Café con aire berlinés en Malasaña by contemporaneas
Madrid, Spain - big, exciting, beautiful, cultural, never-sleeping Madrid is such a big, beautiful city and you never run out of things to do or places to go. There is always an adventure to go on and something new to see! At first the size of Madrid can be quite overwhelming and the university quite disorganised - once you have settled into the Spanish life-style of 'mañana, mañana' it is a lot easier. When I first arrived in Madrid I was rather overwhelmed by the size of the city and found it hard adapting to life there. However, I settled in quickly and got used to the fast-paced, exciting lifestyle that the Madrileños enjoy. It's all about the siestas and then fiestas. Café con leche and tapas in the evening is a real ritual here. You will eat dinner at 9pm, drink cocktails at 11pm and go dancing at 2am. The nightlife in Madrid is an experience in itself.7-story nightclubs such as Kapital have floors accommodating themselves to karaoke, cocktails, R n B, pop and more. The range of bars, nightclubs and pubs is fantastic and there is something to cater for everyone on every night of the week. Student nights at Joy provide a comforting reminder of home - playing the best of cheesy pop from the 70's, 80's and 90's. One tip to sress though - never buy drinks in clubs as they average at 15 euros for a spirit and mixer!! You will learn to love the convenience of the metro and it will become an essential part of your day to day life. Waiting time is usually minimal - in fact a wait of more than 5 minutes would be outrageous! A monthly 'abono' is essential and a student one can be purchased at any tobacconist. Although it takes 2 weeks to arrive, it means you can use unlimited metro and bus travel throughout Madrid for as little as 30 euros a month. This capital offers more green space than any other city in Europe and the beautiful parks offer a welcome retreat during the scorching summer days in comparison to the busy bustling life on Gran Vía- the main shopping road. Madrid is one of the most beautiful European cities I have been to and I would highly recommend it as a place to spend an Erasmus year.
Useful local words: 'Abono', 'café con leche', 'tapas'.
What not to pack: Dressy evening clothes and heels!
What to pack: Casual holiday wear.
Couldn't have done without: A good pair of trainers - I ended up doing quite a lot of walking.
Word of advice: Pack a small purse and zip-up bag as pick-pocketing was rife when I went in certain parts of the city...
Sarah Hutchings, European Politics, Leeds University