Hemingway Got It Right
“To go to bed at night in Madrid marks you as a little queer. For a long time your friends will be a little uncomfortable about it. Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night. Appointments with a friend are habitually made for after midnight at the cafe.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
I think Ernest Hemingway said it right. Bed seems to be a foreign concept in Madrid or it at least appears that way. Having spent my first time in Madrid last month I was not prepared for the daily, or should I say, nightly routines. It is typical to go out for dinner at 10pm only to finish around 2am or so and then stay a bit longer. As long as conversation is flowing and friends are being made there really is no point to going to bed. I have always enjoyed the general European attitude to personal time which I think is greatly lacking in the United States. This idea that family and friends are equally if not more important than work. Madrid highlights this most accurately.
After spending several nights out at dinner and with friends until 3am or later I was too tired to make early morning appointments but made sure to get up and explore the city hoping maybe it would be quiet and I could have it all to myself. I was wrong about this: Madrid never sleeps. All hours of the day cafe’s are filled, business are bustling, shops are frequented, and inspiration can be found everywhere. The buildings, personalities, and conversations match this vibrancy. I loved that the buildings were in various shades ranging from pastels to vibrant oranges and when there was a lack of color graffiti helped to correct that. Even the graffiti was done in bright colors instead of the traditional black and white tagging that is often seen elsewhere. Clothing is equally bright but sensible. Sequins, red glasses, whites, geometric patterns, bright yellows, and everything else invoking a sense of youth and playfulness can be seen throughout the city. In such a creative atmosphere it is no wonder people enjoy every moment of it even late into the night. I know I did!
Overwhelmingly I find myself enjoying the places I am at and forget to take pictures. Thankfully, while in Madrid I took a day to remind myself so that I wouldn’t regret it later. Below are a few highlighting the diverse architecture, clothing styles, and then just a few personal favorites. While I hope you enjoy the photos, Madrid truly is a city to experience, not see, experience! I don’t think pictures can do it justice!