Madrid: Imperial, Modern and Simple.
Madrid welcomes weary travelers with open arms, it's warm embrace is tender, as if it knows they are in desperate need of a hug. It is hard to describe, or more accurately categorize what Madrid is. She has worn many different suits; and like many of us, holds with nostalgia to each of the pieces that at one time meant something to her.
She is both imperial, and modern, simple and aged. Her people reflect on her; they are warm, with an air of sophistication and also tender simplicity that can only be described as innocence. Yet, they've known the hardship that the age of Franco brought.
Perfect strangers offer their best advice and if reacquainted check on as they would do their little brother. Madrid's streets are both buzzing with sounds, and quiet with serenity residing in every cafe and restaurant. At every turn, narrow cobbled streets are laddered with balconies were neighbors could touch by hand if they reached between them.
Even though the effects of culture washing globalization were palpable. It appeared that only the most prominent streets have been sieged by the same reason Madrid is once again a glistening mirage under the sun. While the storefronts of Gran Via reek of cheap consumerism; all is needed is to look up. In between the clear blue sky, Madrid reminds travelers she is just playing a part for a price.
Like any other state capital in Europe, she is the Grand Dame of the country. Its most opulent representation as most republics in Europe run inward to the center. Madrid is the capital of Spain, a diverse country of distinct nations, however, the city itself has a unique Saxon feel, it is distinct, and one none of their other provinces hold. So, it becomes apparent that Madrid is impregnated by the Austrian alliances that for generations weaved between the royal families of both empires.
Despite having one of the most effective public transport systems; Madrid is incredibly walkable, having the majority of its sights carefully land mined around the city center. The center, receives extra care and grooming; like the face worn by a host that welcomes you into her home.
Madrid is not shy on indulgences, and as a well-traveled host, showcases many of the spoils found along the journeys. There is something from everywhere for everyone; Russian restaurants sit next to chocolaterias (traditional chocolate and churros locales). It is full of every modern convenience and morbidly subsidized by a state that favors it as the favorite child.
The city carefully guards and relishes her spoils, and even though the days of excess and waste are behind it. What remains, is a curated collection of only the best that was worth/able to preserve. Travelers are encouraged to take their time, be careful, and grateful. Madrid will reward with breezes, and beautiful sights at every turn in return for that respect.