I’m quite sure you have heard before of Stendhal syndrome which is produced by exposition to high amount of art and beauty. But have you ever heard of Madrid syndrome? Well, let me tell you the truth, Madrid syndrome does not officially exist. However, I believe it’s time to talk about it. Simply because one can’t help but fall in love with this marvelous city which can be vouched by all of us who have visited or studied there.
So, what is exactly the Madrid’s syndrome?
The Madrid syndrome is an unexpected emotion that you will experience when you visit Madrid the first time. The city, its ambience and its charm will just sweep you off your feet because it will take you completely by surprise. Like many others, you will ask yourself why no one ever told you how amazing Madrid is. Madrid possesses you with its allure and distinctive personality that makes you realize that urban happiness takes precedence over monuments or perfectly planned boulevards. Madrid syndrome also induces envy towards those who already visited Madrid or chose to live or study there before you. Warning: it may also have a side effect: craving to stay!
But what triggers Madrid syndrome?
1: Madrid is a what you would call a big- small city.
Big because Madrid vibrates and breathes like a cosmopolitan capital with 5 million inhabitants. It bustles with crowded cafés, art galleries, blinding shop windows. Small because it has retained a peaceful and joyful provincial lifestyle that European capitals have lost. Madrid still gives you the chance to find an old traditional hat maker, an old charming bar to get a vermouth surrounded by a mix of urban tribe that would never mingle in Paris or London.
2: Madrid boasts of beautiful sceneries and hidden treasures.
As many other cities, the best way to discover Madrid is on foot. . It’s not so large and in a short half an hour walk, you can go from the flawless and elegant district of Salamanca to the popular and bohemian district of Malasaña where you see children playing football on a square next to street musicians and people chatting from balcony to balcony. There is nothing in Europe such as the Gran Via, an incredible mix of Champs Elysées, Broadway and Oxford Street where Art Deco Skyscrapers, contemporary architecture and neoclassical buildings live in perfect harmony. It will only take you 10 minutes to transport yourself from the thirties to the 16th century and to a maze of narrow streets where you could perfectly picture a movie of Don Quixote.
3: People of Madrid will elevate your social life like no one else.
After visiting many capital cities and living in Paris, I can solemnly affirm that people of Madrid or Madrileños as they are called, are the most benevolent and magnanimous people one can ever come across. People from Madrid are social animals and can’t survive without social interaction. Whatever happens to you as a foreigner in Madrid, there will always be someone ready to help you without ever making you feel like a clumsy tourist. If you are a nighthawk, be ready as Madrid is a city that never sleeps Don’t be surprised to see not only youngsters; but also boisterous senior citizens merrily having drinks later after midnight. One can say that Madrileños succeeded in making Madrid a place where unwanted solitude does not exist.
4: Madrid is Spain’s melting pot.
Madrid, strategically located in the very centre of Spain, is inhabited by several generations of Spaniards from the whole country. During conversations, people in Madrid will tell you that they are form Valencia, Galicia, Catalonia, Andalusia, etc. No city in the whole country is more representative of the rich cultural diversity of Spain. Simply, Madrid is Spain’s perfect culinary, cultural and artistic showcase. In other words, Madrid is all of Spain inside one city.
5: Madrid will make you feel wealthy as compared to any other capital.
As compared to any other European capital, Madrid offers incredible options for any budget. Thousands of bars serve delicious, hearty and healthy menus for 12 euros. You can enjoy the sun at a terrace in central Madrid and order a beer that will probably not cost you more than 3.50 euros. Actually, Madrid is the only city in Europe where, as a student, you can plan to eat outside most of the time without burning a hole in your pocket. . I also challenge anyone in Berlin, London, Paris or Amsterdam to reach the airport for 4 euros.
6: If you are learning Spanish, you’ll hear dozens of accents in one place.
Since Madrid is no doubt Spain’s melting pot, no need to worry about the accent you will pick up: you can literally pick them all and get used to Andalusian, Galician, Extremeño or even learn the ropes of south American accents thanks to the huge south American community living in Madrid. Of course, there is also Madrid’s accent that you will spot right away thanks to a strong stress on “S”.
7: Last but not least: Madrid’s sky will enthrall you.
All of us know; light contributes to a healthy state of mind and happiness. Madrid has a bright natural light that makes the day’s and mainly the night’s skies spectacular. Madrid’s sky is famous and romanticized by painters and photographers. People of Madrid love their sky and talk about it with dozens of poetic sentences like Madrid sky is our beach, or Madrid’s sky is our flag.
Yes! At least for some of us Madrid syndrome does exist.
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