Hola! I’ve been living in Madrid for almost three weeks now, and it’s taken a bit to get adjusted to a different way of living. After a week of 3-hour long siestas (just adjusting), I’ve started to become accustomed to the different lifestyle.
For starters, I walk or use the metro everywhere. There’s something so peaceful about walking in Madrid. There are so many areas to explore, including El Palacio Real, Puerta del Sol, and Plaza Mayor. Each smaller neighborhood within Madrid has something unique to bring to the table. However, if you don’t feel like walking, using the metro is super easy! The lines are easy to figure out and get you to your destination super quick. It can get pretty crowded and a little hot in the Metro sometimes, but the trips are so short that it’s tolerable. This way of transportation is very efficient and gets you from point A to point B within minutes. It makes me wish that more areas in the United States had metro systems for easy transportation.
Next, the shopping in Madrid is amazing! Whether you’re shopping for groceries or clothing, it’s probably cheaper in Madrid. With popular brands such as Zara and Mango being created in Spain, the prices are usually about half as much as what you would pay in the United States. You’ll also probably get some money back from VAT forms. So really, in theory, you’re saving money by going on a shopping spree in Madrid (right?).
Finally, the meals in Madrid are quite different than in the US, especially the times that they eat. The hardest thing for me to adjust to in Spain has definitely been the mealtimes. Breakfast is typically around the same time as it is in the United States, but lunch and dinner typically don’t start until 2 pm and 8 pm, respectively. However, going for tapas with friends and trying the local cuisine has been a fun adventure! So far, I’ve loved trying tortilla de patatas (the Spanish omelet), croquetas, churros con chocolate (chocolate churros), and bocadilla de calamares (calamari sandwiches). Trying new foods here has been a huge aspect of learning about the culture and connecting with others in my program!
The way of living is definitely a bit different over here in Madrid, but with a little bit of time, it’s easy to get adjusted and to come to enjoy the differences in culture.