Almost Fearless

One Night in Madrid

I arrived in Madrid in the afternoon. My hostel was downtown, right off the Sol – Vodafone metro stop. Can we pause for a moment and consider the kind of world we live in when now a metro stop is “officially sponsored” by a phone company? I hadn’t been in Madrid since 2008 when we lived there for three months, and now, upon my return, I find that literally even the public transportation is for sale. I arrived just about 2 years too late to freak out about it, since everyone had already so that and since moved on.

So I dragged my stuff to Plaza Miguel, checked into my simple but pleasant private room, and immediately fell asleep for several hours until 8 PM. It’s Spain. You don’t eat dinner before 9. There’s no need to fight it, just give in, lay down and get some zzzs because you’ll be out until 2 AM anyway.

A quick shower later, and I was on the street, looking for a place to eat.


I had forgotten though that they just GIVE you food in Madrid. In Barcelona, a free tapa might be a little bowl of olives. In Madrid, I ordered myself a tapa and a beer, and was then given a random additional plate of grilled pork with vegetables. Every time I ordered a beer I could get more food. I had to be like: listen, okay, just give me the beer, but that’s it. Beer. I am here for the beer.


I don’t know, I couldn’t really think of anything else to do, I had to continue traveling the next day, so I just wandered around and plopped down in little cafes, had a drink and a bite to eat.

I did manage to get one lovely full plate of pimientos de padrón, which are so heavenly.


I’d like to say I did something other than drink. I did not.


There might have been an entire pitcher of sangria. Some jamón. I don’t entirely remember.


Then I elegantly walked back to my hotel room, without stumbling at all and managed to get my keys in the door without making any noise (these are all lies, by the way) and promptly face-planted on my bed until 11 AM the next morning.

You might say I did Madrid wrong, or maybe, I did it exactly right.

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”