January 5, 2011
Author: Tamara Atanasoska
This is not a usual “what to do when in Madrid” guide. It is more of a “Madrid seen through the eyes of a Macedonian girl”. With my 10 points I’d like to comment on what amazed me in Madrid and how those amazing things differ from my home city. Also, if these things are taken into a consideration, they could be seen as points that Skopje still needs to work on, to live up to Madrid.
1. Amazing public transport!
I don’t just accidently put this first! Madrid has great public transport, as every major European city does. The metro is cheap, only 1 euro for a ride, and it literally can take you anywhere in the city. There are many lines that interchange and are spread all around the city. This website (http://www.metromadrid.es/) tells you everything there is to know about the Madrid metro. There are trains every 5 minutes, from 7 a.m. until late night, depends on the line. I strictly recommend the metro when in Madrid; it is clean, fast and efficient. There are stations everywhere, so you can jump on wherever and whenever your feet feel tired of walking. It was quite surprising for a person from Skopje like me to enjoy such a public service. Train tickets are a bit more expensive, so travel, if necessary. For longer distances, buses are a better choice: there are buses for every direction and are more or less of the same price as trains.
2. Cheap food!
Yes, you heard right, cheap food! The prices of goods in supermarkets are even cheaper than in Skopje, especially of products originating in Spain! Freshly made bread around 0.60 Euros, milk 1.00 euro and so on…I was amazed by how big the supermarkets were and there is everything you need. There were special gourmet sections where extra quality food could be bought, but also with more elevated prices. If you prefer to explore the national food and eat out, there are lots of cheap and good places where you can do that! There are tapas restaurants where for only a 1.50 for a beer you get to choose from the rich variety of tapas (side dishes with meat and cheese) for free! There is also “Chocolate con Churros” sweet breakfast, a kind of a national banana-shaped pastry with chocolate which costs from 1.00 to 3.00 Euros, depends on the place. Explore Madrid on a budget, it is very possible!
I had the pleasure of being in Madrid when there was the “FIESTAS DE LA VIRGEN DE LA PALOMA” (15th of August). There was a central place with a stage where music was played live, and with many bars and grills around it. It was huge. I have never seen so many people on the streets, having fun and dancing, young and old. The city streets bustling with such positive energy! From the central stage, there were little corridor streets branching all around packed with young people! The bars have all taken out their drinks and had created bars outside so people were dancing out, on the streets to different tunes coming from every place. The streets were closed with policemen taking care of the traffic in order no one to get hurt. It surprised me that the policemen were really nice, they were also dancing, and contributing to the positive energy around. This is happening in a very large part of the city, there is even one large street that is turned into a fairmladiinfo