The Expat Files: Dan in Madrid

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things to do in madrid

Who has the best advice for traveling and visiting new cities? The people I always turn to are the ones who have lived there or spent extensive time there. I love insightful and local tips for destinations, how about you? This week on the Expat Files, we are heading back to Madrid to hear what insight Dan T Man has got for us about the stunning Spanish capital and his list of things to do in Madrid.

1. Describe Spain in 3 words

Lovely, Lively, Leisurely

2. What’s your favorite food in Madrid and where’s the best place to find it

I’m a huge fan of Indian food and it is really special to live near C/ Lavapies and be able to walk down and be bombarded by the delicious smells. Three nights a week I give the daughter of the owner of “Anarkoli” clases particulares in exchange for being fed as much as I can eat. We’ve had this arrangement since September and you’d think that I would get tired of eating Indian food so frequently but my fondness remains quite strong!

things to do in madrid

3. What do you think is the most beautiful spot in Madrid? Where’s the best view?

I love Plaza de España and the Templo de Debod. The view of the city and its surrounding landscapes from the back of the Templo de Debod park is quite gorgeous.

 4. How did you end up in Madrid? What made you decide to move to Spain? 

I fell in love with Madrid when I first visited in 2008, the summer before my freshman year of college. Teaching english abroad seemed like a very practical application of my recent literature studies degree and I was beyond thrilled when I was accepted to the BEDA Program, where many of the placements are in central Madrid. Living in Spain has allowed me to meet many fascinating people and learn a lot about myself and the world around me. In August I was able to briefly visit a handful of Andalusian cities as I made my way down to Morocco, which I have always been obsessed with. This trip was very rewarding. Tomorrow I am going to Budapest, which I am also beyond excited about. Madrid is perfectly located geographically because it makes adventures both domestic and international extremely accessible.  Traveling and personal goals aside, it’s also very rewarding to be teaching English and seeing constant improvement in my adorable students.

things to do in madrid

5. Name one thing to do or see in Madrid that is not in any guidebook

This is a tough question considering that Madrid is pretty well covered by guide books. I strongly recommend the Tuesday night Carmencita Bar Intercambio for new expats who are not yet fluent in Spanish. Language exchanges are the best way to practice the adopted tongue of Spanish while simultaneously meeting cool new people and helping them practice their English. The Carmencita Bar is the perfect venue for these gatherings because it is popular with both Spanish people and members of the expat community alike.

6. What’s one thing you dislike about living in Madrid

I live in La Latina and sometimes I forget that the Rastro sets up shop outside my doorstep and I foolishly step outside and am forced to retreat back into my lair. Crowds make me nervous so I try to stay home on Sundays and just sleep through it. 

7. Have you ever had a funny cultural mishap or misunderstanding in Spain

A confused Spanish woman recently asked me to explain “the Contest” episode of Seinfeld to her, which I tried to do in the most politically correct way possible. Also in general the quality of my Spanish just gets worse when I speak to pretty girls, which are in abundance here.

Be sure to keep up with Dan’s adventures in Spain on his blog, The Expatriate Adventures of Dan T Man

things to do in madrid

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6 Comments on “The Expat Files: Dan in Madrid

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  1. I just can’t get enough of the information that I read right now. Madrid is simply amazing place for every people that wants pleasure and and great travel experience.

  2. Very nice series. I am a Brit living in Mallorca for over 10 years so this series is particularly interesting for me. If you would like to know about the trials and tribulations of dealing with the Mallorquines and their language, feel free to contact me… 😉

  3. I was in Madrid, last February with my family. We stayed around the corner from Carmencita. The food was very god and reasonable. The owners were kind too. If you are ever in Madrid, make sure you check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

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