Sarah's Wanderlust: The Best of Madrid
(Almost) two weeks in & it's confirmed: I love Madrid. The capital of Spain certainly does not disappoint with its rich culture, delicious food, and stunning architecture. Instead of giving a play-by-play of my first two weeks in Madrid (because they have been packed), I thought I'd sum up my time by sharing some of my favorite things about Madrid.
The Abono: If you're living for an extensive period of time in Madrid, you have the ability to purchase an Abono, which is the equivalent to a monthly Metro card. Why is this metro card so spectacular, though? If you're under 26, the Abono is only 20€ per month with access to all the metro lines, buses, and trains within the community of Madrid!!! To put this into context, those 26 and over pay about 100€ for the same advantages, and an unlimited metro card in NYC is $116.50 each month.
The metro: In addition to the advantages of the Abono, the metro system here in Madrid is incredibly easy to navigate. For those of you who know me, I'm quite directionally challenged, and pretty much always need to rely on a GPS or friend. But the metro system here is clearly labeled, quick, and much nicer than any other city's I've been on (cough, cough, NYC step up your game).
The food: Is anyone really surprised this is on my list? While the Spanish tend to love food that's fried and cooked with lots of oil , I could eat their cured meats, cheeses, and bocadillos (sandwiches) every day. Plus, most places serve olives with their tapas.
Their culture surrounding time: This is one thing that while I love, it is definitely taking some time to get used to. There's an outsider perception that the Spanish are slow, late, etc., but in reality, they value time spent with loved ones. So while Americans are always in a rush to get through dinner (and are often pushed out the door by staff), Spanish people sit and enjoy the company and the food. Waiters don't bring out the check before you finish your coffee. Time is genuinely valued in Spain.
The cost: How is it that everything seems so cheap here?! While the exchange rate favors the euro slightly, everything (and yes, I mean everything) is super affordable. A three-course meal for lunch? 11€. A boxed liter of wine? 1€. The only thing that isn't quite as cheap is electricity/ gas which is why very few Spanish apartments have air conditioning (not to mention it's upwards of 100 degrees everyday).
I haven't had the opportunity to do many touristy activities yet, as I've been busy with orientation, class, and a quick weekend getaway to Valencia, but hopefully my next post will be an update on all that (and with pictures).