Take Advantage of Your City

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018

With the excitement of moving to Madrid came the excitement of travel in general. I’ve had many friends go on semesters abroad to various countries in Europe. They have all come back with stories of adventure and a new count of the number of countries they got to visit while gone. I’ve heard about the best waffles in Belgium, the unimaginable hiking in Switzerland, and the horror stories of flying Ryanair.

Immediately upon arrival in Madrid I couldn’t wait to make new friends and plan our weekend trips. Right off the bat, I traveled to Barcelona and Morocco. While the trips were amazing, I blinked and it was already October. There will never be enough time to conquer everything in Europe, but I realized I wasn’t spending nearly enough “touristy” time in Madrid. While the view walking to and from work is incredible, when I’m not running late and have to jump on the metro, there are so many things on my “Madrid Bucket List” I fear I may not be able to see or do before I leave. That being said, I’ve decided to complete at least one big Madrid site per week. Even when I have been exhausted from work or busy meeting up with new friends, I know if I don’t experience all that Madrid has to offer right now I will regret it in December.

Madrid is an incredible city and has been very easy to fall in love with. This past Sunday I woke up before 9am to check an item off my list. My neighbor and I walked to La Latina, the neighborhood that is home to El Rastro. El Rastro is a huge street market held every Sunday; however, the later you go the more crowded it gets, almost to the point where people are unable move up and down the street. We thrifted and bargained for a few hours before finding a café and ordering café con leche and tostada con tomate, both staples in a Spanish diet.

My experience in Madrid has been a dream thus far, both inside and outside of work. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel so incredibly grateful for this experience. Sometimes even walking through the street I still cannot believe I’m actually in Spain. Maybe one day I’ll quit taking pictures of every tiny detail that’s enamored me, but for now I’m so happy to be here that I don’t mind looking like a tourist. I have finally quit using Google Maps to get to work so that’s one improvement.

All I want to stress is to explore the city that you’re in while you can. One month has never flown by so quickly and it gives me anxiety thinking that December is just around the corner. Work may be the main priority, but don’t forget to fully immerse yourself in a new city and culture. Also, if you have the chance to intern in Madrid – do not hesitate! You won’t regret it.
¡Hasta luego!

Gretchen Theis
U.S. Commercial Service
Madrid, Spain | fall 2018