Once you started your TEFL course in Madrid, you need to find out WHERE Gran Via is, because you will soon find out WHAT it is. It is sprawling, bustling, lively, tempting, noisy, vibrant, full of energy, full of people, families, small children, not so small children, beggars, prostitutes, big city women in expensive outfits, hippies trying to turn back time, careless skateboarders, old working class heroes and boring commoners like you and me.
Oh, so you have guessed it already…We are talking about Madrid´s main street, the street that never sleeps, the street that “los Madrileños” both hate and love, admitting that they have lost their hearts there.
So, what do you do in Gran Via? Nothing, of course. You just go there, stay there, shop there, watch others mutually there, have something at one of the hundreds of terraces, eating “pipas” (sunflower seeds) while resting on one of the benches along the street, catching up with old friends, shop around, get tempted by all the fancy outfits in the shop windows.
The NEW, but still Gran Via? Well, the street has always had the characteristics described above, and now the authorities have made it even easier to enjoy the street. Less space for cars and more space for humans. A lot of trees have been planted; new benches have been placed there. Less stress and pollution, so you can stroll along and just enjoy life.
So, let’s do that, and imagine we start in one end and move on to the opposite end of the street. We could start at the round-about called Plaza de Cibeles, and you will be impressed by huge, monumental buildings, housing the Bank of Spain, The Cervantes Institute, the military headquarter. With these buildings at your back, you continue up the slope, and you notice a faint, weak smell of expensive perfume in the air…Where does it come from? You look at the street names, Hortaleza and Fuencarral, and if you walk 50 meters into one of them you will realise that you are in the beginning of a neighbourhood called Chueca – the gay neighbourhood.
Well, you have decided that today you are not all that gay, so you move on to Gran Via, and you start looking at the buildings and the architecture. It reminds you of New York, built in the beginning of the last century. Finally, you arrive at an open space, a plaza (square) called Plaza de España, with green lawns, a pool, a fabulous statue of Don Quijote, shadowy benches and like everywhere in Madrid, a lot of people. You decide to end the long walk with having a nap under one of the olive trees there. Gran Vía is just one of the many reasons to take a Trinity CertTESOL course, so enjoy it!