You may think I am crazy when I say I spent Spring Break 2010 over four thousand miles away from home, with not my immediate family, but my second family, the Menasha High School Marching Band, in Madrid, Spain.
Let me just say waking up at 3:00 in the morning to drive four hours to Chicago, only to be put on a plane for nine hours is not on my ‘to do’ list, neither is flying over the Atlantic Ocean for seven of those nine hours.
On April 5, 2010, I flew from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany. Eight hours and four movies later, I arrived in Frankfurt only to be greeted with a massive cloud of cigarette smoke and green smog that had a very distinct smell, very much like body odor. After leaving the terminal and receiving my boarding pass, I was more then happy to get on yet another plane that would take me from Frankfurt to Madrid, Spain.
I can tell you right now there is nothing quite like looking out the window of your plane over miles of clear blue skies, patches of villages here and there with rolling valleys between them, and off in the distance miles of white sand beaches butting up to the nearest body of water.
Four hours later I arrived in the hot, sticky air of Madrid, Spain where I would be enjoying myself, along with forty-two other classmates, in a week of touring, site seeing, and performing in a foreign country.
After being awake for twenty-four hours straight (it was quite impossible to sleeping on the planes), I wanted nothing more then to climb into bed at the hotel and sleep for hours, but my first day was far from over. My body was telling me it was time for bed, when in all reality, it was only noon in Spain, and I had ten hours of tours ahead of me before I could even think about getting a wink of sleep.
Our first full day was spent devoted to tours of the Museo Del Prado and the Royal Palace. I never though I could see a place so breath taking, but walking into the center of a palace that has more rooms in it then there is people in my school was quite amazing. We also played our first concert at the Trinity College which has students ranging from kindergarten all the way to seniors in high school. After we finished playing, the little kids all came running up to us asking to try on different parts of our uniforms, which were obviously a few sizes too big for their small bodies. We ended up starting a game of soccer, the band members against the older students, which ended up being a fail for us Americans. I even met a six year old girl who moved to Madrid all the way from Illinois just six months earlier!
The next few days were spent seeing places such as Plaza del Sol and some amazing villages like Avila, Segovia, and Toledo.
Our time in Spain quickly came to a close, but we all returned with a whole new experience of what other cultures were like, and tons of pictures and souvenirs.
All in all, the hassle of dealing with getting a passport, making sure I had everything I needed, double and triple checking flight information, and trying to shove my twenty pound wool uniform into an already jam-packed suitcase was well worth every second and left me with a trip I will definitely never forget.
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