Welcome to My Madrid, a new series here on the Madrid Food Tour blog in which bloggers from Madrid and all around Spain tell us a little bit about what Madrid means to them. We love hearing about other people’s Madrid favorites, and who better to ask than a bunch of adventurous bloggers?
Today’s post comes from Cassandra who has been hamming it up in Madrid since 2010. She enjoys Spanish idioms, tortilla, paseos, and vino tinto (not necessarily in that order). Follow her adventures at: http://www.geecassandra.com/ and on twitter @geecassandra.
Hi Cassandra! So, what is your experience with Madrid?
It seems crazy that I’ve called the Spanish capital home for three and a half years! Sometimes I don’t believe it myself, but Madrid certainly feels like home now.
How was your first impression of Madrid?
I first visited Madrid while studying abroad in college, and instantly knew it was special. The walkability, the night life, the socialness of people spilling out onto every terraza imaginable…I was hooked! Coming back with a suitcase several years later, I realized there was much more to the city than Sol, Huertas, and Retiro park. I soon loved the distinct feel of the neighborhoods, the mix of old and new, and the way the local’s easy-going ways of slowing down the day with a cup of coffee or a caña.
What is one thing you wouldn’t leave Madrid without doing?
I wouldn’t dare leave Madrid without revisiting the art museums! This city is home to so much great art, something that’s easy to forget when much of your daily life takes place far away from the triángulo de bellas artes. Going to museums isn’t something I do on a weekly basis, but I would love to say adiós to some fav paintings like Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights or Picasso’s Guernica.
Do you have a favorite Madrid experience?
From exploring old-world charm in Huertas to marveling at the hodgepodge of cultures in Lavapiés to window-shopping in swanky Goya, getting to find the pulse of each barrio is an ongoing experience. Each neighborhood has its own personality, and I love getting to dig a bit deeper with each encounter.
Name your favorite Madrid meal.
Instead of having one concrete bar or restaurant to recommend, I tend to choose the place based on the house specialty. For example, I head to Casa Julio for croquetas, Pez Gordo for migas, and Baco y Beto for fried setas with truffled alioli. Regardless of the meal, there will be vino tinto!
What would be your ideal night out in Madrid?
I prefer low-key evenings—en plan tranquilo as they’d say here! An ideal night out would start along Gran Vía; I’d stroll down the street before catching a show or two at Microteatro por Dinero, where you can watch 10-minute plays. Then, I’d have dinner around Malasaña or Conde Duque, followed by drinks outside on a terrace bar. My ideal night would also include glorious summer weather!
How about your favorite day trip from Madrid?
Cuenca! You feel like you are in a much different place than Madrid even though you’ve traveled a relatively short distance, you’re in a small ton but can walk around the woods, and it’s not as overrun with tourists as a city like Toledo. The unique casas colgadas, or hanging houses, are definitely worth the trip.
Thanks so much, Cassandra! Hope to see you at one of our wine tastings again soon!