After over 5 years in Madrid and finally getting a visa, I started feeling like and acting more like a local. After a while of living in Madrid, you just start to know the city deeply and intimately. You start to go native. And, you start to get the feeling that you’ve been living in Madrid way too long.
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If you’ve made the brave move to the Spanish capital….
Here are a few signs that you’ve been here waaaaay too long.
Photo source: Mandy Lutman
1. You complain about the public transportation in other cities
Let’s face it: in Madrid, we have the best public transportation in the world. That’s why, after living in here for a while, the metro and bus systems of all other cities look plain awful. I’m looking at you, New York City MTA. No pizza rats in Madrid and you get some live music on your daily commute. And find me another city that lets you take a metro directly to the airport!
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2. It was never really Vodafone Sol
Like most people in Madrid, I never warmed up to the renaming of Sol as “Vodafone Sol”. It is and always will be Sol. As the central meeting point in the city, it belongs to everyone. Are you listening, Vodafone?
3.You avoid Primark on Gran Via at all costs
WHY?! WHY DOES THIS EXIST?! It is perpetually packed with people. Who can even breathe or move inside of that place? It’s a real life model of Dante’s Inferno. The weekend it opened, it had a queue of people down the block. Still happens occassionally.
4. Botellón in the Retiro is a way of life
Having a hard time deciding what to do for the day? A picnic with plenty of wine in Retiro is always a great go-to plan with friends when you can’t think of anything else. The good part is, this is always a doable scenario – we <3 Madrid weather!
5. You never put your phone down on a table
If you’ve lived in Madrid long enough, you know to guard your phone with your life. You probably even stand up at restaurants or terrace bars to gently warn tourists to keep their iPhone in their lap. In Madrid, we know that it’ll be stolen before you can say “caña”. The same goes for carrying any kinds of bags – zipper turned to the front and always keep one hand on your bag.
6. You roll your eyes at “is Madrid safe?”
Apart from the phone thefts, anyone who has lived in Madrid for any length of time can tell you that it’s generally one of the safest cities in the world. I definitely have, uh, a friend who would walk home alone from parties problem-free at 4am through the city center. You can’t do that in any other city in the world!
7. Cristiano Ronaldo is always around
He is Madrid’s Woody Allen, in that he most definitely wants to be out with us commoners and recognized. If you stay long enough, you’re sure to have a sighting.
8. The goat on Plaza Mayor is the worst
Everytime someone suggests meeting up at Plaza Mayor, you try to convince them otherwise. You know you’ll have to face the annoying goat one more time. WHY DOES IT EXIST? (it even has its own Yelp page).
9. You speak of “Madrid’s regular characters” with great fondness
From ‘Los heavies de la Gran Vía‘ to the white cowboy Christmas guy, and plenty of street performers that make walking through central parts of the city an adventure (and an entertainment) – they all become a part of your Madrid experience. Don’t worry if people don’t understand your love for these characters – it’s a Madrid thing.
10.You have a love-hate relationship with the city
The summer heat. Crowded buses. Malasaña being too touristy. Regularly getting away for the weekend to stay sane. For all the problems or complaints us long-term residents have about this city, we keep hanging around – no idea why.
Madrid is just that sort of amazing place you never want to leave.
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