Are Spanish Churros Really That Good? [E.T.O.]

Escape the Ordinary is a weekly column designed to help me explore Madrid and its surrounding area. The goal is to try one new thing per day, and in turn, write about it. To learn more about the origins, read Calihan Huntley, StAbroad Student.

Monday- 1 point

Monday was, and in the future will be, the hardest day for me to try something new. I am away at classes from 8am – 6pm, and generally just want to come home and get dinner, especially with the recent time change. One of my roommates, Sevyn, was leaving Madrid on Tuesday to return home after her internship ended, so we went out to dinner to celebrate. Before dinner, I needed to get something to wear so I went to a new vintage store, Coco’s Couch, and branched out to a new top that I wouldn’t have generally bought, but really liked. Dinner itself was a new experience as well. We went to Ochenta Grados and got a bunch of different tapas to share. The food they served was very strange, dishes I had never even heard of before. By the end of the night, we had tried parmesan ice cream, black squid risotto, crab beef ravioli, sweet bread rib sandwich, truffled egg, and duck prawn dumplings. I can’t say any of the food will be on my ‘favorites’ list in the future, but it definitely was a new experience.

Tuesday- 0.5 points

I might have slipped up a bit today. I slept in late and had class until 10:30pm, and need to go right to sleep because my parents get into Madrid early tomorrow. But sleeping in late is not something I regularly do on the weekdays, but I did it because early Tuesday morning, at a time some may call Monday night, I did something new. At midnight when my roommates and I got home from dinner, Maeve asked Sevyn, Lana, and me if we wanted to watch a movie and despite it being out of character, I said yes. We ate blueberries and chocolate while spending our last night all together in Madrid watching Eat, Pray, Love. So maybe I didn’t see a new Madrid sight, but I did do something out of character that I thoroughly enjoyed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Wednesday- 1 point

Today was the day my parents arrived in Madrid! After a 10-hour long flight and dealing with jet lag all day in attempts to only fall asleep at night, I mostly showed them around to my comfort places. We did get to try a new restaurant in an area I had never been to before for breakfast tapas. Unfortunately, it was generically named “Breakfast Tapas” so very hard to recommend. I had my first Spanish omelet there. Some might say that it’s a crime I have been in Spain for close to four months without trying the eggs, but you have to space it out to keep the party going all semester!

Thursday- 1 point

 There I stood in the San Miguel Market, having a staring contest with a dead fish whose eyes appeared to be following me. Mouth propped open to have a fantastic view of the tiny, sharp teeth that lined its mouth. Being from the midwest, freshly caught fish sitting on display aren’t usually my landscape of choice. However, ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore’ and it’s time to get used to those beady eyes staring at me as I strategically order chicken and fruit.

Friday- 1 point

The day that slayed the week! With no classes and my favorite spots in Madrid already toured, it was time to start checking some new places off the list. However, a day is not complete without a trip to Parque del Retiro but even that daily ritual was spiced up a bit with rented bikes. The Palacio de Cibeles which has one of the best lookouts in Madrid also housed a brand new exhibit exploring the underground culture that arose in Spain years ago. It successfully proved that a disco ball is not only sufficient for a club, but also a museum. To end the day with a Provocative Calihan Opinion – I don’t think Spanish chocolate churros are as good as people believe they are. Of course, my mom had to try some chocolate churros at the world-famous San Gines to test my hypothesis. Although she liked them, she did agree they were not necessarily worth the hype.

Saturday- 1 point

A day to bring a bit of culture into my life. When I was a sophomore in high school, I wrote a 10-page essay comparing the famous Picasso painting, the Guernica, to The Book Thief. I was extremely proud of the essay, and have therefore felt a connection to the Guernica ever since. The painting is housed in Madrid at one of the most famous museums, Museo de Reina Sofia. A four-story museum with countless exhibits and mediums of art. I am a strong advocate for museums, and Reina Sofia makes that job very easy.

Sunday- 0 points

For my first week of trying to explore more of Madrid and its surrounding areas, I’d say five and a half points out of seven isn’t terribly bad. Today was filled with chores and cramming homework to get ready for class tomorrow. Showing my mom around El Rastro and my favorite thrift store. The only somewhat different thing I did today was loitered around Zara, a cult-favorite department store in Spain. I have an internship lined up for the spring semester when I get home, and I need to get more professional clothing. Since there are no Zara stores in the US and I didn’t want to carry blazers in my suitcase home, I just loitered around, trying on clothes and taking pictures of tags so I could buy online when I returned home.

Having my parents visit me in Madrid has definitely allowed me to step outside of my usual routine more than usual. It’s nice that in the first week in which I allotted points to my daily activities, I had people to do it alongside. Studying abroad is an experience I will never regret, but the experience, just like life, is always going to be cyclical.

Yours truly,



2 responses to “Are Spanish Churros Really That Good? [E.T.O.]”

  1. Great to read about your food finds! You know, that San Gines chocolate reminds me of another European hot chocolate — the one from Angelina in Paris.

    And for department stores, there’s also El Corte Ingles and Primark over there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check out that Paris chocolate!

      Liked by 1 person

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