I arrived in Madrid, for the first time, in the winter of 2004. I was a study abroad student from a small town in Upstate New York, and I was itching to see the world. How did I end up in Madrid? Well, my university had a small campus here, and after years of Spanish classes yet having no real grasp on speaking the language, I decided it was about time to really learn it (did I? Not quite, but I’m working on it). I lived with a Spanish family near Diego de Leon, took classes like the Culture of Spain and Art History, and explored Spain and some of Europe. It was my first experience really seeing the world, and I told myself as I headed to Barajas for my flight back to New York, after five months in Madrid, that I would return one day. There was still so much more to see here.
Well, that day has come. My husband, Andreas, and I were living in Los Angeles when he applied, and was accepted to, IE Business School here in Madrid. Though the move would take us far from my family in the States, we would be closer to his family in Germany, and we were both looking forward to spending 15 months in Spain.
Upon receiving the acceptance, we started thinking about our year ahead. We had already planned a beach wedding in Malibu for the following spring, which was attended by our immediate families and a pod of dolphins, and we had always dreamed of a grand honeymoon. Since we were taking 13 months for his IMBA anyway, we figured why not take an ‘Around The World’ honeymoon before the program started? We sold all of our furniture, along with most of our possessions, and packed what was left into a VW hatchback, which we drove from Los Angeles to New York. After that we headed to South America, South Africa, and finally, to the most intense traveling experience: India.
Eventually it was time to head to Spain. We decided to walk the Camino de Santiago a week before arriving in Madrid. It was one of those experiences that had always been on the bucket list: to complete the Camino de Santiago on foot. After 31 days of walking we reached Santiago de Compostela, tired but proud.
Finally, we are now in Madrid, ready for the year ahead. We have a great apartment in Goya, near Parque del Buen Retiro, which is wonderful as my husband is a runner and I am trying to become one. The city itself amazes me. Sometimes I’ll see a plaza or a building (or a bar…) that brings back memories from my time here 2004, and other times I feel like I am discovering a whole new city. Madrid has so many different neighborhoods to explore, and Spain itself has so many various regions with their own culture and flair, and sometimes even a totally different language. I feel fortunate to be back in Madrid, this time with more life experience under my belt. It’s going to be an exciting year.
Life in Madrid is an adventure, and I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure through the Guiri Guide.