Eight ways Madrid will change you for life

Just a run-of-the-mill gorgeous afternoon in Retiro Park

Last week I was mentioning how it’s inevitable that your new culture will influence your lifestyle and here in Spain, mealtimes are first on the list. But it doesn’t end there. Though it’s hard to wrap your mind around a 9:00 dinner time, the other ways Madrid (and Spain) will shape you are pleasant surprises.

I pride myself on being happy wherever I settle but I’m getting the feeling that Madrid is spoiling me. Keep reading for a few ways I think Madrid has ruined me for life.

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How to eat like a local – The when and what of Spanish mealtimes

spanish mealtimes

One of the neatest parts of life abroad is seeing all the different ways people do life. Also cool is how while you’re bouncing from one place to the next, you’ll inevitably pick up a few of these habits. I quickly adopted a few in Bogotá and I see it happening again here in Madrid.

Except, Madrid will take over your entire life. I tried to resist and still get up at 5:30 am to workout and take care of my errands bright and early. No chance. Shops remain shuttered until late morning because—another newsflash—no one goes to bed before midnight. Madrid lives according to its own schedule and in order to save yourself some headaches, it’s best to follow the locals.

The quickest way to get the hang of life in Madrid is to zero in on their meal schedule. Once you adapt to this the rest of your life will seamlessly follow. Because while it’s true that the people are laid back, there is no getting around the specific routine of Spanish mealtimes.

Sure, if you really want dinner at 7:00 pm you can eat rubbery chicken wings at the Hard Rock Cafe with the fanny-pack wearing tourists. But if not (and let’s hope not), keep reading for what and when to eat when you’re in Madrid.

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FYIs for your Spanish pharmacy visit

spanish pharmacy

Stand on any street corner in Madrid and I guarantee you’ll see at least two flashing green crosses. To all my fellow Americans: these aren’t marijuana dispensaries. They’re pharmacies. In Madrid, you’re hard-pressed to find a street corner without one. They’re kinda like a Spanish equivalent of Starbucks.

When I first arrived in Spain it took me awhile to get up to speed with the way the Spanish do over-the-counter drugs. I spent several confused afternoons circling the grocery store looking for Tylenol and cold medicine. I soon found out that in Spain, anything stronger than toothpaste is available only in a pharmacy.

Since we’re in the middle of cold and flu season, here are a few things Americans should know before visiting their local Spanish pharmacy.

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Where to do happy hour from Naked Madrid

Naked Madrid

It’s no secret that I love a good cocktail. When we landed in Madrid, I made it a personal mission to find a spot that made a manhattan just the way I liked it. Not knowing any locals to point me in the right direction, Naked Madrid helped me get my bearings and discover some of Madrid’s best cocktail bars.

Now that I’m settled, I’ve been venturing out on my own. Recently I discovered another place to add to the happy hour list and was able to share my thoughts in a guest post!

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Five things to know about August in Madrid

august in madrid
August in Madrid…when you’ll always find a seat on the metro

Lots of people sigh wistful sighs at the thought of summertime in Europe. I’m not sure that any of those people have spent August in Madrid. With 100+ degree days and generous vacation practices, instead of filling up like many northern and coastal areas of Europe, Madrid is practically abandoned.

That’s not to say it isn’t an incredible city and worth a visit in the warmer months. Just make sure you know what to expect. So whether you’re passing through or spending the summer, here are a few things to know about August in Madrid.

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