To celebrate me turning another year older, we jetted off to Madrid for a long weekend. I originally wanted to share 33 reasons why I thought Madrid was awesome (for each of my 33 years) but that seems excessive so here are my top 10ish – in no particular order.
1. The food. I know I said they were in no particular order but really, was there ever a question that this would be listed first?
On our first night there, we carried on with our tradition of doing a food tour (highly recommend Devour Madrid). Not only are these tours good introductions to the food culture but we also received a list of recommended places to eat, so the rest of our trip itinerary was pretty much set. I will take an afternoon with a plate of jamón ibérico ham over the Prado Art Museum any day of the week.
2. They have six…SIX!…official meals. Or is it 5? I don’t know…it’s a lot. And it’s awesome.
3. It’s common to drink wine at lunch. I’m not quite sure how they aren’t all falling asleep at their desk after but it’s a talent I admire.
4. They give you free snacks when you order a drink. And based on our experience, the more rounds of drinks you have, the higher up the snack chain you go. For example, you might start with some olives, then you might get some sausages, and so on.
5. Crawling from one tapa bar to the next is pretty much the norm. Must.sample.all.the.things.
6. You can just throw your trash on the floor below the bar when you are done. The good German in me had an issue with littering but eventually, I got used to just chucking my rubbish to the floor. Olive pits and all.
The trash on the floor is also seen as a good thing. It signals that lots of people were there earlier in the day/night. Because of the bar crawling nature of the city, you might see an empty place and think there is something wrong with it. But if you look at the floor and see a ton of garbage, go in pronto. Back in the day, some restaurants would even go to other restaurants, steal their trash, and bring it back to make their place look more popular.
7. Most things are really affordable. You can have a fun night out without spending a boatload.
8. The people are insanely friendly and will tolerate your terrible attempts at Spanish (sorry, Señora Gibson, I have failed you).
9. The city is beautiful and also super walkable. Even better, stuff isn’t closed on Sundays. In fact, the city is very much alive. This is shocking to us because we are so used to Germany, where everything is closed and the neighborhoods are generally quiet on Sundays.
10. If you don’t feel like walking, their Metro is one of the best systems in the world. I thought Munich had a good train network until I came to Madrid. The system has excellent coverage of the city and the trains come every few minutes, so even if you have to switch lines, you don’t have to wait very long.
And there you have it, mi amigos. I know there are a million other reasons to love this town (Cristiano Ronaldo lives there, etc) but I don’t have all day. If you’ve been, I’d love to hear what else you loved about this fair city!