas por su belleza y sus muchos callejones.

Gracias a #Inhispania puedes visitar Toledo, porque es una de las ciudades que visitan durante sus excursiones.

Toledo

4. El Parque del Retiro

El Retiro es el parque más importante de Madrid. Todo el parque es maravilloso y da muy buenas sensaciones. Los lugares que deberías visitar son: El estanque artificial, está en el centro del parque. Se dice que es un sitio muy romántico porque se puede alquilar la barca y dar un paseo en ella con vuestra pareja. Además, puedo recomendar el Palacio de Cristal, donde hay muchas exposiciones temporales, y  que fascina con su belleza. En el Retito puedes aprovechar cada segundo de tu tiempo libre, siempre con la naturaleza. Es la zona verde más bonita de Madrid.

Retiro Park

5. Los mercados

Todos mercados de Madrid tienen su historia y son únicos en sus géneros.  Si quieres aprovechar tiempo con tus amigos tapeando o tomando unas cervezas el Mercado de San Idelfonso es excelente. Tiene una buena atmósfera y en él puedes pasar un buen rato. Sin embargo, el Mercado de San Antón es un poquito diferente. Uno de los mercados más antiguos de Madrid. Está localizado muy cerca de #Inhispania, y a menudo se puede probar la comida de diferentes países y también la más típica de España.

Mercado de San Ildefonso

Gracias por todo #Inhispania 😉