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Favorite thing: Most of Madrileños are first or second generation and very few can claim to have their roots in the city. Despite the lack of roots in the majority of its inhabitants, Madrid has a strong personality, which is precisely the result of the merging of people arrived from all four corners of Spain and, in these days, the entire world.
This mix of people has resulted in an openhearted and welcoming attitude that makes that nobody feels stranger in Madrid.
Since most newly arrived Madrileños immediately felt they belonged to the city, Madrid has not had "communities" or distinctly regional or ethnic neighborhoods. A Basque taverna next door to a Galician grocery store is the most common of the things. This phenomenon has only started recently, when people are arriving from further and further away.
Learn some Spanish!!! (¡Aprénde castellano!)
Favorite thing: Why not learn something new and enhance your travel experience, by making an effort to learn something and communicate in Spanish/castellano?
It is possible to get by in Madrid with English... but I really think your experience will be far, far richer if you have a basic grasp of some key vocabulary and an idea of how to defend yourself.
I´ve lived here for a year and half, teach English, and have only started Spanish classes this month (thanks to my crazy workload and irregular timetable). However, I like to talk and meet people, learn about different cultures and so have managed to learn a decent level of Spanish by generally chatting to anyone and everyone. So it´s a bit like ´street Spanish´, refined with some feedback from my students when I explain certain English terminology with them.
I also started out by attending intercambios - informal meetups with people of different countries to ´exchange´ languages :) (try www.meetup.com and search for SPANISH in Madrid or whichever town you are in).
Despite being generally very helpful and communicative, I guarantee you will get a greater response from locals (in this case los madrileños) if you make a real effort to communicate with any Spanish that you can.
I also recommend you check out an audio course by Michel Thomas (which I used to get myself started)... http://www.michelthomas.com/
and have a look at www.donquijote.com .... where you can learn, and also connect with other learners and/or Spanish people to converse (email, MSN messenger, etc)
Good Luck and Enjoy the Journey!! ¡¡Suerte!! ¡¡Buen Viaje!!
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Using the phone - tips for North Americans
Favorite thing: If you're North American, you're used to a local call costing you a fixed price.
Well it doesn't work that way in Spain - you pay for the time you spend on the phone, whether it be in a booth or from a regular phone in a hotel. It's not crazy expensive, but do expect it.
El Prado Museum
Favorite thing: Visiting Madrid means a couple of very important sites and El Prado Museum is on the top of my list. I really enjoyed walking through the corridors and imagining what took place when many of those paintings where being painted. Some extraordinary paintings from the best in the world. Among El Greco, Goya, Rembrandt and Velasquez, gosh the list continues. We walked with a tour on our visit and it's facinating hearing the stories behind each piece. I highly recommend a stop in one the worlds best museums.
Paseo del Arte
Favorite thing: Not only is this the name of the street where the big three museums are found, but also a discounted admission ticket to all three.
You can purchase one at any of the museums, or from a tourist office. Great deal, and you don't have to stand in line to buy a ticket at each. Go straight to the admission desk or window.
Cost: 7.66 euros
Hours of each museum are listed on the back of the ticket.
Fondest memory: The Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza are all must-sees. Each has fantastic holdings, and you can see the enitre collections without 'swimming' in too much art at one time.
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Los Madrileños somos así
Favorite thing: 1. Madrileño: Se dice de aquel que nace en la Región de Madrid, sin discriminación de raza, sexo, religión o signo del RH.
2. Uno es de Madrid sea de dónde sea de la Comunidad de Madrid. Ya, ya sabemos que si eres de Hospitalet no eres de Barcelona. Pero aquí eres de Madrid tanto si naces en Guadalix de la Sierra como si vives en Móstoles ó getafe, Eres de Madrid y punto!
3. Debido a lo anterior, la expresión "ir al pueblo" no es una frase despreciativa tintada de centralismo. El significado es "irse de vacaciones o pasar un fin de semana en el lugar de procedencia de la familia".
Aunque tú sigas siendo de Madrid, tus padres y hermanos pueden ser de cualquier otro sitio. Los pobres.
4. Es absolutamente falso que Madrid no tenga playa. Si no, visitar
Torrevieja, Gandia o Benidorm (y ultimamente hasta las playas
gaditanas) cualquier verano o puente.
5. La expresión "está ahí al lado" se traduce por "está a 10 minutos en coche o 20 andando", pero bueno ¿Tú sabes lo grande que es Madrid........?.
¿No te digo que la playa la tenemos en Torrevieja?
6. Si vamos de visita a vuestras encantadoras ciudades provincianas y os preguntamos si el chorizo que estamos comiendo es de matanza, y en realidad es Campofrío, no hagáis chistes sobre el asunto. Ya nos gustaría veros a vosotros en el Metro.
Fondest memory: 7. Se pongan como se pongan los bilbaínos, el metro de Madrid es el más bonito de España. Y esas caracolas que tienen en Bilbao de diseño en las entradas del metro son como la "caseta del perro con flores esa donde guardan cuadros". Una horterada.
8. En Madrid Ruiz Gallardón es el Bueno. Álvarez del Manzano es el Malo. Feo no hay porque en Madrid somos todos muy guapos.
9. No os dejéis engañar. Los que pronuncian "Ej que" en vez de "Es que" no son madrileños, son barriobajeros madrileños, que es muy diferente. Qué aquí siempre ha habido clases hasta en los acentos. (Que conste,que aunque diga a menudo ej que, yo nací en Madrid ,en Madrid capital)
10. Y finalmente y para terminar, no critiques a los madrileños porque se van todos los fines de semana de la ciudad porque no la aguantan. No no,los que se van los fines de semana son los que NO SON DE MADRID y vuelven a casa. Los madrileños salimos en Puentes, los dos días del fin de semana no nos dan para alcanzar los confines de Madrid ni para aprovechar todo el ocio que Madrid ofrece. Porque eso sí, en Madrid no hay inmigrantes y si los hay, sus hijos son madrileños.
Cute town Madrid
Favorite thing: Madrid-Spain’s most central region and national capital, Madrid may be the major business center and industrial headquarters of the country, but do not be surprised to learn that Spaniards work to live, rather than live to work. As Hemingway said, "Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night." While many of the city’s 5 million residents are not out on the town every night-thousands of them are. Even on weeknights you can be stuck in a traffic jam at midnight in the center of Madrid. The reality is that this city is awake at night-all night. An evening marathon of food, drink, and song is meant to be enjoyed slowly so that you can have the energy to make it to the end. Described as one of the world’s greenest places, El Retiro, a botanical garden, captives the attention of visitors. Prado Museum ranks as one of the leading art collections anywhere.
Madrid-Spain’s capital city has played a major role in the Iberian peninsula since 1562. The city has cultural attractions, architectural treasures, and endless entertainment. During the summer months, Madrid is a slower-paced city—many of the residents take vacations then.
Need to get online?
Favorite thing: There are plenty of internet places in Madrid. In the area around my hostal, there were three or four (Puerta del Sol).
There's an Easy Everything near Sol as well as a place called Cybers Canal at Calle Espoz y Mina off of Sol. Just walk around and you'll see some places to get online.
Be ready to Party!
Favorite thing: Madrid is a city that never sleeps. The restaurants and bars are always bustling. There doesn't seem to be a recession of any kind, maybe this was because we were there during the Holiday season. Luckily I love to shop and had a ball going in and out of shops in the fashion mecca around Puerta del Sol. I also love the hours. I love being a late riser, having afternoons off and being able to shop late into the night (some stores are open to 10pm).
Fondest memory: Old Madrid is my favorite area, with with "caves" under Plaza mayor, each containing a little tapas bar, wine bar or restaurant. I love the singing in the restaurants and bars, and the music every where for that matter. There is music in the streets, plazas and subway stations. there is also the smell of baking bread everywhere.
Too much to see in just a month
Favorite thing: There's really to much to mention and it's hard to chose just one. I guess just sight seeing of the cathedrals, palaces, museums and night life, squeezed into one day.
Fondest memory: I miss the sights the most. I miss the family i stayed with when i was there.
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