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FROM MADRID TO HEAVEN – by Carolina Garcia

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Its name originally comes from the Arab word “Mayrit” which means “main stream” due to a large amount of water that they found in this city at that time. However the river crossing the country’s capital is not very abundant today.

Despite not having the most beautiful river in the world you shouldn’t miss the charm of this magical place where nobody asks you where you are from.

If you want to visit the most multicultural neighbourhood in Madrid I would recommend you to go to Lavapiés where there are plenty of Indian and African restaurants and a lot of bars with young people who like having fun.

If you prefer a hipster atmosphere you could go to Malasaña where you will find many trendy shops, cafes and bars with tattooed waiters.

If you like having a walk around the multiple squares and small streets I wouldn’t hesitate to go to La Latina or Barrio de las letras (Arts District).

After this tour along bars, restaurants and cafes you could feel like taking fresh air in one of the parks, such as Casa de campo or El Retiro (considered as “the lung of the city”). You can rent a boat to row in the pond or just visit the Palacio de cristal where you could see an interesting exhibition.

One of the world’s premier art galleries is the Museo del Prado where you can be lost among Goya’s or Velázquez’s works. If you are more interested in contemporary art you could visit the museum Reina Sofía or go to one of the hundreds art galleries in the entire city.

After so much art you might be hungry again which is not weird in Spain; not every day you can savour fresh fish and meat. Madrid offers also a great variety of Tapas that you may already know at this stage. Let me give you tips on the places that you must not go, such as restaurants around Plaza Mayor where it is easy to find tourists spending a lot of money on eating paella for dinner!!

You have a varied and rich gastronomic choice of Tapas or raciones (e.g. Calamares a la romana, patatas bravas, croquetas, chopitos, cazón, tabla de embutidos….) and one of the most popular dishes from Madrid is the cocido -a traditional chickpea-based stew prepared with meat and vegetables, not suitable for vegetarians or people on diets!

Having had such a great experience you could want to get a souvenir from this wonderful city. Spend one Sunday buying in the Rastro – open air flea market located in the above mentioned La Latina.

One of the greatest thing to enjoy in Madrid is the light of heaven, you can witness it in the Templo de Debod (picture above). The temple was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government and it’s located in the centre of the city. You cannot miss the sunset from there, you will feel like flying to heaven…



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