I took Spanish in High School, which lead easily to a minor in it in University. Naturally, I thought Madrid would be the best place in the whole entire world (or Europe) to test out my language skills, or lack thereof.
We tried. We got by. There were a few awkward moments in supermarkets, but we survived. The problem was less in the language barriers and more in, well, the city itself.
When we arrived, it was a lovely 27 degrees despite it being September 22nd. We wandered around the city, checking out buildings and squares, the local gelaterias, and the Prado Museum. Sunday morning, the temperature was quickly dropping and the wind picked up. We jumped from cafe to cafe, stopping in the morning to visit the Palacio Real (definitely worth a peek if you’re ever in the neighbourhood!).
On our third day we park hopped, checked out the greenery and took a boat out on a little lake. But after that? We were running out of things to do. We had a total of 2.5 days to spend and we were stretching our our cafe visits as much as we could.
I’m sure there were other museums we could have attended, and things on the outskirts we could have seen, so I don’t want to say that Madrid is lacking in things to do. But it seemed a bit cold and unfriendly at times. Like a big city with a nice downtown core, and little else by way of character.
In any case, glad I’ve been.