What I Did and Where I Went
Unlike Rome, Madrid didn’t have a long list of must-see sights. There was the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, both of which I saw, but Madrid was all about going out and doing things rather than seeing them. Thanks to my hostel, I had easy access to information on city walk tours, pub crawls, a Flamenco show, and even a tapa tour, all of which were great ways for me to meet interesting new people and make new friends. Oh, and did I mention I ran into a friend of mine from high school? Small world! She and I ended up getting shit faced going out for drinks the first night I was in Madrid which turned out to be really fun.
What I Ate
Before going on my trip, I knew I liked Greek and Italian food, but I didn’t know how much I liked Spanish food until I was actually in Spain eating Spanish food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The way Spaniards do meals is different compared to most cultures: In Spain, everyone eats a big lunch consisting of a first course, second course, and dessert. If you decide to go out to eat for lunch, you can actually score one of these huge meals for cheap by ordering the “Menu del Dia” which is a pre-set, three-course menu and a drink for around 10 euro. Not a bad deal if you ask me!
Something else that’s common in Spain is eating tapas, which are small plates of food (snacks or appetizers); tapas can be served hot or cold, and they can consist of almost anything: grilled veggies, chips and hummus, croquettes, etc. The reason why Spaniards even have tapas in the first place is because of their lifestyles. Like Greece and Italy, Spain moves slowly: lunch is served around 2pm and dinner isn’t served until around 10pm, which also happens to be when the sun finally starts to go down. Around 2am* is when Spaniards begin to go out drinking and partying and they’re out until 6am. Essentially, there’s a pretty big gap in between lunch and dinner, and a big gap in between dinner and going home after drinking all night, so these tapas, or snacks, come in handy during those times.
Out of all the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Spain was my favorite: it was clean (only a little graffiti), relatively cheap, easy to navigate, the weather was nice, the food was amazing, the people were generally friendly, and I could actually communicate since I know a good amount of Spanish!
Since Spain ended up being the country I liked the most, I’m glad I decided to save it for last when it came to planning my trip. The only thing Athens really had going for it was that they had delicious, cheap food. Rome was beautiful and there was a lot to see, but it was also expensive, and not to mention, very romantic which made me a little depressed that my boyfriend wasn’t there with me. I feel like Madrid had the perfect mix of everything, which is why I’d go back in a heartbeat.
*This is the only thing about Spain I wasn’t a huge fan of. I don’t know about you, but 2am is way past my bedtime.