Destination 1: It All Starts in Madrid

While in Spain, Ronda finally gets to explore the Spanish landscape and culture that has always fascinated her, from the otherworldly mountains of Cuenca to the ultramodern museums of Valencia. Take a few minutes to explore the same locales that Ronda does, and you might get swept away by dreams of your own!


Madrid Skyline

View of Madrid at Dusk

By Angela Ojeda Heyper on Flickr

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.

–Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Ronda’s first stop when her plane lands in Spain is Madrid, the country’s capital and largest municipality. Madrid is steeped in literary and artistic atmosphere and history. If you didn’t know what to expect upon walking down the streets of Madrid, you might be caught off guard by the lavish baroque architecture of the Plaza Mayor. But you won’t get too swept away in the past. Contemporary, buzzing nightlife and epicurean culture give Madrid the ultimate modern, cosmopolitan European vibe. Hemingway spoke of Madrid as the golden metropolis of nonstop action:

Madrid offers the perfect introduction to Spanish life and culture. It’s where Ronda ventures out of her comfort zone, meets Vidal, and leaves her everyday life oceans away.

As I ride the bus through the streets of Madrid, along the elegant boulevards and past the expansive manicured parks, the pleasant smell of freshly cut grass fills the air. Madrid is vast and beautiful, three times the size of my hometown in Texas. As the bus winds through the streets, I think, My dream trip! I’m actually here! This will not be just a trip to Spain. It’ll be an incredible journey.

–Ronda, Two Weeks in Spain

Though it’s just the first of several magical Spanish destinations Ronda will visit on her journey, it forever remains one of the most memorable for her. Madrid is also home to Vidal’s family, so he’s familiar with all the best restaurants, parks, and lunch spots the city has to offer.

Check back in a few days for a look at more of the Spanish destinations Ronda has grown to love! We’ll be making stops along with her at each step of the adventure.


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