My time in Madrid was a lot like my time in Iceland. You would have thought I’d been traveling for weeks and just needed a place to relax. That’s what Madrid was for me. As an avid non-fiction reader, as of late, I had a fiction novel I’d been saving for this leg of my journey and spent most of my days in Espana with several cups of tea just reading. 650 pages in three days all while exploring a new city? No problem.
For some reason taxi rides from the airport were a standard 30 euros, meaning the train would have to suffice. You can imagine how proud of myself I was for finally finding the subway at the airport and navigating three trains to my hostel in central Madrid. It was London all over again. There’s something about finding your way around a new city, solo. Bonus points if you’re on a different continent.
Once I made it to my uber cool hostel I waited around to check in and head to my room. The bar in the lobby was a nice surprise but the DJ that played at night and the rooftop bar/restaurant were even better. I couldn’t have found a swankier place within walking distance to literally everything.
I set my things down, checked out the balcony in my room that I didn’t even know existed, and set off for food. I settled on a restaurant about a block away and right by the entrance to the popular square. Seafood and chicken paella and a huge goblet of sangria were on the menu. I devoured every grain of rice and headed out to explore. It was already dark outside but that never stops me from walking for hours on end. It didn’t hurt that hundreds of people were out and about. Madrid was pretty busy this Saturday night.
As I walked the streets and took in the architecture, I can’t lie, I fell deeper in love. Madrid reminded me of several cities all merged together, but I immediately got Paris vibes. I know some people don’t care for Europe because they feel that most cities look alike, but I love those cities especially for their aesthetics. If the architects of Paris, London, and Madrid had replicated those buildings in America, I’d probably love America even more. Or I’d be so numb to their effect that I wouldn’t even care. Let’s go with the first option though.
I eventually found a Starbucks with space for me, grabbed a cup of Chai that wasn’t Oprah’s, and cozied up with my book before finally making it back to my hostel and heading to bed.
My first two days in Madrid were rainy and cool, but that was just fine with me. I did a lot of roaming and reading, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I could’ve should’ve would’ve taken in a flamenco show and there was a museum I passed that I planned to check out, but I never made it. Do I regret it? Nah. I got to finish the final installment in the trilogy I’d been reading, saw a beautiful city and ate my way through it, and simply got to be.
To this day I still don’t know how I ended up in Madrid, but I’m glad I did. Everyone will recommend Barcelona or even tell you to head to Morocco straight from Lisbon, and maybe they’re right. Maybe you should skip it all together. All I know is that there’s more than enough time to visit those places and I’m sure I’ll make it there sooner rather than later. But for now, Madrid was just what the doctor ordered.