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My Madrid adventure

Jan 9th, 2008 by admin | 1

So I was in Madrid for New Year’s Eve (came back last Friday). I think some of you may have seen my Madrid album on Flickr and were now waiting for some written comment about my stay at the centre of Spain.

First of all I have to say that the trip was definitely worth it because I was so happy to see many of the people again whom I got to know on my Erasmus semester in Dublin. We really had a short but great time with a great New Year’s celebration.

The queue at the Prado

The second thing is that I didn’t like the city of Madrid itself that much. Of course I liked the old town and for example the Parque del Retiro but I don’t really know how to describe it but the atmosphere was somehow strange. Because for example on the 31st in the afternoon when we were walking around near the Prado/Parque del Retiro/Atocha station there were so little cars on the street that the 3 lanes seemed totally over-dimensioned. And I think Madrid lacks tourist attractions a bit. I mean, I don’t want to be the typical tourist with a camera hanging in front his belly but Parque del Retiro – Museo del Prado – Plaza Mayor – Palacio Real and a few others like Atocha station or the Reina Sofía Museum that’s not that much. And you also have to consider the fact that at three of the ones mentioned there was a veeeeery long queue in front, so that we just laughed and walked away again…

3/11 Memorial - The inside

By the way here I have to mention one place I really liked in Madrid. I knew the reason it was built for is a sad one, but the memorial for the victims of the 3/11 train bombings at Atocha station is really beautiful although (or because) it’s quite simple. When you sit down there in the half-dark blue-painted room and watch the people looking up to from where the light comes in, that was quite impressive.

And now I’m gonna give some more short notes about my impressions of Madrid:

  • At the chocolateriaSpanish food has quite a lot of fat. Although I like some of it a lot. I love Spanish tortilla for example. But they also quite a lot of sea food and that was really not something I liked. But anyway I didn’t starve.
    And one strange food to mention is Chocolate con Churros. This is a breakfast dish typical for Madrid. And this – how else could it be – is quite fat as well and in my opinion it’s definitely enough if you have tasted it once.
  • The people of Madrid are crazy about lottery. There are lots of guys standing around on Puerta del Sol selling lottery tickets and people are queuing in front of the lottery booths nearly like at the Prado. Just make a search on Flickr and you can see some impressions of that.
  • Madrid people seem to have a lot of gold or at least the owners of those “Compro Oro” stores must believe that. These are shops where people can go an sell their gold and there are so many of those on Puerta del Sol and in Calle de la Montera alone that’s really strange.
  • Policia Muicipal Madrid seems to be fine with the fact that in Calle de la Montera, which is right in the city centre and where my Hostel was there are prostitutes standing/waiting all day long. And the funny thing is that there is quite a big police station in that street as well.
  • Madrid Metro signMetro Madrid is quite ridiculous. Well OK, they got a big network with many lines but the trains are going so very slow most of the time… really strange. And it’s also funny when you have to change from one metro line to another (for example at “Alonoso Martínez”). You have to go through corridors and up and down stairs that you get the feeling you’ve just mastered a labyrinth when you finally reach the right platform. And all those corridors and stairs were covered in litter at the time I was in Madrid because the cleaners of Metro Madrid were on strike.
  • And of course you have to be so aware pick-pockets in Madrid, especially on the Metro and on days like the New Years Eve when there are a lot of people in the streets. Because of our group at least one camera and one wallet were stolen. On New Years Eve some of the thieves were to be noticed quite easily if you paid a bit of attention. So never put any of you valuables in you back pockets when you’re walking round Madrid. Better put it in zipped pockets of you trousers or jacket.
    Well I think I’m really a bit spoiled about those last two points but I really like living in a save and well-functioning city like Vienna.
  • According to the tourist guide I bought before I went on this trip, Madrid is by far the noisiest of all European capitals and after having been there I do believe that. And you know what, the window of my room in the hostel was pointing to Gran Vía, one of the biggest streets in the centre of Madrid. So sleep well… ;)

So that was it with my impressions from Madrid. I really have to say that I’d love to see you all again someday…

  Listening to: Chez Hermes

One Comment on “My Madrid adventure”

  1. boarderflo said:

    yes you’re right, i waited for this…

    seems like a nice trip.

    the pics are also very fine.