Madrid

MADRID!

June 21, 2015

PalacioRealDeMadrid

So about a month ago, I spontaneously decided I wanted to spend a month in a city I’d never been to all by myself. For the longest time, I was weighing between Milan and Madrid. To live a month in Italy has been a lifelong dream, but as I did my research and read thoroughly about both cities, my heart started leaning towards Madrid.

Since I was staying a whole month, the apartment I’d stay in played a huge role: It had to be a space where I’d love waking up, a space that would motivate me to work out (mirrors, please!), a place in the city center, and a place where I could cook. In about two weeks’ time, since the idea of finally experiencing living in a new city by myself, I booked my accommodation and one-way ticket to Madrid!

Thanks to Airbnb, it was easy to find an apartment within my budget. Another big part that played into my choosing Madrid was the fact that it is in the center of Spain, as I really wanted to take day- and weekend-trips to other cities.

My Three First Days

I arrived last Tuesday night and spent the three next days exploring different parts of Madrid by foot. I had read about how the city comes alive after sunset, and it was a very unique experience seeing it firsthand!

On my first night out, Wednesday, I decided I’d treat myself with dinner and wine. I ended up choosing a terrace restaurant, Ana La Santa, on Plaza del Angel. I asked the waiter what he recommended and ended up going for a beautiful tapas dish: Tuna sashimi with chipotle mayonnaise and avocado on corn tortillas with a squeeze of lime.

AnaLaSanta4e

AnaLaSanta3e

After dinner, just before 10pm, I decided I’d tick one item off my list: Café Jazz Populart. I walked in fifteen minutes before the live band was going to play, and it was 80% empty. I got a complimentary bowl of candy(!) with my Populart cocktail, and enjoyed watching as the place slowly filled up. The crowd couldn’t have been more diverse: Mid-aged Korean men, local couples (young and old), a group of young adult tourists, single old men, and myself. Albeit the diversity, it was clear everyone shared one thing in common as the old band started playing—Jazz.

Honestly, I had no idea I appreciated jazz until I looked it up on Youtube. One thing I decided before coming to Madrid was that I’d expose myself to new things and learn to appreciate every new experience. And although I don’t love jazz, I can honestly say I appreciate it now. I have yet to tick off a blues bar and a hip bar.

On Thursday evening I walked up Calle Bailén as I decided to watch From the Maddening Crowd at Cines Renoir Princesa. I was astonished at the entirely different vibe of the west area from the city’s main center. I walked past a terrace restaurant that had a peek (and peak) view of Jardines de Sabatini and Catedral de la Almudena.

TerraceCalleDeSegovia

CatedralDeLaAlmudena1

I also walked past the Palacio Real de Madrid, and saw the entire Catedral de la Almudena on Plaza de la Armería. Just behind the palace lies the beautifully landscaped Sabatini gardens which I only got a peek of from the terrace restaurant. Bello!

PalacioRealDeMadrid

PalacioCatedral

After the movie, I took photos of the fountains on Plaza de España, which was just to the right of the cinemas. It was around 1opm, and people were out and about chilling as if it was 4pm! It’s located along Calle de la Princesa which merges into Calle Gran Vía, “known as the Spanish Broadway, and is one of the streets with more nightlife in Europe. It is known as the street that never sleeps,” according to Wikipedia.

PlazaDeEspana3

I walked along Gran Vía taking short off-course walks up Malasaña, and continued my way down the Spanish broadway while marveling at the vibrancy of the city until I reached Calle de Alcalá when I decided it was time to go home. Basking in all the impressions of Madrid, I didn’t realize I had walked for 1.5 hours!

With all the walking I had done on my first two days in open-toed flats, a part of my left foot started aching so badly. So all of Friday was spent hunting new Nike Runs. I spent about 2 hours checking all three of the El Corte Inglés buildings along Calle Preciados, branched between Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, when I finally decided the best deal I’d get was at Foot Locker. I like exploring all options before I settle as it gives me peace of mind knowing I got the best deal! Anyway.

And all of yesterday was spent in Toledo, a city 30 minutes from Madrid by train. It deserves its very own entry though. It’s been five days since I arrived in Madrid, and what an impression it’s made on me so far! I am astonished by the hustle and bustle of Spain’s capital. All I can say is that so far, I am in love! ♥

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