Hmmm...Madrid. What can I say about Madrid? I can only speak of the city center of Madrid, as I have not experienced the entirety of the place. In the areas where I've been, I found them: noisy, frustrating, dog feces scattered on the sidewalks (The sidewalks are washed every night though.), and crowded (It actually feels like New York.). The lack of personal space here makes me miss the narrow yet quiet streets of Seville. Heck, I'd rather deal with the hourly ringing of Seville's church bells than listen to the madness of Fuencarral or Gran Via at night.
Are you disappointed yet? I hope not because Madrid has a LOT to offer. It is just that when I travel, I try to present the places I have seen as accurately as I can. Sugar coating my posts won't help anyone.
Madrid is rich with history. Experience the beauty of this city with a good stroll at Plaza Mayor, mingle and chow down tapas at Mercado de San Miguel, enjoy a breakfast of chocolate con churros at Chocolateria de San Gines, wander down Calle Mayor, or get lost in the beauty of Palacio Real. For those into the arts, Madrid has great museums to boast for. One of them is the Museo del Prado that houses Goya, Van Dyck, Rico, Velazquez, Raphael, Murillo and Rembrandt paintings. I was surprised to find a copy of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa here.
Madrid is a great place to shop. I was amazed that their shops are not inundated with foreignly mass produced items. I found it easy to find products made in Spain, and that is a delight for any traveler who wants to bring home souvenirs. I am a firm believer that souvenirs should be made from the country you're visiting. Otherwise, the idea of a travel souvenir is lost.
According to my Spain guide book, "[n]o city on earth is more alive than Madrid, a beguiling place whose sheer energy carries a simple message: this city knows how to live." This city truly knows how to live, but it proved to be too much for me. Perhaps it is old age or that my idea of a vacation does not involve being pushed and shoved while crossing a street; I can experience that in New York anytime.
Madrid was not for me, but it doesn't mean it is not for you.