Shana came to Madrid in 2009 for a brief summer study program and couldn’t stay away for long. Immediately after finishing university, she came back in September 2010 and has since been spending her time navigating the English language with primary school children and constantly rediscovering all of the charms that captured her for the first time.
While I am of the firm belief that Madrid is a fantastic and beautiful place in all seasons, all bets are off once the crisp autumn air rolls into the city. The leaves change, the oppressive summer heat subsides, and the siesta begins yielding to an afternoon stroll through the always enchanting Parque Retiro. However, to fully enjoy this season, you must first equip yourself correctly. Everybody–guiri or otherwise–wears scarves here, both for form and for function in the colder months. Long or square, thick or thin, solid or patterned? They are the perfect accessory when the wind begins to blow, not to mention they might make you look a little bit more Madrileño! Don’t have any scarves? Don’t worry. Head over to El Rastro next Sunday morning and you will find scarves of all patterns and colors, starting as cheap as 2€ each.
A Madrid autumn also comes with plenty to do. Every year in late October/early November, Madrid’s Jazz festival begins and brings world-famous names and acts to the capital city. Individual tickets begin around 10€, with shows held in the Auditorio Conde Duque (Metro: Noviciado), Teatro Fernán Gomez (Metro: Colón), and Teatro Circo Price (Metro: Atocha). This year, the festival runs from the 2nd of November to the 4th of December and is sure to entertain.
A great place to see the fall colors is Aranjuez, just south of the city. A quick cercanías train ride from Atocha, Aranjuez is a charming town with good food, a grand palace, and incredible gardens. While this town is often visited in the summer via its famous Strawberry Train, the gardens are best viewed after the summer heat disappears and the orange leaves begin scattering themselves along the walkways. Be sure to bring your camera with a fully-charged battery, because maxing out your memory card on this journey is a given.
If you’re more of a summer person, don’t fret–the warm weather will be back before you know it. Until then, bundle up with one of your newly-purchased scarves and return to enjoying sangria’s cold-weather cousin, the ever-reliable vino tinto.