Things I Miss About Madrid

I have officially been back in the U.S. for a month now and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little depressed. When I first arrived in Madrid the culture shock was a huge blow to me and now that I am back in the U.S. the same culture shock is hitting me, just from a more familiar angle. During my time in Madrid, the city, the culture, and the people became my home. I enveloped myself in the Spanish way of life, I made tons of Spanish friends and was treated like family by all of them. I worked on my language skills and became a much better (not fluent) Spanish speaker. I really fell in love with Spain. In this blog post I will talk about the things I treasured most while in Spain, and the things that I will miss the most.

1. The People

There are really no people like the Spanish people. The people are so warm, yet straight forward. I was treated like family by all the friends I made and by default, all of their friends and family too. Once you are let into a Spanish friend group, you are there for life, they are very loyal and loving people who include you in everything and really make you feel like a member of the family. I spent a lot of my time in Spain with MadrileƱo’s (people from Madrid) and they really opened their arms to me. I had many friends that introduced me to their friends and family and I really built myself a huge network of friends and family in Madrid. I keep in touch with all of them and they desperately want me to come back (I also want to go back). The people in Spain, not just Madrid, are amazing people and if you can conquer the language barrier you will make life long friends in this country.

2. The Culture

The culture of Spain is great. What other culture has siestas in the middle of the day? None that I know of. The relaxed culture of Spain is great. I love and miss how casual and relaxed everyone is in Spain. Everyone moves at a slower pace it feels like and people just enjoy the moment. I miss waking up around 10, getting ready, going out and getting some juice and a croissant, walking around the city and stopping in the little tapas bars for a bite to eat and a beer, and then moving on all at my own pace. No one will rush you in Spain and everyone seems to be happy with what they are doing at the moment. The art in Spain and the street performers are another great part of the culture. Spain is a beautiful country.

3. The Public Transportation

This is a practical thing that I will miss The transportation over there is just amazing. Being able to get anywhere quickly and efficiently at relatively low cost is something that I definitely took for granted and missed when I arrived back in Louisville. The United States, especially Louisville does not have great public transportation systems. Louisville only has the TARC bus system, which in my opinion is not very efficient. We do not have subways here either. In Europe, not just Spain, subways and public transportation is amazingly quick and simple. Trains, buses, and trams run very often and are usually very simple to figure out. I got used to being able to walk to a train or hop on a bus at my convenience while over there, and i is something that I miss a lot here in the States. In Louisville, having a car is almost a necessity and it is very difficult to get around with out one. This was not so in Madrid, I could get anywhere I needed to go by using the public transportation and walking on foot

There are many other things I miss about Madrid and Europe in general, but these are the top 3. I encourage you to go travel abroad as well and find the things that you love most about different cities and cultures!


Travel as Much as Possible!

I have been living and studying in Madrid, Spain now for a little over two months. These two months have been some of the best of my life! However, the best thing I have done since being here is not stay in Madrid the whole time. While I love Madrid, and it is definitely my favorite city in Spain, it is important to get out of your comfort zone. Since being in Europe, I have traveled almost every weekend and have seen many beautiful cities across Spain and the entirety of Europe. Below, I will list a few of my favorites and share my experiences in these places with you!

Tangier, Morocco

Tangier was special to me because I have never been anywhere like it. The culture is completely different from what I am used to back in the U.S. and even to Spain. I went to Tangier with a large group of students, we took a ferry from Tarifa, Spain into the Tangier port. I was so excited to go because I would finally be able to say I have been to Africa. When we arrived, my first impression was the heat and the dress of the people. Most of the men wear kaftans, which are robe like garments that are surprisingly cool and comfortable (I know because I ended up buying one and wearing it the whole time), and the women are mostly covered up. While in Tangier we did a number of interesting things. We rode camels on the beach, rode horses on the beach at 3 AM, toured the entire city, went to the beach, went to the central market, saw the Cave of Hercules, and ate traditional Moroccan meals. Overall, if you want to experience a completely different lifestyle, I would recommend Morocco.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Probably my favorite place I have been so far. Amsterdam is like another world, I have never been anywhere like it. I went with a group of friends to attend a music festival and had the time of my life. There is so much to do in Amsterdam it is almost overwhelming, I wish I could have stayed longer than 3 days. Whatever it is you choose to do in Amsterdam, you can’t go wrong. Whether you visit the Rijksmuseum or any other of the hundreds of museums, take a boat ride on the canals, go to the beautiful parks, experience the vibrant nightlife, or just walk around the city Amsterdam has so much to offer. The people are wonderful and so welcoming, you can talk to anyone. The only downside to Amsterdam would be the unpredictable weather, one minute the sun is shining and it is beautiful, the next it is pouring rain and the sky is grey. However, this is a small price to pay to experience such a great city.

Barcelona, Spain

I have to include a city from my home country and Barcelona is a great choice. I have been to Barcelona twice already and am planning to go once more for Halloween. There is something about Barcelona that makes it an incredibly attractive city. Besides the beautiful architecture and the sightseeing, Barcelona offers beautiful beaches, an incredible diverse mixture of people, and a great night life for young people. If I were to live anywhere in Spain besides Madrid, I would definitely pick Barcelona. I have met so many amazing people that live in Barcelona that it makes it incredibly easy for me to visit and stay with friends at any time. It is also not incredibly far from Madrid and relatively inexpensive. I was actually in Barcelona for the Referendum, when Catalonia voted to succeed from Spain. That was an incredible experience and one I will never forget!

These are just three places I have traveled in Europe, I have also been to:

  • Segovia, Spain
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Alicante, Spain
  • Ibiza, Spain
  • Cuenca, Spain
  • Seville, Spain
  • Malaga, Spain
  • Grenada, Spain
  • San Sebastian, Spain

And a few of my upcoming trips are:

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Rome, Italy
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Lisbon, Portugal

I would definitely recommend anyone who studies abroad to get out of your comfort zone, meet as many people as possible and travel as often as possible. It allows you to experience so many cultures and really opens your eyes to the entire world!