50 shades of Madrid

Congratulations for having chosen one of the most captivating and diverse capitals of Europe for your travels! From the moment you touch down in Madrid, you are sure to be drawn in by the dynamic whirr of madrileño activity in no time flat. And, believe me, life does not stop at night. After all, Madrid’s […]

Congratulations for having chosen one of the most captivating and
diverse capitals of Europe for your travels! From the moment you
touch down in Madrid, you are sure to be drawn in by the dynamic
whirr of madrileño activity in no time flat.

And, believe me, life does not stop at night. After all, Madrid’s nightlife
is world famous! Aside from the natural, infectious party atmosphere
that courses through the city’s veins, there is a more practical reason
for this nocturnal attitude. Especially during the summer months,
temperatures in Madrid can reach a stifling 40°C, the air rarely cooling
off before 17.00/18.00. It therefore seems rather sensible to restrict
most activity to the later hours of the day and night, and to hold a
siesta (what a gift to the world!) in the afternoon.

This brings us onto the lovely topic of geography. Now, class…no,
don’t worry – only joking! There are some interesting things to be said
about Madrid’s geographical location, though. For example, the city is
bordered, in the Northwest, by the magnificent Sierra de Guadarrama
mountain range, an ideal escape from the urban landscape for many of
Madrid’s inhabitants. Situated within this mountain range is also the
Lozoya Valley, an area that boasts a rich biodiversity, such as the rare
Spanish Imperial Eagle and even (it is thought) the Iberian lynx.
Madrid also sits upon the Mazanares river, running both above- and
underground, which allows for a breath of fresh air within the city.

As a tip for all you early birds, due to its geographical location,
madrileño sunrises are particularly spectacular – imagine the sky coming
alive with bursts of gold, yellow, orange and pink!

In terms of demography, Madrid is the third largest city in the EU, after
London and Berlin. Its population can be split into two distinct areas:
the actual city and the Comunidad de Madrid (Madrid Community).
The former counts approx. 3.3 million inhabitants, whereas the latter,
covering 8000 sq km around the city, exceeds 5 million.
The population of Madrid is fantastically diverse, with a strong sense of
acceptance. The motto is: ‘if you live in Madrid, you are from Madrid’!
The main religions are, amongst others, Christianity, Buddhism and
Judaism, although there are many more faiths around. Thousands of
immigrants are attracted to this multicultural city each year, countries
represented including Morocco, Ecuador and China.
As the seat of government and the residence of the Spanish monarch,
Juan Carlos I, Madrid is also the political centre of Spain.

Finally, as this guide will tell you, Madrid has a fantastic range of
cultural and other activities and sites for you to explore and enjoy,
from museums and art galleries, to stadiums, parks, tours and much
more! As Forrest Gump once so wisely said: “Life [or, in this case,
Madrid] is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna
get”. So what are you waiting for? Jump into this box and get into the
spirit – Madrid awaits!

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CTR Travel Writing Team Madrid 2012

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