My First Impressions of Madrid
!Hola from Madrid! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted and I truly apologize! I just want to let you know that my life has been a continuous blur since my internship ended in August and I arrived for a semester abroad in Madrid about a week ago. I’m so excited to be here and I love so many things about this beautiful and historic city already! I always think it is so much fun to point out fun, quirky things when traveling to new cities, so that’s what this post is all about. I’ve definitely noticed a few very unique things about the way of life in Madrid and I can’t wait to share my first thoughts about this wonderful city with you all. If you’re planning on traveling to Madrid you’re sure to experience some of the things I am going to mention for yourself.
*This is a fun post and it comes from my perspective as an American college student visiting Madrid for the first time.
First of All, The Weather and the Landscape Here are Beautiful
It has reached 80 degrees F nearly every day since I’ve been here and I couldn’t be happier! In addition there’s not very much humidity (unlike in Boston) and there always seems to be a really nice breeze. There also haven’t been any rainy days which is pretty typical for September in Madrid. This near-perfect weather is serious motivation to get out and enjoy the scenic landscape of the city (which I would compare to southern France or southern California). The city is surrounded by mountains and out in el campo there are miles of tranquil fields, horse ranches and rolling hills. The inner city is also very lush with plenty of green space and an abundance of shady trees. Overall I’m loving the beautiful weather and I’m hoping it continues into October.
Los Madrileños (people from Madrid) REALLY Love Their Dogs
If you’re a dog lover then Madrid is the place to be. Walking down the streets you are guaranteed to see at least 5 dogs per city block. There are big dogs, little dogs, long dogs and fluffy dogs. Honestly there are so many that I think Madrid should offer dog sight-seeing tours (I mean I’d definitely pay a good amount of money to ride around the city on a bus and look at dogs!). Little dogs seem to be especially popular and sometimes it seems like the smaller the better because I’ve seen some seriously tiny pups!
Los Madrileños Know How to Dress
This is a very stylish city and the people are really beautiful. Their fashion is on trend yet relaxed and you can tell that most people put a lot of work into their appearance, especially in the more posh parts of the city! Given the warm climate, women are still wearing cute summery tops and dresses and I’m here for it because back in Boston it would be about time for me to break out my sweaters and boots to greet the fall chill. There are tons of department stores and clothing shops here and it seems like the most popular one is a multi-faceted, multi-story store called El Corte Ingles! This store sells everything from Prada purses to tennis rackets to school supplies and it has a Misses section with a beautiful selection of clothes. I’m glad that I’m living in such a fashionable city because it’ll give me the chance to dress a little nicer than I might back home and try some fun new trends.
Madrid Knows How to PARTY
I had heard that Madrid was a city with wild nightlife, but I didn’t understand just how wild it was until I experienced it for myself. Here in Madrid you don’t leave your house for a night out until 11:30 since most clubs open at 12:00am. Once you’re out you can expect to stay out until the wee hours of the morning as most clubs don’t close until 6:00 or 7:00am. There’s dancing and drinking galore and the whole city seems to come alive on the crowded streets of Malasaña on weekends (and even week days). The atmosphere of the clubs and bars here is so wild and carefree and you can find people of all ages enjoying the many nightlife options Madrid has to offer. Here in Madrid no one is “too old” to go out and I think that’s part of the carefree, funloving nature of the city. I’m looking forward to many more nights out, and I hoping that most of them end at a churro stand as the sun is just starting to come up!
The Food Here is So Healthy
Since I’ve been in Madrid I haven’t been served any processed food at all, everything is fresh and homemade and I’m feeling really spoiled. It seems like the diet consists of lots of vegetables, fish, pork and so much bread! People here don’t seem to eat a lot of sugar but that could just be my host family’s own habits. It is common here to have fruits like apples, pears and plums for dessert so I might be down a few pounds at the end of my trip! In restaurants you can order some higher calorie options like papas fritas or fried calamari but it seems like most families have a very healthy diet within the home. It’s been really fun to try so many new foods, most of which are incredibly delicious!
The Pace of Life is Slower
I feel like this city just has a very chill vibe overall. You don’t see people rushing through the streets or hastily choking down meals, it seems like everyone genuinely takes time to enjoy whatever they are doing in the moment. Meals take much longer than they do in the US because people take time to savor the food and make good conversation. There’s doesn’t seem to be a rush to get to places and it’s perfectly acceptable to be 15 minutes late to a social gathering in Madrid. People don’t seem to sweat the small stuff and for the most part they take time to appreciate the little things in life. Madrid’s unofficial slogan, No Pasa Nada makes it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of a restless East Coast city like Boston!
If you liked the photos in this post you can find many more and fun facts about Madrid on my Instagram!
Overall, I really think I’ve picked the perfect place to study abroad and I can’t wait to learn more about this great city throughout the semester. I know that more great nights, good food and sunny days await. Let me know in the comments is you’ve ever been to Madrid and if you can relate to some of the things I’ve mentioned! And if this seems like the place for you go book your plane tickets now because a this is a city that needs to be crossed off everyone’s bucket list!