Winter is not a joke. Even this beautiful city loses its charm when covered up in grey. I see shriveled people walking on the streets, the small European, convenient cars are rushing to the red traffic light before it turns red, the small cute dogs are dressed up in adorable outfits, and the nature around is sleeping. I love coming to Madrid. And I am back again.
On a Wednesday night you would think that everything will be closing earlier than usually, it's not the case in Madrid. The shops, restaurants, bars, pubs are on a full swing. When I talk about shopping in Spain I automatically mean Mango and Zara. This is the home for these two sisters. Great deals, shocking discounts, a lot of outfits waiting for you at this time of the year. Because I went late for shopping, I was the last one to leave the stores. It felt a little bit like desperation, but like I said:" if you miss the chance, you never know when u can catch it again".
Foto by me
This south-European city has a population of almost 3.2 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin. Madrid is divided into 2 1 districts (distritos), which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios). Residents of Madrid are typically called Madrileños.
I just adore getting lost in downtown. The main street, Puerta del Sol (Spanish for "Gate of the Sun"), has so many hidden, interesting places where locals hangout. It seems almost like hide-and-seek game. The area contains a number of well-known sights both domestically and internationally associated with Spain. If you go to the southwest side of the Puerta you will be able to see the Plaza Mayor, the Palacio Real, the official home of the Royal Family, which is further west. The Parliament and the museum district are to the east and the train station Atocha is to the southeast. The kilómetro cero is a plaque on the ground directly north of the Post Office serving as the symbolic center of Spain. It's pretty cool.
Foto by me
With my 3 shopping bags used as my fancy accessories I knew that I will struggle to get in any place. That's why I let my intuition direct me to the right path and tell me where would be the greatest spot for tonight to feel the vibe of Madrid. I've heard a noise coming from the half-open, brown doors and I asked the security guy what's all this about and he said that they are hosting a local jazz band. Perfect. The entrance was €3 and luckily I had a table for only myself.
Foto by me
If you are into live jazz music I highly recommend to come to Café Pupolart downtown and let your ear pick its best rhythm. I went inside the jazz bar/café and the band already got everybody hooked. Good atmosphere, a couple of beers up in the air, great international music accustomed under the jazz style. It was so nice to see Louis Armstrong observing all this from the wall of fame, I am sure he is smiling now. In the corner of the bar I saw a violin. It described my presence so well: you can barely hear me from the unnoticed spot of the bar but I am a very important component to the ensemble.
Foto by me
I suddenly understood why we tend to stress out so much on a day-to-day routine. It's because we have so many distructions and forget to appreciate these kind of moments. When I travel outstation, I am usually not connected to the internet, my mobile is not on roaming, I don't have my iPad with me, I am not driving, and I am not keen to impress or be understood by anybody. All I care about is to discover, to feed my curiosity with information that is relevant to me, I focus on one thing at a time, I act like a little kid that was thrown into a deep, blue, scary swimming pool and was asked to learn how to swim. People overwhelm themselves with activities and thoughts that drain their energy leaving them with a resentful feeling. Maybe it's time to give yourself a brake and start doing things step-by-step, little-by-little.
Foto by me
I am such a traveler. When I walk on the streets, I involuntary look around everywhere. Sometimes I see my wondering reflection in people's eyes and their expretion amuses me. The interesting part is that Spanish people don't back up. They are looking at you and with you, until the eyes speak the same language. They are very approachable and nice habitants. You might find yourself in an awkward situation where a stranger invites you for a drink in the middle of the street. I'm not saying not to go for it, but just be careful. Guys might seduce you with their Spanish inherited, suave charm.
After getting lost in the darkness of the night and finding myself in the healing light of Madrid, it was time for me to go back to the hotel and rest for another duty.
There are so many more things to see and do in this marvelous city. If you will ever have the honor to be a guest in the capital of Spain, don't hesitate to treat yourself with delightful local dishes like Paella, traditional Spanish stews Cocido Madrileño, and Callos a la Madrileña, also the so called "street food" Churros con Chocolate or Dulce de Letche, to die for. You can share with us your great experiences in the local restaurants and other places you have visited in Madrid. Looking forward to hearing from you.