Who really enjoys grocery shopping, going up and down the isles, deciding between products, because there isn’t just one kind of bread but rather hundreds of brands and types to choose from, and when you finally decide and check it off your list, its on to the next product. No matter what country you are in grocery shopping is for the strong of heart, and isn’t for the lazy because it will show up when you go to pay. But here in Spain, there are mercados, inside or outside, with different stands, fruit and vegetables, meats, chicken, seafood and even yogurts and the boxed products like cereals and flour. An area where you can walk right up take a gander at what they offer and make your selection and the best part is you don’t have to buy the entire chicken or pieces of steak that you will end up going back because you don’t want to eat steak every day. I always walked by the mercado intimidated, everyone speaking quite quickly in spanish and asking for how much I wanted of each product, I can hardly tell you what a kilo is much less grams of sausage or cheese. But on this reasonably sunny winter January day I decided it was time to give it a go, I timidly walked into the first deli meat and cheese shop, the man was quite helpful showing me what the different types of chorizo were, as well as helping me decide how much. I purchased 200 grams of chorizo and cheese for less than 3 euros. I was floored, at the grocery store you pay three euros just for chorizo. I ventured on and stopped at the red meat stand, and ordered (to my liking) two thinly sliced pieces of steak, and then when I got to the chicken counter after ordering a chicken breast the man kindly sliced them into fillets for me and again the prices and quality astounded me. For fruits and vegetables I decided to go into the mercado, and the array of beautiful fruits and vegetables staring straight at me was what made it most difficult, but I ordered my apples, strawberries and brussel sprouts without hesitation. I walked out of the mercado with a full bag of healthy food and my wallet wasn’t empty. I spent roughly 13 euros on all of my food to last me through the weekend. But for those of you who don’t live in Madrid, stop into a mercado, order yourself some of the finest manchego cheese, chorizo, pick out a bottle or red wine and head off for a picnic in Retiro, the Madrid Rio, templo de debod, I mean the possibilities are truly endless. Pick your corner and grab a friend, boyfriend of whoever and enjoy a taste of Madrid’s mercados in your favorite corner of Madrid. There is no greater pleasure than eating, enjoying your company and the views of Madrid.
When most people think of Spain they think of fiesta, sangria, and siesta but in the last four years football has also been added to the list, with a world cup, and 2 eurocup under their belts it’s hard not too. I’ve been here for two years and for the two years I have been a Real Madrid fan as they say, guapa, lista y madridista (pretty, smart and a real fan) but I had never been to a game. Well as much as I’d love to watch Sergio Ramos live, and embrace the glory of Bernabeu I have not had a chance to yet. But this last Sunday one of my wonderful Spanish friends invited me to my first real live professional football game, Atletico de Madrid versus Valladolid. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was one of he beat experiences ever!!! Being in Calderon, in the season ticket holders section, the songs, the chants, the blue and red blood running through this people’s veins I think I was almost converted. It felt like college, the atmosphere was exciting, standing on chairs, screaming, clapping and cheering - I couldn’t get enough. With a swift kick atleti won the game 2-1 adding to the experience they also won!! There was nothing in the world like standing there with an Atleti scarf around my neck and enjoying their win! So even as a real Madrid - I would highly recommend any and all sports fans to head on down to Vicente Calderon for a REAL football experience.
There’s nothing I love more than dresses, shoes and accessories. Knowing there was a museum dedicated to solely this I had to go. So one hot Tuesday afternoon my friends and I took the long commute (sarcasm) out to ciudad universitaria where neatly tucked away behind the university of compultense is the museum of clothing. Students with proper student id’s get in for free while regular admission is 3€. This museum included clothes dating back to the 18th century and is chronologically ordered working its way up to current fashion. They also have temporary exhibits one right now is currently how casing Versace and the other a famous Spanish designer. But the over all set up and story told throughout the museum lacks creativity it doesn’t pull the viewer into the era of the clothing or even spark the imagination to wander there. The pieces were exceptional but the presentation took away from the experience. The best part of the experience was the learning zone (the interactive area) where you can try on garments from different eras understand the differences between cotton and nylon as well as see the evolution of fashion through the cinema and Hollywoods influence. I’d say unless you are already in the area this is not a place I’d recommend to go to during your stay in Madrid.
Restaurants are constantly opening and closing in big cities. Some survive and others drown in the criticisms of their clients. But what sets a restaurant apart? How do you decide whether it’s worth the time and money to go back? Well mmm…us is a restaurant that breaks barriers in Madrid. It not only offers healthy food and unique wines from around Spain but also vegetarian food as well as all organic and made on the spot. The owner, a former designer for the big name brand Zara has traveled the world, and decided to take her passion for food and design and open her own restaurant. The place is decorated with pieces she’s collected from all over the world, and includes gifts from her nephew, niece and other family members. She offers a warm environment with lots of decoration pieces as topics of conversation like the phone lamp used to light the tables. But if you look carefully she also has a huge work space area for people to rent in the room behind the restaurant. This environment she describes as an office for people to rent and work from here instead of their homes. It houses creative web designers, graphic designers as well as other people who generally work from home but want the relaxed office atmosphere. She described this environment as dynamic and helps people collaborate on other projects together or to help one another. This restaurant is more than good tapas and wine, it’s aesthetically pleasingly to the eye and offers a unique work environment for people to work in. Definitely high up on my list to take visitors when they come to Madrid.
The terraces of Madrid are always packed in the summer, from rooftops to plazas to ones next to a pool - most are filled with people. But what sets the terraces apart are not only the food and beverages but the ambience, music and location. One Tuesday afternoon in our attempts to escape the city hustle and bustle my friend and I began to head down calle Segovia to go to the river, midway down we spotted a terrace in the middle of the park on our right hand side and decided to take a break and grab a drink. We had no idea what was in store for us - the comfortable seating, reasonably priced drinks and island feel music helped us escape the city and jet of to the Caribbean for a drink or three. One drink turned into three it was the comfortableness of the location and great music that kept us there. We were amazed at how serene this terrace could be with a busy road on the left and and another down below. Atenas bar has a great ambience, amazing drinks and even provides a get away from the city center. So before you snag a peak at the manzanares river stop in at Atenas for a refreshing drink and tropical getaway.
In a little corner of Madrid you can go sightseeing and see famous buildings, bridges and monuments from all over Europe. Parque Europa is a park about an hour outside of Madrid by public transportation. As you enter you pass through the famous Brandenburg gate from Berlin and run right into an original piece of the Berlin wall you can then head left and go towards the old plaza mayor replica or right and head for the windmills from Holland. As you wonder through the park you can find a mini Eiffel tower, big Ben and other famous landmarks from around Europe. There were ropes courses for kids, jumping castles and other fun activities including playgrounds and a ride on a pony. For those who are older than the age of eighteen there are bars, with lovely views of the park also tapas and beers to enjoy the sights with. Entry is free, and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the summer there are firework shows over the pond in the center of the park. Something you can see from any famous landmark. Definitely a park worth going to for someone who has more time in Madrid and doesn’t mind a bit of a commute on public transport.
My passion for pizza has become somewhat of a weakness, every place I see that has pizza I always manage to try. From the Sicilian pizzeria on calle hortaleza to your average take out dominos.com I’ve probably tried it all! But nothin has made my taste buds tingle the way En Guay Sí has. A little hole in the wall pizza place in argüelles with moderate prices, vh1 music and authentic American Budweiser. The owners originally from Boca Raton, Florida learned how to make their pizza in the pizza capital of the United States - New York City then brought their recipe across the Atlantic to a small shop on calle Rodriguez San Pedro, 34. The pizzas made on the spot with the right amount of sauce and cheese ratio. It comes fresh out of the oven piping hot you can see the steam coming off it. The waiter then handed us crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese, and oregano - a rarity in Madrid to get all three condiments. We enjoyed our perfectly cooked pizza listening to American 80’s and 90’s music and chasing it with a Budweiser. For the best pizza in all of Madrid En Guay Sí is my top recommendation.