My impressions of Madrid, having been here for five days now, are very positive. Madrid seems like a very underrated city. It never really seems to get mentioned as a top-tier European city, but I think I like it better than the other Western European cities I have visited for more than a couple days (which admittedly, is a very short list: London, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona). Cost of living also seems a bit lower here.
The train system seems quite good and taxis seem to be cheaper than most of Western Europe (flagfall is just E2.20). We've also never spent more than 3 minutes waiting for a cab. The centre seems very walkable.
It's probably a bit below average for scenery, not being a coastal town, but the parks seem okay. There is some pretty cool older architecture, in some part due I guess to Spain's non-participation in WW2.
There are a lot of panhandlers. The majority are non-aggressive (simply posting signs while sleeping on the street) but because there are so many of them, the aggressive minority means you are bothered quite frequently. If you are eating outdoors on a big street you are seemingly a favourite to be approached for money.
Late at night there are also a lot of prostitutes, or at least this was the case last Saturday night. Some Russian hooker grabbed my junk as our large group of Canuck jersey-wearing tourists were returning to the hotel. (Speaking of the Canucks, watching American sports in this time zone is one thing that absolutely sucks.)
The girls are very attractive. Probably even better than Vancouver. I'm not entirely sure if it's ratio or volume. Everyone walks around here, so the really hot girls are a lot more visible.
I've yet to find a really great restaurant here, though we've been enjoying the cured ham pretty much everywhere. Suggestions welcome. (On this topic, if you are ever in San Remo for EPT or anything else, eat at Mare Blu. Dan and I ate there every day that it was open.)
One of the best pleasant surprises: I went to a store to buy some bottled water. I asked what time they close. The answer was 3am. Love that. I also like that because Madrid is on CET but almost as far west as Europe gets, the sun is still out at 9pm in May.
As for me, I hosed the tournament, obviously. Am considering side events but I've been working out with ElkY (who has a Muay Thai fight later this year against Lex Veldhuis) and his trainer, so that has been more fun than side events. Might play the SCOOP turbo at 11pm tonight depending what time I get back from dinner and whether the PokerCast team has anything going on.
- (partial) Madrid trip report