When I tell you that I absolutely LOVE Madrid, I am being modest of my enchantment with the city. If you were a Sex in the City fan, my love for Madrid is much like Carrey’s love for NYC. It’s not because I was born and raised there, have family there, or it’s my landing airport when I go to Spain… It’s because the city itself is beautiful and has so much to offer.
I wish I could tell you that we slowly adjusted to the 7+hr time change or we were able to get over jet lag… but Spanish people know how to go out at night and party, so there was no getting to bed early to “catch-up.” With 5hrs of sleep we woke up the next morning and did the “tourist” bus where you can hop on and hop off throughout the city. I have never done a tourist bus before but I can attest that it was GREAT! We had no need to rent a car to get places or spend money in cabs in order to see much of they city.
Madrid is a busy city. Nearly 6 million people live in the city (compare to 1.8 million in Manhattan) and everyone moves around simultaneously with a purpose. People are going to work, walk around, shop, dine out… either by foot or by the busy subway and bus system. One of the major differences between Madrid and Manhattan is the buildings. In Madrid they are old, beautiful, and many tell a story -Manhattan is my other love in the US.
Calle Serrano is another of my favorite streets. All the major brands and shopping centers reside there. It’s like shopping in some boutiques on upper east side and 5th avenue. What makes it unique is that many of the stores are the ground floor or residential buildings that are really pretty. Since we took the tour on a Sunday, most of the stores were closed.
The bus also took us really close to my house in Madrid (where my father resides). I grew up a few blocks from the Bernabeu Stadium, the home of the Real Madrid soccer team. The stadium seats 81,000+ people and during a soccer game I could hear “ggggooooooooooolllll!!!!!” from my house. Happy memories I tell you.
Can I just tell you how much I love tapas in Spain? I LOVE THEM!!! Whew! I told you!! Tapas are small portions of common dishes and appetizers. Spanish people often times eat tapas instead of a meal, variety is key. Here I am eating a bocadillo (baguette sandwich) in Madrid.
We also met Marga, a good family friend of mine, for tapas that evening. We went to the Mercado San Miguel (St. Michael’s Market) for some delicious food. If you go to Madrid, you must stop here. It’s an old market in the city center that was recently renovated and filled with many food stands.
In the San Miguel Market you can find all sorts of fruit, vegetables, cooked food, tapas, meats, exotic peppers, beer stands, wine tastings, desserts, cooked delicacies, seafood stands and every assortment of tapas you can imagine. All are displayed in colorful groups and every enticing to the eye. It’s hard not to drool while “window shopping” for food.
Jet lagged or not, we were always ready to go out at night. It’s hard to not want to do it all over again; the food portions are small and one walks a lot. By the time you hit up the next place you are ready for more! Hence my love for all things food. Good food that is. Tomorrow a bit more on food since we sampled so much during our week!