I’d never been to Madrid before I decided I wanted to move here. Somehow I just knew I’d adore it. Madrid quickly rose to the top of my favourite cities, at least in terms of places I’d like to live, rather than just visit. Six weeks was only enough to scrap the surface of Madrid, I know there’s so much I haven’t seen, so many churros left uneaten and so much tinto de verano to be consumed. Oh well, next time, because I know there’s going to be a next time.
In no particular order, these are my favourite things about Madrid:
Mercado De San Antonio y Mercado De San Miguel markets are my favourite. The first two photos are of San Antonio’s market and the third is of my favourite tasty treat from San Miguel. Both are trendy, high end markets where you can eat very socially. They’ve got quite a different feel to them, so I’d suggest making time for them both. Mercado De San Antonio is in Chueca, one of my favourite areas of Madrid. It is the “gay area”, so of course more beautiful and trendy than all the rest of Madrid. There’s some great cafes, restaurants and bars lining the metro station there. The walk from Chueca down to and through Tribunal is awesome – the whole area just oozes cool, especially down the side streets just past Tribunal station when heading towards Gran Via. There’s also an awesome weekend market on at La Latina metro station.
Sangria y tinto de verano
This one’s simple. Yum. I don’t think there are many things that provide better value in life than a bottle of sangria that costs a whopping euro fifty. Especially when that classy plastic bottle of sangria is taken to your favourite drinking spot, in the park. I probably spend about 20% of my time in Madrid at Templo De Debod drinking sangria or some other cheap Spanish beverage. While in some ways it’s hard to avoid the seedy side of drinking in a park, the Spaniards do well to make it fun. On any given night you might see in this park a combination of the following: people playing drums, a “punk rock cult” reunion, people making the future spaniards, people being drenched when the sprinklers turn on at 3am (haha, suckers), a group of people practicing tai chi and a man who looks exactly how I imagine jesus to.
I didn’t even know Madrid had giant parks, let alone how many there are. Because Madrid is so, so, so far away from a beach, parks get a sort of beachy vibe to them. It’s not uncommon to see people sunbathing in their bikini in a park. My two favourite parks in Madrid are Templo De Debod which is my favourite evening park (it’s a wonderful place to watch the sunset) and Retiro. Every time I go to Retiro I’m always surprised by how big it is and each time I visit I seem to discover a little more of it. It has it all; beautifully groomed grounds, an abundance of fountains, a large lake in the middle that you can paddle boat in, areas to roller blade, more fountains, venders and artists and lovely shady areas where you can avoid the forty degree plus summer heat.
There’s so much art in Madrid, especially around Tribunal. If there’s even an inch of spare space, it will be plastered in a poster or some kind of gorgeous street art, even windows are not spared and turned into quirky pictures. Beyond the street art there’s also some great museums that are often free, including Prado and Sofia. I was fortunate enough to be in Madrid while the Photo De Espana was on and got to enjoy a number of free photography exhibitions, lucky me!
I will look back fondly on my time in Madrid. I think these past six weeks will embody me as a mid-twenty year old senorita, living half way across the world, stumbling in Spanish, all while falling in love with a different culture and country. I walked around the streets last night with a little pang in my eyes, if I had blinked too suddenly a few tears would have fallen. I know when I board my bus for Lisbon tomorrow, there will be an ache somewhere inside of me, a little, loud part of me that doesn’t want to leave Madrid. I’ve written before about missing things and the weight of it all. Thankfully I have the allure of adventure and fresh travels to pull me away, else I might never leave. There’s also two handsome men waiting for me at home, one of them is my brand new, little Nephew! I’m officially a member of the “aunty club” now.
And so it begins, my latest adventure the wrong way home.
Have you got any Summer (or Winter) adventures planned? I’d love to hear them!