24 06, 2016
  • IMG_1256

Eats, Hams, and Cheeses: How to Comer Like a Madrileño

After a few days in Madrid, many of which I spent perpetually hungry for some delicious ham and sangría, I’ve learned that I had a lot to learn before next-level tapas hopping.   Table Manners (or “Who knew I was doing everything wrong?”) Keep those hands above the table.  Waiters don’t tend to call people out for this in a restaurant and especially not in Madrid (because they are very [...]

23 06, 2016
  • IMG_1118

Muy Muy Hip with the Kids

So even crazier than the extreme heat of a totally abandoned mid-siesta Madrid, is the sudden 20 degree (centigrade, suh European) drop that necessitates evasive sweater action.  Luckily, with a handy little brother in town, all I had to do was throw on his oversized sweater and I was ready to get into all those clubs that seek semi-homeless looking tangle-haired American travel writers.  It’s a thing (I hope).   [...]

16 06, 2016
  • Claire Madrid

I Found Parque Retiro: Or, the True Value of a Siesta

Checked into the hostel. Checked out the hostel receptionist.  He knew I was trouble when I walked in.  And by trouble I mean, deeply, deeply jet lagged.  Was it a Tuesday or a Wednesday?  I had no idea, but I was ready to explore the city and blend in completely with the locals, as soon as I stopped updating my snap story.   First stop: let’s get some tapasssss.  Oh wait, it’s 4PM [...]

12 11, 2015
  • Madrid Breakfast

Cheapskate’s Guide to Madrid

It’s easy to get around for close to nothing in Madrid, as long as you have your student ID and use a bit of creativity. While vast and rich with endless streets and corners, it is fairly easy to explore by foot (no metro cost!). Here’s a day-in-the-life of a money-saving, pedestrian tourist. 1. Grab breakfast at your hostel: When booking hostels in Madrid, be on the look out for places that [...]

27 10, 2015
  • Classic Madrid tapas

Make like Hemingway: Eat at Botin

When you step into the cavernous restaurant Botin, it’s easy to imagine Ernest Hemingway enjoying a few meals here. In his novel, The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway draws on his own dining experiences at the ancient Spanish establishment, writing: “We lunched upstairs at Botin’s. It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and drank rioja alta. Brett did not eat much. She never ate [...]

21 10, 2015
  • let's go toledo

Holy Toledo! A Daytrip Saga

For all of those who don’t know me (and I mean all because this is my first post), I am currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain for the semester. The city is great, the beaches are even better, and the paella is fantastic, but once in a while, a girl needs a change of scenery. This past weekend I took the eight-hour bus ride from Barcelona to Madrid to visit a friend that [...]

11 10, 2015
  • barrio de las letras madrid

Madrid’s Literary Neighborhood: Barrio de las Letras

It’s safe to say that when most tourists visit Madrid, they make a beeline for the Prado. Or for La Plaza Mayor. Or for sangria. Only late into their trips, if ever, do tourists learn of el Barrio de Las Letras, the city’s literary quarter that was once home to Spanish Renaissance greats like writer Miguel Cervantes, playwright Lope De Vego, and poet Francisco Gómez de Quevedo. The small neighborhood tucked away behind [...]

25 07, 2014
  • Madrid Train Leaving for Toledo

Hasta Luego, Madrid.

On leaving for Toledo. I’m sitting in the Atocha station waiting to catch my train to Toledo. I’m unshowered, sweaty, a little dehydrated. But I don’t want to get up to grab some water because I’m afraid someone will take my seat, which is a rarity in this crowded station. That nagging, dusty, nostalgic feeling about leaving a place is stuck in the back of my throat. It’s been two weeks since [...]

10 07, 2014
  • A photo of a protest in the Puerta del Sol, Madird.

Finally, a Protest

On Spain's (other) national pastime. I've been waiting for eight days now. Finally, I saw a protest in Puerta del Sol. It wasn't that large of a protest, maybe fifteen people, all older than 40. They were holding signs reading "real transición sin rey," or, "real transition without a king." The protestors were in opposition to the declaration of a new king, the now-Prince Felipe (to be King Felipe VI), whose [...]

8 07, 2014
  • Madrid La Plaza Mayor

Unicorns, Spider-Man, Whistles… Oh My?

On Madrid's many vendors. Since I’ve been staying in one area of Madrid for about a week now, I keep running into the same people. Most of them are vendors of some sort, capitalizing on the high traffic of tourist areas like major plazas and squares. These people go to great lengths to amuse tourists (and hopefully earn a euro or two). Two of them, middle aged Spanish women, throw on unicorn/goat [...]

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