Just Madrid Things

Every school day, I walk down the street to my metro stop, Bilbao, and take the metro to Argüelles. The stop is only about a 3-5 minute walk from la Universidad Nebrija, but what is it about this short commute, and walking around Madrid in general, that makes it a very new and exciting experience?

Madrid is so different from what I have known my whole life. Something as simple as walking down the street is lovely. I have never lived in a big city before. I grew up in a small suburb outside of Dallas, Texas called Coppell. I have never had any need to use public transit regularly or learn to tune out the hectic and bustling sounds that beam throughout my porch door 24/7, but nevertheless, I love it. The Madrid metro, unlike several other metros in Europe and perhaps the vast majority of those in the USA, is very safe, clean, and easy to operate. For just twenty Euros every month, approximately 22 USD, I can take any Madrid metro line, bus, or train to the outskirts of Madrid up to two hours away. Amazing, I know.

Most of the buildings have been here for several years, so the architecture and porch railings have me looking around constantly as I make my commute to school. I’m sure the locals think I’m crazy for just stopping and staring or looking back and forth so often, but I just want to take it all in.

Lately it has been pretty cold in the mornings, but it’s something I am very usetod . Experiencing all four seasons in one day seems to occur here in Madrid as well. The weather  in Texas can’t make up it’s mind between being hot or cold, so waking up and trying to decide what to wear hasn’t been the easiest thing. Also, because the average person here in Madrid is very well dressed, athletic clothes isn't a normal thing to wear on a daily basis. I only see maybe one or two Madridians wearing sports gear per day and they are either coming out or going to the gym near my apartment. Current trends include hoop earrings and superstar Adidas that are impossible to miss along with blazers. Not to mention the average Madridian is extremely fit. I don’t think I have seen more than a handful of people who appear overweight in my almost two months of living here.

 

Some other common visuals when roaming around Madrid are people outside enjoying tapas, burgers, and sandwiches at almost all times of the day. They smoke like chimneys here but they are always in groups chatting and laughing or walking their dogs. And when a true Madridian isn’t doing one of those things, they are stopping at one of the one million adorable coffee shops in Madrid to have perhaps their first of many cups of coffee of the day. There are several stands in certain metro stops that sell one-euro coffees and pastries, so you could say I am living my best life. Also, what strikes me as very interesting about the locals is that the vast majority of them do not use their phones or headphones as they are running errands or doing other daily activities.

My street in particular is a “very cool and hipster place to live” -- not my words, but the locals’ words. There are so many cute clothing stores, bookshops, restaurants and cafes, movie theaters, and a nearby grocery store all within a 5-10 minute walk from my place. There are Spanish flags everywhere hanging from windows and porches due to the Catalan conflict (which I will explain in depth in another article) and there’s a fountain at nearly every street corner.  I also tend to walk much slower here since the number of elderly people far exceeds the number of younger people and children.

 

Prices overall tend to be about the same as what I am used to back in Texas, but alcohol is significantly cheaper everywhere. Also, if you are a student and you show your ID or visa, you’re eligible for a free or discounted ticket/entrance. I’ve gone to several museums, palaces, the opera, and festivals all for free or extremely discounted rates because of this!

 

My time here is basically half way done, but it has been a lovely and eye opening experience to be immersed in this culture and integrated into this community. I will keep you updated on food and new sites to see here in my city, but for now we are headed to Seville for the weekend, another famous city in Spain!

 

Go Runners!

 

#AsofTakesMadrid