On most weekends, I either travel within Spain or to a different country. However, I intentionally left a few weekends free to spend time in Madrid. Before I leave Madrid, I want to be familiar with every neighborhood in this city, because Madrid has so much to offer! As a study abroad student in Madrid, in my opinion, every day of the week feels like the weekend. My weekends typically consist of trying out new cafes, meeting up with the new friends I made during various events, visiting parks etc. During my first few weekends in Madrid back in January, I had finsihed seeing all the tourist sites and doing touristy things. Now that I have been in madrid for about three months, I have found my favorite cafe, my favorite park and my favorite bakery.
Fortunately, while looking for housing in Madrid, my roommate and I picked one of the best neighborhoods in Madrid to live in. Goya, in Salamanca is a very residential and wealthy neighborhood, away from the tourist spots in central Madrid. Of late, I have been enjoying spending my ww in the neighborhood itself. Now that the weather is great and the sun rises early, I start my days early by going for a run in the park. The best part of mornings in Madrid are the fresh bakeries that have the best croissants. Since I live in a residential neighborhood, I can confidently try out any bakery knowing that it is not a tourist trap. My favourite bakery is a ten minute walk from my apartment and it’s called ‘Panem’. I take advantage of fresh croissants available here, and I usually sit by the bakery’s outdoor seating area or bring them to the park nearby. This is usually my favorite part of my Saturday because the park gets very lively. Old people come to walk their dogs and families bring their kids to skate or play in the park. This not only makes it a safe area to live in, but also a very lively area, that shows you the actual lives of people in Madrid. Sometimes my flatmates join me at the park and we usually soak in some sun and people watch. I also like to bring some work to the park and catch up on homework or write some blogs about my study abroad.
After a relaxed morning like a Madrid local, I take the time on weekends to meet up with friends I made during this study abroad program. There were various events at the start of the program that introduced me to a lot of people from so many different countries! And I also made a lot of friends in class and through travelling. So every free weekend I try to meet up with as many friends as possible. This weekend, I met up with my friend from Chile, and we went to the El Rastro market, which is Madrid’s biggest flea market. After walking around the market, we tried out a new Peruvian restraunt and the food was amazing! By this time it is usually late afternoon, and I like to walk back to my apartment, and being the weekend there is usually a lot of events happening on the way. For instance last weekend there was a book fair that sold Spanish books and I managed to lay my hands on a few! Most weekends I also meet up with friends for brunch.
In the evenings, I always make plans to meet up with more friends, because with the limited number of weekends, I end up making multiple plans for the same day. I prioritize these plans since I know my study abroad program in Madrid comes to an end soon and it can get difficult to meet up with friends once I return to the US. This weekend, after the flea market, I met up with my friend from Sicily, Italy, and we went to the Prado museum together. Museums here are either free or discounted for students so we like to take advantage of that. After looking around the museum, we made dinner reservations and enjoyed some Spanish Tapas outdoors. In Spain, Spaniards typically eat dinner from around 9pm to 11pm, so the streets are very lively until then.
My Sundays are the same as well. I meet up with friends, walk around different areas of Madrid, and I am always on the lookout for events or carnivals that may happen. So I use my weekends to check out these events. No matter how long one lives in Madrid, there is always so much to do and you can never get bored of this city! Regardless of the season or weather, it is always lively in Madrid and I am so greatful I get to spend some months of my life living in this beautiful city.