On a whim I decided to head to Madrid this weekend. I had (gasp) never been there, so I really had no idea what to expect. Descending into Barajas Airport the muted brown landscape appeared less than appealing, but by the time I arrived in the center of Madrid, I was in love.
As I described Madrid to a friend later, “It’s like Paris but with Spanish speakers.” The aesthetic, the joie de vivre, the architecture all reminded me of the French capital, so I was hooked.
I walked everywhere to get my bearings, which I always do on a first trip anywhere: from my hotel near the Prado, to the swank neighborhood of Salamanca, to the bars of Chueca, and south to the neighborhood of Lavapies. Along the way I tried to ace my Spanish skills, which are pretty abysmal (but surprised me in times of need!).
I loved Madrid but the hours killed me. Wandering the still-bustling streets at 3 a.m., trying to decide where to go next, is an only-in-Spain feeling. Fortunately I had little guilt sleeping in until noon every day because I knew the day would not end again until very, very late!
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