españa, españa … you are a dream.
i have always loved this country ever since falling hard for
the pretty beach town of san sebastian in college, and coming back
with chase since has made me love it more. (it doesn’t hurt that i get to hear
him speak beautiful spanish every time we’re here!) i do like barcelona, but
madrid definitely wins between the two for me. madrid has so much to love,
and it’s all so unexpected. people from the U.S. think that spain will feel a lot
like south america or mexico…but not at all. it is so european and very much
its own place. madrid is in of my top 3 european cities, i love it that much!
there are so many great things about madrid and i noticed them even more
this time since we spent some good time here for chase’s MBA kickoff.
i listed lots of things that i love about madrid in my journal this time …
|| it’s traditional – everyone speaks spanish and they want to keep it that way. you can still get around, but it’s not like other european capitals where people just automatically speak to you in english…and i like that. madrid locals are proud to be spanish and they are very into tradition. it’s a lost quality in a lot of travel now, and here you get to truly feel that you’re in a foreign city with a strong culture.
|| it’s cheap – sadly, due to the financial crisis & recession of the past few years, madrid is one of the very few nice capital cities that is also extremely cheap…like shockingly! restaurants, groceries, and entertainment are all a lot less here, making it even more enjoyable.
|| gorgeous architecture – spanish architecture is unreal. the big colorful buildings against the bright blue sky get me every time. i also love the design of the city with its elegant grand boulevards and beautiful parks. i can’t forget to mention my very favorite part: the gorgeous carved wooden doors with gold accents found on the majority of buildings. they are my favorite touch of madrid.
|| the people – they are open, passionate, welcoming, funny, helpful, and proud to be spanish. i love a place that you can tangibly feel of the culture and pride like you can here.
|| culture – madrid is filled with incredible culture and so much to do. from the prado museum to flamenco dance performances, you will never have a shortage of things to do. be sure to enjoy the likes of goya, velázquez and other spanish artists, but also don’t miss the bullfighting or real madrid football matches. so much to do and so much passion!
|| the city center is so lively and just how a city should be – walking (or vespa-ing) down the gran via feels like a scene out of a movie!
|| opportunity – though very cultured and fun, madrid also can be taken seriously with great universities and businesses centered here. it’s liveable due to all of the opportunity (which we know firsthand from chase’s amazing IE business school here!)
|| life balance – madrid may be a professional city, but its residents know how to have a high quality of life to go along with it. take the siesta as the best example of this..hard-working professionals still schedule in a multiple-hour afternoon break for a big meal and maybe a nap before getting back to work. they work later in the night because of it, but they maintain their traditions and way of life.
|| food – the cuisine is unique and fabulous. again, a lot of tourists expect mexican or south american food, but you won’t find that here. instead you’ll find tapas, a glorious and hard-to-describe way of eating. imagine all different small plates full of fresh, flavorful combinations. along with tapas some favorites are spanish tortillas (a potato & egg bake), the famous spanish fam/ jamon, churros con chocolat, sangria (virgin for us :), porchetta, olives, spanish cheese (obsessed with manchego), and the list goes on. the point is, there is no shortage of delectable food here.
|| the energy – certain places are described as being “alive,” and madrid is one of the best examples of that to me. the energy in the streets here represents the passion and celebration of life here. you can be out walking at midnight on a weeknight here, and the streets will be so full and lively with all kinds of people that it almost feels like mid-day. this city knows how to live.
we went to a flamenco show our very last night, quite the memory! ^^
hasta pronto, madrid!