Things Madrid Loves and Hates

I’m on holiday in Madrid right now, if you hadn’t guessed by the title of this post. It’s a pretty cool city, lots to do, lovely people, a nice atmosphere. I’d definitely come back again for another visit in the future.

If you know me at all (or you’re die hard into this blog, clearly even more than I am since I don’t post for a year at a time, and you remember the Roaming Rome posts) you’ll know that I like to go for short city breaks in the holidays between my actually pretty okay as far as jobs gosuper stressful secondary teaching job. With that in mind, and the fact that I might as well write a new blog post at some point and why not now here is a brief list of the things that Madrid, as a city in General, Loves and Hates.

Please note that this list is purely observational based on the things I’ve seen and witnessed in three days in the city. It is by no means an actual representation of Spain’s capital city.

Madrid loves: Ham

This city is obsessed with Ham. Literally. There are shops filled with only ham products. There’s a museum of ham. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape. Now, I knew that the Spanish diet had a lot of pig based products in it being an avid lover of chorizo, but even for me to have shop front after shop front proclaiming your love for ham (or jamon as they call it) is a bit much. Still, it makes Madrid a charming and weird and wonderful city even if it is a kosher mans nightmare

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Madrid Hates: Wheelchairs

Very few of the tourist attractions in Madrid that I’ve visited have wheelchair ramps and even fewer of the shops do! Some places have lifts and are accessible, but if you want to go up the tower in the Bernebau stadium, you’re fresh out of luck!

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Madrid Loves: Talking rapid Spanish to people who clearly have no idea what’s going on.

This is a slightly more personal one. There have been many times already on this trip where I am met with a barrage of Spanish from locals and tourist guides alike, even after I’ve asked a question in a different language. I love that different cities I go to have different languages and would never criticise someone for speaking their native tongue in their own country yes you would, you’re doing it right now you useless old sod but if I’ve asked if you speak English, please don’t reel off what sounds like half a Spanish dictionary and expect me to reply with more than “que?”

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Madrid Hates: Saying “excuse me”

Right, this isn’t just a thing for Madrid, it’s happened in almost every European city I’ve been to (Paris was the worst by far, but my lack of feeling for that city is another post for another time.) people will not say excuse me if you’re in their way. They refuse to. I know full well it’s in your language because it tells me in my guidebook how to say it so stop pretending these words don’t exist (for reference, it’s “perdon” in Spanish, just in case you were wondering). Instead of uttering this simple word/phrase, people will walk inordinately close to you in order to squeeze past in the tiniest nanometre of space that appears, or worse yet they hiss at you. I am not a stray cat taking a steaming hot dump on your lawn, please don’t hiss at me like one. I’m just trying to experience your city!

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Madrid Loves: Football
It’s everywhere in the city. The Real Madrid kit is in every tourist shop. Players loom over you from billboards and advertising hoardings and you just can’t get away from it. You can even tour the stadium for the princely sum of 19 euros (well worth the trip actually!) and have your picture taken in the grounds and green screened in with a current member of the team. Lots of fun and lots and lots of history there! It was a great part of my day today!

Madrid Hates: Cheap Hotels

They just don’t. You either get a proper hotel for the price of both arms, both legs, your first born son and thirty camels or you have to stay in a “Hostal” where you then have to also cater for every meal. I’m staying in a Hostal and it’s actually pretty nice, if a little spartan. There’s a kettle thou but it only has devils tea green tea so bring your own or find a shop!

Madrid Loves: Bears

The symbol of Madrid is a bear eating fruit from a tree. They have a statue of said bear in the main central plaza. They have this bear on almost every postcard, manhole cover, bus, wall plaque, you name it, they’ve probably got a bear on it. With all this in mind you, like I, may be thinking that there must be a fantastic story to go along with this bear and fruit tree iconography. That maybe the city was founded and one day a hungry old bear meandered into town looking for something to eat, saw the fruit trees in the then symbol-less village of Madrid and decided to chow down on some tasty tasty fruit. Nope. There’s no story behind it. They just really like bears (who doesn’t to be honest) and there used to be a lot of bears around Madrid in the past. As for the tree, there’s literally no reason for it. No-one really knows why it’s there, they only know that it’s there (sort of like why U2 are still a thing that’s happening, or why Bob Geldof is famous still). Not even Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge, is sure. There’s a bit about how animal feed was passed on to the ownership of the clergy and as celebration they added the fruit tree but that’s as close as Wikipedia gets. Trust me. I checked.

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That’s all from this post. I think we got through that quite painlessly. I might be back again with another post but who really knows at this point. I’ve said that before and not followed through with it. Maybe I’ll see you again sometime… Maybe not. Probably though. Ish.

Post credits scene! Yes! Just like in all the Marvel Movies!

Madrid also loves DC. The comics. More on that soon…

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