So I promised a post about the city-wide party, La Noche en Blanco, which literally means to stay up all night, complete with pictures. Well I will post a few but my camera couldn't really capture how crazy it was. Basically the idea is that all over the city there will be cultural opportunities. All the museums are free and open all night long, in every plaza there is a concert or a free dance workshop, and there are free theater performances all around the city. It was really cool to see the mix of people. Everyone from 4 yrs old to 70 was out, and the crowds were insane.
Well I decided to hang out with my friend Courtney, Melody, and Melody's roommates from Brazil, Mexico, and France. (From back, left to right, Sophie from France, Melody from Wisconsin, me, and Courtney from Indiana)
First we headed to a party at this guy's house that Melody and I had met at the university. When we walked in (7 girls) there were like 15 guys and no other girls. They jumped up to greet us and we all started laughing. It was like a middle school dance for the first bit. Hilarious! It was a really great chance to practice my Spanish though. Then we all headed downtown to check out the museums.
We went to Bellas Artes, a smaller museum with a lot of pieces by Goya. It was cool to go there because it's a museum I probably wouldn't usually seek out. Then we headed to one of the major plazas, Plaza de Espana. There were so many people! They turned the square into a disco complete with a light show, hired dancers, and busting bass. It was really fun to dance in the middle of the street with a 1000 other people. When Michael Jackson's "Thriller" came on people went nuts! I've never seen so many people try to do the choreography without really knowing it (yes I was one of them).
There were also pieces of art set up in the streets. For example, there was a huge foam board set up of the word for sustainability and people were signing it. Speaking of which, Madrid is the greenest city I've ever seen. There are places to recycle for free in every block of the city, and the buses are all being changed to run on alternative energies. Also the city is starting an initiative about the use of olive pits as water purifiers in people's homes. My professor said today that Madrid has more green space than any other capital in Europe!
There was also this wall where people were putting post-it notes with their random comments about life. It was pretty interesting. They ranged from political to just plain silly, but it was a way for people to express themselves. I couldn't tell if this was intended by the organizers or just impromptu, but it was cool.
Melody, Courtney, and I ended the evening by dancing our hearts out at a salsa bar. It was so fun! I don't know why it never occurred to me, but they have group dances here like the cha cha slide. So we were running from one side of the dance floor to the other yelling "Arriba arriba!" I realized as I was preparing to go home at 6:30am that I had left my keys in my room. So after waiting for the subway to reopen, I got home around 7am and had to ring the buzzer a million times and wake my roommate up so that I could get in. She was so nice about it, but I felt really bad! It was an unforgettable night as cheesy as that is!