El Retiro, Madrid, Spain.

My love for Spain, specifically Madrid, hasn’t wavered over the six years since I studied abroad there. I’m drawn to passionate and fiery cultures and Madrid is the epitome of that combination. The trip I took a month ago reaffirmed my love for this country. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to hop around Europe and see some of the places I’ve already been and some of the places on my go-to list. I knew Madrid was somewhere I needed to experience again, minus the MTV Real World-like situation with my seven American roommates. Honestly, I was worried I would go back and ruin the way I remembered it but actually I couldn’t have been happier to be there, whether it was a party of one or a party of eight. I spent the first two days with friends from London and the last two days on my own, retracing my footsteps from 2007. I took this picture on a row boat in El Retiro park, where I spent an hour thinking about my state of extreme happiness. The row boat was something I never got around to back then, and was one of my favorite parts from the trip this time around.

My friends and I arrived into Madrid late on Thursday and quickly got ready for dinner, because as my favorite city in the world, dinner can never be too late. We had a midnight meal at Ramses, a +Starck production in Puerta de Alcala. We then headed down the street to Gabana 1800 which came highly recommended. We then proceeded to dance the night away. Friday I took off by myself and had a late lunch at Lateral on Velazquez, filled with espresso, jamon, and croquettes. The only thing missing was a glass of Rioja, but there was plenty of time for that later. The rest of the day involved a lot of walking with my head up in amazement of the beautiful architecture. That night we had drinks at the Hotel ME in Plaza Santa Ana, dinner at Lateral (yes, twice in one day), and did some more dancing at Macadamia Graf. The next morning my friends miraculously caught their flights and I spent the rest of the weekend trying to figure out how I could move back, stat. My weekend with Madrid was nothing short of magic.