How do you do that? By celebrating San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid! This past weekend was THE festival in Madrid with everyone decked out as chulapas y chulapos, the typical Madrid dress.
As well there were tons of activities and shows throughout the city. My personal favorite was the fire show by the somewhat-lame Madrid river Manzanares. In order show off the revamped paseo area by the river, there were structures lit up with fire all through the river and surrounding area. It was really cool! Sorry my pictures are a bit blurry.
Although some people that visit Madrid give it a hard time for not being "Spanish" enough. It's too cosmopolitan, they say, its got a Starbucks for crying outloud! And did you see the KFC on the corner? In honor of San Isidro I am standing up my home away from home Madrid. Here are 5 reasons you should love Madrid as much as I do:
1. The food is amazing. It might be hard to define madrileno food (if there even is such a thing) but Madrid gets the best of all the other food in Spain.
2. Finding random markets everywhere. Seriously, there seems to always be one around the corner just waiting to surprise you. Some of them are crappy but a lot of them have hidden treasures.
3. Bars. I love the bars here, they are truely la casa de la calle (everyone's house) and a general hangout for young people, families, grandparents. You can't trip without seeing 5 bars here and I love that each one of them has their own vibe.
4. Madrid makes me look up. Even though its a big city it has its own distinct neighborhoods and I see architecture in the most random places. So I try to remind myself to always be looking up while walking around the city.
5. Having a tapas bar where everybody knows your name. My roommates and I have our's right down the street and every visitor that comes through Madrid goes there with us. They always say hello/give us free beers so we just keep coming back!
So don't be a hater. Madrid is amazing in it's own Starbucks-KFC-Spanish way.