Gluten free guide to Madrid: Part 1

Gluten free guide to Madrid: Part 1

mercadona 1Hey Guiris! Are you gluten-free and not sure how to handle a new city? I sat down with a few of my classmates from AIL Madrid this week to put together the ultimate gluten free guide to Madrid, with everything you need to know to stay happy and healthy in Madrid.

This week: Supermarkets! And stay posted because our tips for bakeries and restaurants are coming soon!

Mercadona Mercadona Mercadona!

Unlike BeetleJuice, this is something you desperately hope will appear after you say it three times because Mercadona is the gluten-free lover’s best friend. It’s constantly rumored that the owner of Mercadona has a celiac daughter and, whether or not that’s true, his sympathy to gluten free diets is made obvious throughout his stores. Each and mercadona gluten free guide to Madridevery gluten free product (self-evident or not) is marked with a clear blue and red stamp if its celiac friendly, and the options are vast and exciting! Freshly made bread, multiple pastas, frozen pizzas, cookies, ice cream and the list goes on.

When it comes to lactose free products, they are also incredibly well labeled and the options are plentiful, if not as impressive as the gluten-free ones. But the best part about this store? It’s actually affordable. Yes, Corte Ingles has lots of gluten free products as well, as does Carrefour, but you won’t find prices (or labels) better than Mercadona. Its only possible rival is the gluten free section at Alcampo, but Mercadona is more likely to have a location near you.

If you don’t have easy access to one of these big stores, don’t sweat it because even the little corner stores have a lot of gluten free products these days: yes you’ll have less choice, but you’ll definitely find some tasty options!

As always, feel free to add your own tips in the comments 🙂

Free Sangria in Madrid: event for Madrid Guiris

Free Sangria in Madrid: event for Madrid Guiris

Hey Guiris! It’s been a while but we’re baaaAAACKK!! And we’re bringing you the hottest item on your January calendar, featuring Free Sangria in Madrid! This mixer is a great opportunity to network with other guiris, make new friends, and enjoy discounts on some tasty tapas:

This Tuesday, January the 12th, head over to the San Ildefonso Market(Fuencarral 57) for a FREE event including:

  • 1 Free Sangria at the entrance
  • Free gifts and surprises from Desperados Beer
  • 20% Off on food on every bar/restaurant between 20/22 hs.

And, of course, a DJ to give the whole thing right vibe while you enjoy tapas, cocktails, drinks and meet new friends from all over the world!

We’re excited and look forward to seeing you there!

Also: stay tuned for upcoming articles on living with dietary restrictions in Madrid- everything you need to know for a happy, healthy life!Free Sangria in Madrid

Madrid’s October Madness

Madrid’s October Madness

Villamanuela

Dust off those hipster, festival clothes. Shake off those cobwebs. There is a special treat in store this weekend! On the 9th, 10th and 11th of October, Malasaña and Conde Duque are hosts to Villamanuela festival!

Dance the night and day away, practice your experienced, serious, artist face in the various exhibitions, or shamelessly take advantage of the discounts and deals in the shops and restaurants throughout these barrios like we will be doing. 33 bands will be playing, including The Sonics, Girl Band and The Black Madonna.

Tickets cost from €32 a day, but you had better hurry! “Saturday only” tickets have already sold out! Check out the website for more details: http://villamanuela.es/

Tapapiés

If you are like us you will love Spanish food but it tastes so much better when you know you are getting a good deal! Get ready for your foodie socks to pop off in excitement…next weekend in Lavapiés is Tapapiés.

Tapapiés involves some 375,000 types of tapas, 100,000 visitors and
90 participating restaurants and cafés. A tapas will only set you €1,50 out of pocket and just €2,50 if you choose to pair it with a drink!

Savor your favorite tapas in front of some top entertainment: 60 open-air concerts and performances!

This magnificent event doesn’t last for just one weekend either, but extends from Thursday 15th of October all the way to Sunday the 25th of October. Get the stretchy trousers out and let the 10 days of feasting begin!

Fall Events in Madrid

Fall Events in Madrid

AIL side adThe summer heat wave has passed, but Madrid’s just warming up! For one thing, the city is flooded with fresh faces: new university students, bright eyed professionals transferring in from other countries, a mountain of new auxiliares, and the list just keeps going! At AIL Madrid (my Spanish academy), the halls are full of exited Spanish language lovers chattering about the perfect weather, great wine, and all the exciting Fall Events in Madrid. One particularly enthusiastic conversation in my intensive course inspired me to jot some of the events down, for newbies and veterans alike!

So, without further ado, here’s what’s happening in Madrid this fall!

  • Oktoberfest 2Oktoberfest! You don’t need to travel all the way to Germany to enjoy some of the country’s best beers, dishes, and folk music: it’s all right here in Madrid! Head over to the Barclaycard center in Salamanca this weekend and live it up, German style! Entrance is 15€ apiece, and the festival lasts from the 24th to the 27th. Additionally, if you’re looking for something fun but a little more low-key, the AIL blog has a great list of German bars. Enjoy!
  • the screamThe Edvard Munch exhibit is opening at the Thyssen on October 6th, which promises great fun for art-minded guiris looking to further explore “The Scream” artist’s paintings. I’ll be there for sure!
  • Madreat_MG_4375MadrEat: we talked about this awesome food truck festival in July but, since then, it’s only gained in popularity. Taking place on the 3rd weekend of every month, this past weekend boasted thousands of people visiting an ever growing number of trucks with an incredible variety of artisan food and drink. The next one takes place in Plaza de Azca (as usual) on the 16th-18th of October, so mark your calendars and share your favorite trucks in the comments!
  • imagesFinally, October is handing out a three day weekend! The 12th of October (Monday) is a bank holiday so, for the newbies, this can be a great chance to get out and start exploring Spain! Or, if you’re already well acquainted / want to explore the city further, head to Cines Doré for a quiet afternoon movie or on a long walk through the park while the weather is still more than perfect!

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more updates and feel free to share more events in the comments. A big guiri welcome to all the new comers from your Madrid family!

Riding the Metro in Madrid

Riding the Metro in Madrid

Tren_3000_2After spending the last 11 years living in Seattle – a city who’s transportation system is limited by lots of water (i.e. no underground trains) and can’t seem to gain the critical public support it deserves (i.e. super crowded roads) – I was thrilled to leave my car behind and Riding the Metro in Madrid

When I first arrived I found it quite easy to pay 1,50 euro per trip and use the automated machines that offer instructions in English.  Soon, I learned that I could save a little money and time at the machine by purchasing a 10 trip pass for 12,20E.

abonoNow I’m riding the metro daily to get to my Spanish class and I decided it was best to buy a monthly pass (“abono”) for 47,90E. This was the first ‘tricky’ experience I had with the metro, but it wouldn’t have been if I’d checked out this website in advance or, if that’s not clear enough, this helpful Madrid transport guide.  It doesn’t matter what time of month you purchase your pass, it will be valid for 30 days at a time and is valid on the metro, buses, and cercanías (urban train), so it’s a huge asset to anyone traversing the wilds of Madrid. Here’s what you should do if you’re planning to purchase a monthly pass:

  • First, find a photo booth to have your ‘headshot’ taken (you can find these in the larger metro stations like Ave. de America or even on the street if you keep your eyes peeled).
  • lsSecond, take one of your photos and your passport with you to any Estanco or Tobacco shop – you’ll see them all over with their maroon and yellow “Tobacco” signs. This process can also be done at some of the larger metro stations, such as Sol, Nuevos Ministerios, Chamartín, and Atocha.
  • Third, tell the cashier you’d like a monthly pass, “Yo quiero un abono
  • Fourth, fill out the form provided with your local contact information and ID information.

At that point you should get a red card (roughly the size and shape of a credit card) with your photo and metro credit.  Each time you take the metro you’ll have to swipe your pass on the large green circle, located on the right side of each metro turnstile.  If you decide to get a monthly pass the next month, the process is much easier.  Go to one of the automated machines, select monthly pass, stick your red abono card into the machine, pay with cash or a card with a chip in it and you’ll have your new ticket for the month!

A couple of important notes:

  • You can plan your route and find the quickest way to get where you’re going at www.metromadrid.es (available in English). This is also available as an app on your phone!
  • If you’re coming or going from Barajas Airport, the metro is a great way to go, but remember that you have to pay an extra 3 euros at the machine in order to pass through (unless you have a monthly pass).
  • It’s always good to have a metro map, which can be picked up at any metro station or found online here.
  • The lines are labeled with the final destination to let you know which direction it’s going – a map will help you figure this out or you can always find a detailed sign that lists the stops on that line.

metro-madrid-linea-1

Happy metro riding!