Tag Archives: madrid

Top 5 Café-Bookshops In Madrid

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If you’re an adventure-loving Madrileño or Madrileña with a twist of the bookworm about you, check out my article, The Top 5 Café-Bookshops In Madrid here in City Life Madrid, a super cool company created to help young, international people in Madrid get settled, meet people and create a new life of their own. So grab yourself your favourite book, make working that little bit more fun and try out these beauties :) You won’t regret it!

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#SharedSpace

#CoffeeCakeWine

#LifeEnhancers

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25 Roof Terraces You Have To See In Madrid!

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And I thought I was the Queen of roof terraces in Madrid… Apparently not! Who knew there were a full 16 more roof terraces than the 9 I frequented last year?

If you’re also happiest sipping rose a-top one of Madrid’s beautiful buildings at sun down or if you’re new to the mile-high club, check out these stunnning roof terraces in this beautiful article from Inspiramemadrid.

#livingvicariouslythroughyou

#roofterracebeauty

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6 Sitios Donde Comer, Beber y Comprar

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Calling All Arty Madrileñas!

If you’re an adventurous little thing looking for some super cool new joints in Madrid where you can eat, drink and buy artwork, hats or vintage furniture, read this awesome article in Harper’s Bazaar, Espagne. It’s like candy to a child for artistic types and is seriously making me wish I was still there!

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Moving Abroad: Madrid, Spain

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Do you ever contemplate moving abroad but don’t quite have the confidence to take the leap?

With such a variety of options to choose from whether Europe, Indonesia or Australia, considering a move abroad can feel like a minefield. From assessing the cost of living, sounding out new job markets or wondering about the likelihood of making new friends, upping sticks can seem as scary as it can exciting. But it doesn’t have to be.

That’s where Gazing Girl comes in.

In a series of short interviews with guys and girls who have moved abroad to France, Spain, Singapore, Australia and beyond, we hope to give you the push to travel where your heart takes you.

Next stop, Madrid! Over to you, Leah

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Can You Tell Us A Bit About You?

Of course! My name is Leah. I am a 23 year old Canadian girl who loves to travel! I grew up just outside Toronto where I eventually went to school at Seneca College for Early Childhood Education. As with most people my age, I am currently questioning whether it was the right field for me! I’ve been giving writing a try over the last few years and I really quite enjoy it. I lived in beautiful Roma for 4 months in 2012 and since then I have spent every summer abroad. I am currently spending my first full year in Madrid, Spain!

What Inspired You To Move Abroad?

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I was bitten by the travel bug early on. My whole life I surrounded myself with photos and books of faraway places that I wanted to visit. I spent all my time reading about the histories of civilisations around the world. I knew right away that I wanted to experience a lot of cultures in an in depth way. I pictured myself on adventures like Indiana Jones or Laura Croft.. you know how they’ve been to so many places and have the ability to just immerse themselves in the world they happen to be in that day? That’s what I wanted.

How Big Is Madrid?

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Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is almost 3.2 million and that of the Madrid metropolitan area, around 6.3 million. It’s the third-largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin and the city spans 233.3 square miles. But unlike some capital cities, its pace is relaxed and welcoming despite its size.

How Did You Manage The Change?

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I worked on my first trip abroad for about a year before it actually happened, so I felt incredibly prepared for it. I didn’t plan my every step but I created an outline for myself so that I had some form of stability while over there. When I finally arrived I was so over the moon with my new environment that some of the plans went out the door as I gave way to spontaneous acts. I think the most important thing for a traveler is to completely rid yourself of any expectations. These can easily hinder an experience. I went overseas ready to fully absorb the cultural differences and to take things as they came. 

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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Where to start? I’m going on my fourth summer abroad and even though I have visited many different places in that time I’d have to say that one thing they all have in common is the amazing people I’ve met along the way. I’ve done a lot of growing up during my travels and have learned many life lessons solely due to meeting people from so many different walks of life. It’s amazing – there are so many different opinions, religions and lifestyles out there. We all happen to cross paths magically at the same place and same time. It’s very serendipitous! 

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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The biggest challenge of living abroad has to be the disconnection that has grown between myself and my life back in Canada. The longer I am over here, the less familiar my idea of home becomes. Madrid feels like my home now. It’s sad really as I love Canada and my family and friends back home but at the same time I have really grown up here – I have created a life here that I want to continue. I feel a strange guilt admitting that sometimes.

What Has Surprised You Most About The Country?

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The Spanish have a universal reputation for being lazy but I’ve come to realise that it’s not about laziness at all. The pace is slower here than other capital cities and that’s perfectly fine! In fact, I find the people here in Madrid are extremely active! They are always out and about, always taking advantage of what this amazing city has to offer. Perhaps a better way to describe the difference in approach is that unlike other capital cities such as London where the culture is more live to work, the culture in Madrid is more work to live. The climate and food in Madrid are beautiful and Madrileños place great importance on enjoying them! Some may call that lazy, others may call it joie de vivre or being ahead of the curve!

What’s Your Favourite Aspect Of The Country?

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The history is by far my favourite aspect of Spain. Honestly, I am such a history freak and there is not one dull event in the history of Spain. Everywhere you go there are elements of the past that is still a part of daily life. Not to mention that each of Spain’s provinces is incredibly unique.

What’s Your Least Favourite Aspect Of The Country?

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Sometimes I feel like there are inconsistencies here. When dealing with legal issues and government offices there never seems to be one straight answer for any particular issue. It all depends on who you talk to on what day. It can be incredibly demoralising for someone who genuinely wants to legalise their stay here and become a resident.

What’s The Biggest Difference To Canada?

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Though the weather is an obvious answer, it has to be the biggest difference. In Canada we are accustomed to extreme cold weather and the cities stay fully functional even with 20ft of snow on the ground. Over here their definition of cold is, in my opinion, silly. Outdoor activities close way earlier in the year and take longer until they open again for summer. The same goes for us in reverse – I haven’t yet gotten used to the summers here. The 42 degree heat and the scorching sun gave me my first ever heat rash last year. I don’t know how they do it! It’s particularly hot in August when most residents flee the city for a month in search of shade!

Did You Have A Stereotype Of The People In Your Mind And How Did Reality Reflect This?

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As I mentioned before, the stereotype of laziness was what I was expecting. The Spanish also have a reputation of being difficult and rude. This was indeed the case when I first arrived but eventually I began to realise that while their behaviour may seem ‘rude’ by our standards, it’s perfectly fine here. The Spanish don’t use empty “pleases” and “thank yous” - I think there’s a mutual understanding between everyone.

How Did You Find Making New Friends?

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Madrid is an extremely international city. All you need to do is meet one person and have them introduce you to their friends and you will have an amazing, diverse, group of people surrounding you. I find that I have become less of a social butterfly over this year. I’ve been trying to focus on work and living a healthy live rather than a life of partying. But if I wanted to go out and meet new people I know that it would be incredibly easy! 

What Is The Foreign Job Market Like?

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If you want to live in Spain and work it can be a little bit difficult depending on the sector…

I don’t fall into that category as I did a TEFL course here (Teaching English As A Foreign Language) and have had no problem finding work teaching English. There is huge demand for English teachers here despite the recession as speaking another language is a way for people to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. There are new jobs every month whether teaching business English to adults or general English to children! This can be a great option if you’re looking for time-out from a city job or something more permanent.

For other lines of work, I’m not so sure. The country is still recovering from the financial crisis and  I know it can be difficult to find a company willing to spend the cash on foreign employees and the legal work that comes with hiring them. That said, I know English lawyers and financiers working for international companies who have transferred over here and are having  ball! Speaking Spanish isn’t always a requirement.

How Hard Is It To Get A Visa?

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Oh Visas.. this is one of those topics that no one seems to have a straight answer to. It all depends on the Visa type and why you want one. Student Visas are quite easy to obtain for most people around the world. Once you start to tread into the working Visa pool though, things get hazy, confusing and very circumstantial. For those looking to live abroad I suggest getting a student Visa with permission to work.

What Would You Do Differently Looking Back?

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I would have saved more money. Being someone who lives in the moment means I don’t think always about the consequences. I came home completely broke two summers in a row despite the fact that I was working while overseas!

What Advice Would You Give To Someone Thinking About Moving Abroad?

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My advice would be to DO IT and do it 100%. You can’t half-ass a huge trip abroad. I have met so many travellers over this past year who want a lot of the work done for them. What’s the point? You won’t learn anything from that. Travel isn’t about how many cool selfies you can take in front of famous buildings. It’s about the fun, scary, stupid, exciting, dirty, complicated, life changing moments you experience along the way.

What’s Next For You?

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I am planning on applying for another year here in Madrid and hopefully qualifying for residency in a few years! I also have many plans for the coming year to visit some new place in Europe and the East. Here’s hoping!

How Can We Contact You?

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You can contact me through my website, This Road Is Life

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You….

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I am strangely obsessed with the entire Real Housewives franchise… I don’t know how it all started but I find it wildly entertaining!

Some Of Madrid’s Best Bits In Pictures…

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Madrid-Retiro Park Spain 1259832539(www.brodyaga.com)

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Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in the city (350 acres) and one of Madrid’s premier attractions. Belonging to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century when it became a public park, it’s a tranquil paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the centre.  A stone’s throw from the famous Prado Museum, it is truly magnificent, filled with sculptures, monuments, galleries, crystal palaces and a peaceful lake.

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Casa de Campo is Madrid’s largest park (and also one of Europe’s) with over 1700 hectares of land, including a lake, a zoo and amusement park.

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Tapas, sangria and tinto de verano (a delicious mix of red wine and lemonade) are the perfect way to while away an evening in a plaza or park… Best of all, the cost of living is seriously low so meals out seem bargainous compared to places like London.

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Experience the best of Madrid’s gastonomy at one of its indoor food markets or roof terraces overlooking the cityscape. They’re truly magical.

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Lateral, Las Huertas

Lateral, Santa Ana

What’s Lateral?

One of the most well-known tapas joints in Madrid, Lateral’s terrace in Plaza Santa Ana is a truly pleasurable place to while away an evening. A top of the range chain with a distinctly ‘unchainy’ feel, Lateral is located throughout Madrid, including the popular Calle Fuencarral in Malasaña. Understated, chic and well-run, Lateral is great value with a diverse choice of tapas to boot.

Lateral, Malasaña

What of the food?

While it may be known for its top quality Tortilla, there are many other delicious dishes to choose from, from the Murcia Blood Sausage (a personal favourite a bit like black pudding), the OxTail, the Avocado and Salmon or the Pork with Melted Brie. Add a Tinto de Verano or a generously sized Gin and Tonic to the mix and you have the perfect feast.

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What’s the decor like?

If al fresco’s your cup of tea, this is the crème de la crème. Slatted wooden tables sit beneath a discrete cream canopy with flame heaters to keep you snuggly. With buzzers table-side, there’s no escape for lazy waiters who are, quite literally (or perhaps more aptly, laterally), at your beck and call.

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What’s nearby?

If tapas isn’t enough for you, you can chose from an array of desserts and cocktails. Situated in the heart of possibly the prettiest square in Madrid, there are bars aplenty for after dinner digestifs or rooftop glamour atop the famous ME Hotel (next door).

In short…

Well-located, scrumptious and beautiful, this is a great stop for visiting friends and family.

Contact:

Address: Plaza Santa Ana, 12

Website

Tel: 914201582

Nearest Metro: Anton Martin / Sol

Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Madrid

What is it?

My favourite place in Madrid, this should be top of your to-do list.  With an energy and buzz that reminds me of New York, Mercado de San Miguel is what living is all about. Think Borough Market Spanish style and you’re getting a little closer to conjuring up the vibe of this gastronomical treasure.

What’s inside?

Step inside the elegant glass structure and you’ll enter what can only be described as a culinary Paradise. From seafood paella and every type of croqueta your heart could desire to oysters, frozen yoghurt and sweet treats to melt even the hardest heart, this is Eden if ever there was one.

Who goes there?

Full of tourists from every corner of the globe sipping wine and beer whilst savouring tapas at chic high tables running the length of the market, this is a place buzzing with energy. I’ll never forget visiting Mercado de San Miguel having just left the corporate world – the happiness etched across the market sellers’ faces was tangible and striking. Simple pleasures. Food for thought.

Will you like it?

And a food lover you should be if you come here. If you’re happiest eating, you’re in for a treat.

Why visit? 

This is a place which will tease every sense and catapult you full-throttle into joie de vivre.

The only warnings are as follows: 1) Don’t let your bag out of your sight 2) Bring an empty tummy 3) Be prepared to feel bloated after a visit.

This is an experience to be embraced. This is living.

Contact:

Plaza San Miguel, 28005, Madrid

Nearest tube: Opera

The Top Roof Terraces in Madrid

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1. Circulo de Bellas Artes Roof Terrace, Gran Via

Located on Calle de Alcala just off Gran Via, the roof terrace at Circulo de Bellas Artes is a not to be missed. If there is one place you should take a visitor, it’s here. A spectacle extraordinaire, the wow factor is on a par with stepping onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

This is a truly panoramic experience, with views stretching over the cityscape as far as the eye can see. The terrace is vast with various sub-sections, from the chic canopeyed restaurant hub and sophisticated high-tabled drinks area to a chic sunken zone with low-lying sun loungers and fluorescent mushroom-like tables.

If you come before 9:30pm you’ll avoid queuing and catch the sunset. At 3 euros a pop, an evening a top Circulo de Bellas Artes is a steal.

Contact:

Address: Calle de Alcala, 42, 28014, Madrid

Website

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Tel: 913 60 54 00

2. Cibeles Root Terrace, Banco de Espana

Cibeles Palace roof terrace comes a close second to Circulo des Bellas Artes. Standing majestically in front of the famous Cibeles Fountain, it oozes gravitas and splendour.

The Palacio Cibeles Restaurant, on the sixth floor, has pretty lovely views but the eighth floor is something else. With horizon wide panoramas of the city from a 70 metre high look-out point, this is well worth a visit. The terrace is top-end chic, with striking black surrounds and dim-lighting which gives it an exclusive edge over some of its counterparts.

If you count yourself a bit of a sophisticat, give this a whirl.

Contact:

Address: Plaza Cibeles 1, 28014, Madrid

Nearest Metro: Banco de Espana

Tel: 917 40 06 68

3. La Terraza de Óscar at Room Mate Óscar

Situated on Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, between Gran Via and Chueca, the rooftop bar atop the swanky Room Mate Óscar hotel is a must. If you’re struggling to find it, you can’t miss the bold, over-sized sign hanging from its exterior which reads: “Do you want to sleep with me?”  How continental.

With comfy white cushions, sun-loungers spread around to laze on and drinks ranging from Gin and Tonics to Mojitos, you’d have to try pretty hard not to like this place.

And while it’s a top of the range spot with a distinctly exclusive vibe to it, it’s not overly expensive. Chic, light and airy, Room Mate Óscar mixes the luxurious and unpretentious with ease.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, 12, 28004 Madrid

Website

Nearest tube: Banco de Espana/Gran Via

Tel: 917 01 11 73

4. ME Hotel Roof Terrace, Las Letras

Think understated chic under the stars. Not unlike its glamorous Covent Garden counterpart, the roof terrace at the ME Hotel in Plaza Santa Ana is a super stylish hang-out with views to die for. With wooden decking lining the floors, stylish glass surrounds and chic taupe umbrellas, it has an air of exclusivity which more than justifies the 10 euro entry fee by night.

Though previously a little put-off by the latter, it’s a small price to pay for the ambience and complimentary cocktail of your choice.

If you really can’t bring yourself to shell out, the terrace is free by day and would be a lovely spot for afternoon digestifs after lunch at Lateral southward.

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, 28012 Madrid

Website

Nearest Metro: Anton Martin

Tel: 902 14 44 40 

5. St Anton Market, Chueca

My sister’s favourite of the lot, this roof terrace combines markety buzz and casual chic.  Located on the top floor of Mercado San Anton (one of Madrid’s most authentic tapas markets), it’s an eclectic mix of flora, fauna and cocktails set in the heart of Madrid’s gay district.

If you don’t fancy the restaurant sitting alongside the bar, or sampling the market treats below, there are top of the range restaurants a-plenty southward. If you like character, you’ll love this.

Contact:

Address: Calle Augusto Figueroa, 24. 28004 Madrid

Nearest metro: Chueca

Website

Tel: 91 330 07 30

6. El Corte Ingles Roof Terrace, Callao

The top floor of El Corte Ingles is a feast for the senses. The gourmet section of the well-known department store has moved skyward, where it combines forces with a variety of bars and restaurants. From Japanese and American to tapas and tortellini, this is a gem of a find with spectacular views of the city to boot. Whether you’re after a full-blown meal or a light snack after a day’s shopping in Sol, this is a wonderful spot to unwind. Not often you find similar offerings atop department stores in London…

Contact:

Address: Plaza de Callao, 2, 28013

Nearest Metro: Callao

Website

Tel: 913 79 80 00

7. Rooftop Bar, Hotel de Las Letras

Located in the heart of Madrid on Gran Via, this is a classy 4* Hotel with a twist. As its name suggests, Hotel De las Letras has a literary thread, with walls decorated with silk-screened texts of different authors. If poems and short stories aren’t your bag, venture up to the 7th floor rooftop bar, otherwise known as Ático De las Letras and discover a relaxed, jungular wilderness overlooking the city heights.

The decor is understated but snazzy, with slatted wooden flooring and high neon green perspex tables. Food includes a range of salads, tapas, grilled sardines and beef tartare. There’s also an impressive range of booze on offer with varying types of rum, vodka, gin, brandy, whisky and champagne as well as mojitos, caipirinhas or a range of fresh juices.

Come nightfall, you can enjoy the starry lights of the cityscape alongside a live DJ who plays into the wee hours. Open from 13:00 to 12:30 Sundays to Wednesdays and 13:00 to 03:00 Thursdays to Saturdays, this is a great spot to enjoy a break from the city.

Contact:

Address: Calle Gran Vía, 11, 28013 Madrid, Spain

Website

Nearest tubes: Gran Via/Sevilla

Tel: 915 23 79 80

8. Hotel Urban Roof Terrace, Sevilla

A stone’s throw from Gran Via, Hotel Urban is a minimalist 5 Star experience worth a visit. The roof terrace is understated, modern chic, with white seating and views over Madrid’s city centre. While the outlook is a little more ‘urban’ and less far-reaching than some of its counterparts, this is an elegant spot with a uniquely metropolitan twist.

The menu is extensive with generous lashings of gin typical of Madrid and the drinks are served with popcorn – a novel touch for a novel experience. Open from around 8pm, this is a lovely spot for a pre-dinner drink.

Contact:

Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34, 28014

Nearest Metro: Sevilla

Website

Tel: 917 87 77 70

9. Ildefonso Market, Malasana

This new market in Tribunal is a must-see.  While sampling the culinary delicacies here is the main feature, the roof terrace on the second floor with its outdoor watering system is super buzzy and fun.  The only reason why this ranks lower than the others is because there is no view – but the atmosphere is second to none.

Grab yourself a mouth-watering burger, a plate of pulpo and a glass of vino for 2 euros and you’re in bliss.  Throw a chocolate crepe in for good measure and life really doesn’t get much better.

Contact:

Address: Calle Fuencarral, 57, 28080

Nearest metro: Tribunal

Website

Tel: 915 59 13 00