Madrid was the last city we visited while on our Europe trip in 2009. We stayed there for 3 days and completely fell in love with it. The best part was that I got to practice my Spanish! Neither my husband nor I knew much about Spain until this visit (from my Spanish classes – I mostly knew about Latin American countries, but not so much about Spain). So, the first thing we did while in Madrid was – we went to see the Royal Palace which is where the Spanish Royal family ‘officially’ lives, but it is mostly used for ceremonies. The family actually resides in a more modest palace outside the city.
One thing that stood out about the Spanish culture is that it seemed like Spaniards really enjoy spending time outside, and relaxing with their families. Every evening the city parks were filled with families walking around, walking their dogs, rollerblading, or doing other fun activities (in the other cities we visited, people looked busier with life, and the parks weren’t as crowded). And, it didn’t matter whether is was a week-end, or a week day, there was always something going on at the parks. We really enjoyed listening to a Mariachi band, which happened to play at El Parque del Retiro as we were walking through it, see pictures below.
So, this concluded our first trip to Europe, where we visited four cities: Paris, Berlin, Rome and Madrid. We really enjoyed learning new things about each country, and exploring each culture. We would definitely like to return to Europe, and see other places. Hoping to do that in the near future!