Madrid: The odds, the uniques and the humbles

Madrid is often overshadowed by its northerly neighbor Barcelona. There is little reason for this—with delicious food, affordable living, deluxe shopping and smiley faces the capital of Spain really does deserve its own spotlight.

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I have been in Madrid for almost a month now. Apart from Brazil 2010, this is my first time spending more than three weeks abroad and I have never felt so settled, safe and at home as I have felt here.

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I thought I would briefly explain some of the little quirks and oddities I have observed of the city and its people. If you are soon taking a trip to Spain (more specifically, South Spain) please check out my other blogs Me and my shadow in Seville, Sevilla at dawn and Off the beaten track: Cadiz

  • They love lifts (or elevators for the Americans)

If there is a choice between a lift or the stairs, they will choose the lift. If there is a choice between the escalators or the stairs, oh you guessed it, it’s the escalator. What is more is that once they are stood on the escalators there is no budging them. Even if it is empty or their train approaching the platform. Here, escalators are for standing not walking!

  • Don’t be alarmed at La Semana Santa processions… (The photo speaks for itself)
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  • They abide by traffic lights.

Again, if the red man is on, there is no budging them, even if there are no cars. (Seriously, the malevolent looks I received when crossing on a red light could have been something out of a nightmare) …

  • The metro has seats about 80% of the time

Except for rush hour, you will almost always find a seat on the metro in Madrid- the same cannot be said for London.

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  • They speak faster than Usain Bolt sprints

Don’t get me wrong, Madrid is a great place to learn Spanish. The accent is MUCH clearer than Andalucía, País Vasco and much of Latin America, but like a lot of Spain, they speak as if someone is chasing them to finish.

  • If you look English, they will speak to you in English

It’s important to remember that if you want to practice your Spanish, all you have to do is tell them. Whether it be in a restaurant, food shop or nightclub- if they hear you speaking English or if you look English, they will speak to you in English.

  • They have HAM MUSEUMS

Like, legit. “Los museos del jamon” are scattered across Madrid. They aren’t actual ham museums, but they could have fooled me…
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  • They are more direct than the English

“Dime” (Tell me) “Quiero” (I want) and “La Cuenta” (The bill) are all things you will hear often in Spain. There is no beating around the bush here. Don’t bother with the “Is it possible if I could perhaps possibly maybe have” English crap. The Spanish are direct people and their language reflects that.

  • Madrid is a beauty
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  • They love asking the British about Brexit and the Americans about Trump.

… Doesn’t everyone…

  • Even though it’s a city, pace of life is still quite slow

People won’t move for you if you are in a rush. So… just try not to be in a rush.

  • Beautiful surrounding cities.

Segovia, Toledo and Cuenca…

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  • Perfect temperature this time of year

April and May months are the perfect time to come to Madrid. Spring is blooming and the temperature isn’t too cold or too hot. If you get a chance, take one day to walk around Retiro park or sit on a bench and just read your day away – absolute serenity.

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Europe Spain Travel blog

Georgie Bolam View All →

Student Journalist, Creative Writer, Poet, Traveller, Eco Warrior

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