8 Ways to Get to Know Madrid

Callie Wilkinson is a student at University of Michigan and an ISA Featured Blogger. Callie is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valencia, Spain.

Good morning, Madrid! The view from my hotel room.

Bienvenidos a Madrid! We are here in the capital of Spain, and it is exhilarating. Not only is Madrid a fantastic reward for surviving the crowded, peanut-infested airplane, but it is a beautiful city full of life and new experiences. On my journey to Spain, I was nervous. I was nervous about meeting my future classmates, worried that my Spanish wasn’t good enough, and nervous that I wouldn’t feel at home. After 48 hours, though, I can safely say my worries have subsided.

The other students on my program are fun and interesting, my Spanish is enough to get me around and is already improving, and I have been introduced and welcomed into the Spanish culture. According to a magazine about Madrid, there are 8 great ways to get to know Madrid, and to experience the city to its fullest. I’m using this as my list, to make sure I get the full Madrid experience. Here they are –

1. Museo Reina Sofía

2. Cuatro Torres Business Area

3. Museo del Prado

4. Plaza de Cibeles

5. Templo de Debod

6. Plaza de la Villa

7. Parque del Retiro

8. Palacio Real

Despite the jet lag (which really does exist, and is terrible), I have checked most of these off the list, and have plans to experience the others before we head to Toledo. My past 48 hours have been full of Spanish culture. I ate fried fish tapas, tasted Spain’s most popular sangria, experienced the excitement of a Spanish fútbol game, walked the streets of Madrid de los Austrias, discussed the medieval history and rich culture of this city, and explored the masterpieces of El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya in El Prado museum. My feet are sore, my stomach is full, my brain is thinking in Spanish, and I have checked 1,3,6,7, and 8 off the list.  I would say those are signs of a successful first two days in Madrid!


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