Cultural Explosion in Alcalá de Henares

Since jobs only give you a couple of days to do any traveling (who knew?!), a lot of people in this program have been taking advantage of the smaller towns just outside of Madrid that can be reached by the cercanías. They work just like the Metro, but they’re trains, and they’re super cheap = perfect for day trips!

Look at all of those options!

A couple of weeks ago on a Friday, a couple of my coworkers were asking what kind of plans I had for the weekend. I wasn’t totally sure, which led to rapid-fire suggestions of which towns I should go see and what parts of Madrid I needed to explore. One of the women who sits near my desk got in on the action. She came over, sat down, and told me, “I live in Alcalá de Henares. Tomorrow is la noche en blanco, which is where all kinds of artists and bands perform out in the streets all night long, and there are parties everywhere. You’re going to come out, and I’ll show you where all the cheap tapas bars are, and we’ll get some drinks and have a good time.” I was sold. So here’s how that went…

Puerta de Madrid in Alcalá! It’s funny because there’s a Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid. 😉

Painting! Singing! Outside! Everywhere!

PALACE – Of course there’s a palace.

Carmen, my local tour guide, made sure we walked into this bar because it’s decorated to look like you’re still out on the street!

Rosquillas: Typical dessert of Alcalá; kind of like donuts, but lighter, and covered in sugary glaze

Everyone was out in the street enjoying the mini-concerts and exhibitions all over.

My roommate, Megan, & I hanging out with Sancho & Don Quixote.

A “tuna”: a group of mostly college students who dress up, play music, and sing at various social gatherings, like this bachelorette party!

The main plaza – Everything had such a small hometown feel, but Alcalá is considered the cultural center of Madrid

Huge terrifying figures of random people used in parades all over the country

The oldest university in Madrid.. Oh, and a stage in the street.

Universidad de Alcalá (It’s suuuuuper old. And gorgeous.)

Some more rockin’ out

There was an instantaneous parade of “Brazilians” dancing through the street!

When Carmen had to leave for a bit, Megan and I stumbled upon a group of skaters doing their inverted version of the limbo..?

Although we had to catch the last train home by midnight, Megan and I got to see a little bit of everything. Alcalá is an adorable area with so much to do! Carmen was telling us that since it’s a college town, it fills up every semester with study abroad students from all over. Pitt even does it’s Pitt in Spain program there. I definitely recommend going; I might even have to take a trip back to see what else it has to offer!

– Alexa

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One thought on “Cultural Explosion in Alcalá de Henares

  1. Pingback: The Great Race… to the Beach! | it's about argen-time!

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