I arrived in Madrid in the afternoon, clinging on to my suitcase (just in case anyone decided to pickpocket one of my retro dresses from my suitcase!). As soon as I got off the plane I could sense a change in mood, Spaniards are a lot happier and more relaxed than the English! I could also see the sun through the darkened windows of the airport (Yay!)
Look how romantic this flower vending machine is!
I was feeling very brave so I decided to take the metro. The metro was fairly easy to navigate and similar to the tube in London, just a lot cleaner! I eventually found my metro station and walked out into the sunny street! I asked a lady (in Spanish!) where I could find the street where my hostel was and I eventually found my hostel.
Having never stayed at a hostel I didn’t really know what to expect. I had booked an all female dorm room as I didn’t like the idea of sharing with smelly guys!
The dorm room was small and consisted of 2 bunk beds. I had the bottom bunk (thank God!) A pretty Canadian girl was sat in the dorm room as I went in. We had a small chat and she asked if I would like to join her for some food at a nearby market. I then realised that hostels are a great plece to meet like minded people, just like all of the travel bloggers say!
She took me to the Mercado de San Miguel and reccomended that I try croquettas. Feeling fairly adventurous I chose 2 random croquettas without reading the descriptions.
What the hell, I am on holiday, in Spain alone! Nothing phases me!
The Canadian girl turned to me with a look of shock and said ‘do you know what that is?’ I initially thought that it might be mushroom. She told me that it was calamares with SQUID INK! Hmm, certainly something that I have never tried before. I ate it and it was actually quite nice if you can get over the dense black colour!
Mercado de San Miguel, a food hall filled with amazing Spanish food, tapas and Pinxos!
We then walked around the centre of Madrid and the Canadian girl was kind enough to show me some of the tourist attractions of Madrid such as the Plaza Major, The palace and the Cathedral. She even knew facts about each place that she had learn’t whist attending a free walking tour of Madrid! I have rarely had the pleasure of someone going out of their way to help me and make me feel at home. I really appreciated her kindness and friendliness. Especially because it was my first night alone in a foreign city!
After showing me around the city the Canadian girl then went back to the hostel…to bed! I was full of energy and excitement at this point and I decided to find out what the Madrid nightlife was like.
I ended up in a place called Museo de Jamon where it was 1 Euro for a cana of beer and they gave out free tapas with every beer! What an amazing place! An older Spanish man started talking to me, he said that he was an English teacher in Madrid. He was friendly and we talked a lot about the differences between Spain and England.
I loved standing there in the warm chaos of the bar. Everywhere I looked people were talking to their friends, talking to each other and generally being very sociable. It seemed worlds away from the drinking scene in the UK. A completely different drinking culture, and I loved it!
Eager to explore I then went for a stroll around the city. Even though it was dark and different I felt safe.
I eventually found a few more bars where the beer was cheap and the food was plentiful! Every bar gave out food with each drink that I boight. In one bar they gave me enough food to make a meal out of! How do the Spaniards stay so petite and slender when they have to eat this much food every time that they go out for a drink! The men in the bars were happy drinking half pints of lager too (canas), very few men in England drink small beers, mostly pints!
I love Spain!
I went to bed in my bottom bunk and actually had a good nights sleep. I woke up and tried my best not to disturb anyone, I even remembered the ‘no plastic bags rule’ of hostels.
I then traversed through the chaos and confusion of the metro in the rush hour. All around me were (slender!) Spaniards wearing full suits. How do they not feel warm in the suits? I was boiling and I was wearing shorts and a vest!
I made it, to the coach meeting point for Pueblo Ingles. Little did I know that it would change me irrevocably…..