Spain’s capital, a city of over 3 million people, is situated close to the geographical centre of the country.
Madrid is fascinating, highly intriguing with wonderfully interesting people. There are those who sarcastically referred to Madrid as Spain’s second city after Barcelona by and large those are the people that have never really got to know Madrid. Now I know Barcelona has the Cathedral, the Nou Camp Stadium and was the venue for the most recent Olympic Games to be held in Spain but to write Madrid off as Spains second city seems to miss the point completely.
Of course the Catalans may espouse Barcelona for its elegance and creativity but just because parts of Madrid might need the odd lick of paint here and there doesnt mean that Madrid is any the less important or influential.
Madrid has very much the archetypal continental climate in that it has very cold winters and hot summers which means for those who don’t like extremes in temperatures the spring and autumn are the best times to visit.
There is a great deal to do in Madrid, places to go people to see and amongst the attractions, a royal palace, three internationally renowned art galleries and a great many museums filled with the treasures of the history of Spain.
Madrid like many international cities and probably more than most reflects in sections its historical past. The thing to remember with Madrid in Spain in general is that it has long been a coveted prize for foreign conquerors down throughout history. This is reflected in the area of La Latina.
La Latina is an area of Madrid quite often overlooked by the majority of tourists and visitors but it is home to the Plaza la Paja which was Madrids main square during medieval times.
The decline of the Moorish influence in Spain meant that this part of Madrid became known as a moreria otherwise known as an enclosed ghetto where Muslims live. Memories of a former age can still be found when you consider some off the place names such as Plaza de la Puerta de Moros and/or the historic architecture. As in most international cities with these types of areas, it is at night time that they truly come alive.
Don’t let the slightly grubby appearance from time to time and the general down at heel atmosphere confuse you this is an international capital city with all that that entails. This is an attitude that has some merit.
North of the city you will find Masalena, a wonderful cobble stoned area stretching from the city centre.Wonderfully described as possibly being like the boyfriend or girlfriend you couldnt bring home to your mother all human life in Madrid can be found here. With graffiti, posters and street art on virtually every conceivable surface Malasana has an anarchic feel and atmosphere that tells you this is the place to be at the right time of day.
The trouble is as far as perennial party goers will tell you, in this part of Madrid it is sometimes party time all of the day.
Madrid has an old-fashioned appeal to it that goes beyond the chaotic and anarchic initial impressions. Peel back the flaking paint and go beyond the many tourists spots and you will find a city that you will fall in love with for many a year.
Madrid is not to be missed.