Vibrant and busy describe the Spanish city of Madrid. Month and a half lived in Spain, feels fitting time to share my official hot takes on city life. Buckle up to cover a lot of ground today. My humble (definitely not professional), opinions are as follows:
People. So many people.
Any given day, people are always out on the streets. City life offers plenty activities to do or someone to hang out with.
Pros: Friends come easily. Madrid has a huge Aux community. I create connections and meet other auxiliares in the most random parts of the city.
Cons: Naturally, lots of people can tend to feel crowded. Take this consideration, for instance, during commute or frustration regarding a long wait in line.
Active users of the internet know about expats abroad; the classic, "when I studied abroad" line. Goes without saying, different cuizine and eating habits are apart of any cultural expierence. Yes, Spaniards do eat later. Normally, I don't eat dinner until 8-9pm and I’m perfectly fine! At home, my family tends to eat a later dinner. Not a huge addition to my routine in Spain.
Pros: Eating later leaves me full until mid morning! I’m not much of a breakfast person so this feels natural.
Cons: Factor dinner reservations accordingly. Everyone wants to eat out on the weekend. Once I had a 9:30 dinner with friends and we didn’t finish our meals until almost midnight! Make sure to plan ahead.
Day in day out in the city tires sometimes. I’m more of a nature gal myself so I have to make consistent effort to have some form of outside time to recharge. People here love to be outside, enjoy tapas in the streets or take a walk around the park.
Pros: Easily enough, the city has plenty of public parks. More strenuous adventures and hiking trails are outside of the city center, just a cercanía or train ride away.
Cons: None. I’m a firm believer all people can benefit from outside time. Human beings value from time spent grounding oneself in nature.
Going out? Bars, clubs, and restaurants are in all neighborhoods. Most of the clubs have cover fees but typically include a free drink upon entry. If you don’t want to spend too much money but still have a good time, plenty of chill bars don't charge. One of my favorites? Cheers Karaoke: free entry, good company, and liquid courage is all you need for an easy going but fun night! (Promise this isn't sponsored).
Pros: Tons of options to choose from to cater personal preference.
Cons: As city life goes, often times there are long lines to get into clubs. My personal tip: research which club to attend before arrival and reserve tickets in advance. This helps cut the wait time in half!
Who else prefers public transportation over driving? Better for the environment and convenient to use. People under 25 with the abono pass can travel by cercanía, bus, or metro for only 20€ a month! Talk about a deal.
Pros: Train stations are almost every other block and the buses run about every 15 minutes. You can get to the outskirts of the city just as easily with the cercanías.
Cons: Sometimes the train breaks down or the bus doesn’t show up on time. Get those steps.
Every location has its up and down. Spend more time here and parts of Spain you love, hate, and grow to tolerate begin to come naturally. Within no time, explore town, go to bars, ride the train, and make friends like a true Madrileño!