"Wow! It's so lively!" Madrid by backpackerbaby

Madrid Travel Guide: 5,475 reviews and 11,258 photos

Farewell to 2006

Spain was our destination for count-down to 2007. We struggled for a short while to decide if we should celebrate in Barcelona or Madrid before booking the tickets. Both destinations were new to us so it really didn't matter, the more important point was to have some fun (and hopefully not too pricey...). "OK, the air tic of an easyjet flight from Berlin to Madrid was cheaper than to Barcelona, let's go to Madrid first and return home from Barcelona." Yes, when budget is your main concern, it can be easier to make certain decisions. Now our Spain trip is over and I found that we had made a right choice as everything in Barcelona was much more expensive.

A shocking arrival...

We took an Easyjet flight on 30.12.2006 morning from Berlin. The boarding was delayed and even after everyone boarded, the plane didn't start. The pilot just said that the air traffic in Madrid was quite busy and we had to wait. To be frank, it's really very boring to be trapped on that flight as there was no entertainment (oh yeah, the characteristic of budget flights). Probably there are some guidelines for the flight attendants to maintain the company's easy image, they were really funny. One male attendant spoke on the microphone and suggested everyone to read their on-flight duty free shopping guide, which was a X'mas edition, his words were like, "Please take some time to see our collection of duty free products in this X'mas Special Edition, oh yeah, although X'mas is over, everything's the same here." I heard some others laughing with me. OK, we waited and waited and waited and finally the flight departed. The flight also arrived safely in Madrid. Without noticing or being noticed of anything special, we rushed from Terminal 4 to Terminal 2 for the Metro. On 31.12.2006, when babe called home, we knew why our flight was delayed. I didn't realize how bad it had been until we walked pass a newspaper stand and saw the photo on the front page. At that moment, I was shocked and upset...

Welcome 2007!

If I can only use one word to describe Madrid, I'll choose 'lively'. I've been to quite a lot of European cities but I've found any cities that were still so crowded and so noisy at late night. The amount of street lamps also surprised me. I felt like in HK all the time (except when my backpack was opened!!!). The only thing that annoyed me was those pick-pockets. Before arrival, I've read and been told to be aware of them. On day 1, I at first wore my backpack (my small day pack) in the front during sight-seeing. I felt that it's not as unsafe as I had imagined so I loosened my protection by wearing my backpack on my back. When we were walking from Sol back to our hostal on a VERY CROWDED street, I felt that someone was opening the middle-bag of my backpack. I immediately turned around to look at that guy, who pretended nothing had happened and walked away. Luckily I just put the empty box of my glasses in that bag. From then on, I always put myself in a highly-alert mode wherever I went. To be frank, it's quite stressful as I had never encountered any pick-pockets before, not even in Italy! Why such a prosperous city has so many pick-pockets?

Anyway, except the pick-pocket issue, I enjoyed my stay a lot. My No.1 of Madrid is definitely El Rastro, which is the best place to observe locals' lives and activities. It's fully of colours and warmth. My No.2 is the food, particularly tapas and olives. There are so many nice stuffs to eat and I always wondered why all Spanish girls were so fit, which made me really jealous! My No. 3 is.... ah... the list will be too long if I don't stop here. Please read my tips and guess what's my No.3!

Have fun in Madrid.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:very lively, very crowded, very interesting
  • Cons:pick-pockets made me nervous...
  • In a nutshell:It's so Hong Kong!
  • Last visit to Madrid: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated Jan 20, 2007
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