Madrid, Spain – I travelled to where the sun shines so bright and the people shine brighter. There’s just so much to see and experience in this vast metropolitan city. The assault of so many sceneries and cultures may be a bit overwhelming for some. The city and its people can be quite unpredictable; one might feel like a fish out of water. I know I did. But one thing’s for sure – though the Madridistas or Madrileños may seem crazy at times and a tad over the top, they simply know how to savor life at its fullest and live with no reservations. They certainly make living crazy a sheer sight to behold.
Some Serious R&R
The Madridistas truly know how to relax. They religiously take siestas and are known for their spectacular food. What more can I ask for?
Okay, if there’s one thing I know of the Spanish it’s that they take their siestas seriously. What’s a siesta? It’s basically a nap or rest time that runs from 2pm to 5pm. Activity in the city virtually ceases. I’m not kidding. Stores and shops actually close during these times. There was nothing left for me to do but to follow on their footsteps and let myself take a nice long 3-hr nap in broad daylight.
Now to the food – in my humble opinion, Madrid is greatly known in the world of culinary for two things: tapas and tortilla. The tapas are Madrid version of finger foods. Side dishes like salads and deep-fried foods are skewered onto toothpicks, and are best to eat with beer or a good wine. The tortillas, while not a solely Madrid dish, is Spanish omelet. Also known in Spanish as Tortilla de Patatas or Potato omelet, the tortilla I tasted in Madrid was just ‘espectacular’!
Great Passion for Sports
The people of Madrid do not simply look at sports for entertainment, they live for it. It’s really serious business. Football is the most popular sport in the world, and two of the best football clubs in the sport are proud children of Madrid City – Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. Whenever these teams play their home games, it’s like a holiday in the whole city. Everyone gathers in the stadium, especially if the game is held in the Bernabue. I’m a die-hard Real Madrid fan and part of the reason I went to Madrid was to see my favorite team in action. And I did, and it was the best feeling ever. I had goose bumps. The fans also did not disappoint. With their devotion shown in their ear-splitting cheers and tears of joy or sorrow, they demonstrate what Madrid is all about – a city of people not afraid to show the rawest of their emotions for something or someone they love.
Penchant for Thrills
Bullfight, flamenco and night life – these are just some of the activities that prove that the Madrileños also seek thrills and not just the slow leisurely pace of life.
The bullfighting, for example is an adrenaline filled activity. You can’t help but be mesmerized by the viciousness and your blood pumps with the anticipation. The flamenco is a different kind of thrilling activity. The grace and elegance of the dance combined with its fast pace peace make for a vigorous exercise. And of course, one cannot say he visited Madrid if he didn’t experience the nightlife like the Madridistas did. I now know what the 3-hour siesta was for. It’s in preparation for the all night, and sometimes all dawn unending bar hopping and party gatherings.
For a short while I lived and experienced some of the many complex things that make Madrid so vibrant and beautiful. The city is truly a roller coaster mix of the slower paced life of rest and leisure, and the adrenaline pumping and exhilarating ride of sports and physical activities. I’d gone through all that and I can say now – I lived la vida loca in Madrid!
Photo by marcp_dmoz on Flickr