There are places you know you will love, places you fall in love with at first sight, places you get used to but Madrid wasn’t any of those. I went there without high expectations, for what I had known it was just another capital – a couple of average monuments, lots of museums and it takes ages to get from A to B – nothing particularly special. I don’t know when exactly I actually started to love the city; it happened in the meantime, unexpectedly and progressively, not a bold from the blue. There’s something about it, maybe the architecture, the atmosphere, nice bars and cafes, the people.
Although weird at first it felt great to be able to understand everything around – no Catalan, just the most Spanish castellano. Only Spanish flags.
In an inexplicable way people seemed different too. Somehow I thought they were more relaxed but maybe it’s just because I was carefree and on holiday. What is definitely different is Madrid’s sense of fashion. I saw high heels! People dress more elegant in comparison to ‘alternative’ and ‘arty’ citizens of Barcelona.
Food isn’t much different from what we have here. They seem to like puddings more; churrerias and pastry shops are all around the place. Cakes in San Miguel market are heavenly.
We visited Retiro park twice, it’s a massive complex and must look fantastic in spring. Even in February though it is pretty impressive.
The museum are very impressive too. I visited Prado and Reina Sofia and it was a really really good dose of art.
Other random but amazing thing in Madrid was traffic lights. The sound they make is just like the sound of shooting in one of the good old Pegasus games. Purely beautiful.
I can’t deny it, Madrid has seduced me. Many times I asked friends who had visited the capital: do you prefer Barcelona or Madrid? Now I see it’s impossible to say – the two cities are too different, too unique to be compared. It was not love at first sight but I know I want to go back.