I met several people at the training who seem nice. There is a great variety of personalities participating in the program. My school has four assistants including Cody and I. The other two assistants are from England. Since these two days of orientation were for non-European Union assistants I haven't met them yet. I have tomorrow off and then begin work on Thursday, which I have been told will be another orientation to introduce the four of us to the children, staff, and resources at my specific school in Alcalá de Henares.
The meeting today ended at two in the afternoon, so I took the opportunity to head to Gran Vía, a main street in Madrid which is often compared to Times Square in Manhattan. I took several pictures of the surroundings.
The following building is the Palacio de Comunicaciones, the headquarters of the Spanish postal service. It's located near the arch known as the Puerta de Alcalá. I plan to visit both of these places at night sometime as they are lit up with colorful floodlights.
From here, I went down the adjacent Paseo del Prado, a walkway lined with trees near a tomb of the unknown soldier from the Napoleonic Wars, the Palace Hotel, and several high-profile art museums including the Prado. Here I saw a pigeon with a numbered tag on its wing, which I assume means it is either a carrier pigeon or used for racing.
I walked from here to the very large and tranquil Parque del Retiro. There were many people lounging on benches or in the grass among trees, fountains, and statues of former Spanish monarchs. In the center of the park is a pond, on the edge of which lies a colonnade with several fountains and an equestrian statue of King Alfonso XII. The boats which you see on the pond below are rented out. There were many more on the water than are visible in this picture.
More to come soon!