There is just one word I can use to describe Madrid – Perfecto! It is an amazing capital city with so much great history and culture – there is always something to do! I really enjoyed studying in Madrid because I got to watch the bustling city go about its business – try walking around Gran via mid-day – just a crazy amount of energy in the air-so many people around, shopping, eating… walking… being a city girl myself I fell in love with it! I have so many fabulous memories of the people I met and the places I saw in Madrid.
I spent many afternoons after class eating yummy tapas with my friends before we studied again. My favorite tapas restaurant was an amazing place called “ 100 montaditos ”. It is so cool there – they sell tiny little sandwiches, with whatever you’d like in them! I enjoyed tortilla de patatas in mine! All for the bargain price 1€ each! The first time I went there I ordered just one, thinking that it would be a full size sandwich. I didn’t realize that montadito translated into small sandwich!
On my next visit I must have ordered at least three! Sometimes, at night, when we hadn’t gotten enough tapas we would treat ourselves to an amazing Spanish treat- churros dipped in hot chocolate! These sweet little deserts are perfect for breakfast too! They are fried dough pastries that are absolutely delicious…You can find them sold on the street, freshly fried. Dipping it into the rich, thick hot chocolate is the best! (It’s okay to eat them all the time- you will be walking a lot!)
If you’ve had enough of the wonderful food, there is amazing history and architecture to be explored in Madrid. I was amazed by The Palacio Real. It is still used today for state ceremonial activities and many of the rooms are open to the public, and are decorated with incredible frescos by artists such as Goya, and el Greco. The best museums in Madrid are in the “Golden Triangle of Art”. They are the Prado, Thyssen, and Reina Sofia. If you like art you really will adore these three museums! It was incredible to see Picasso’s, Guernica, at the Reina Sofia museum – it is really so big that you have to walk by it a few times to take everything in. The simple use of black and white and all of the chaotic, dramatic images scattered make a really haunting contrast – it is an amazing piece of art. I feel so privileged that I got to see it up close!
Parque Retiro is also great place to go for a relaxing Sunday afternoon, or after a visit at the Prado. It is located just behind the Prado. It has a wonderful collection of trees and flower gardens, and monuments, it even has a lake that you can go boating in! There are street performers to watch and it’s also a good place to go for a run, if you’re feeling energetic! I used to love reading there, sitting on the steps, watching the world go by and relaxing in the peace and quiet – a real change to the bustling, lively hubbub of the rest of Madrid.
Best of all, the school was located right in the centre of Madrid, just a short walk from the Retiro Park. The staff were really friendly, the teachers great, and the students came from all over the world! After class, we could go off to explore a new part of the city every day. It was just perfect!
Madrid truly opened my eyes to the amazing Spanish city life while I studied – packed with excitement and adventure! The city is always full of life with students, travelers, and locals all mixed together. I had so much fun learning Spanish that I didn’t want my classes to end!