Madrid Arrival: First Impressions

We made it to our first stop in Spain today, the city of Madrid. The day started out on a good note with both our trains arriving on time and O’Hare Airport looking like the below when we got there. I’ve never seen it so empty.

We skated through check-in and security in minutes.

Maybe it is true that Tuesdays are one of the best days to fly. The ticket agent didn’t seem to think that is the case, but if today is any indication I’d have to disagree. 

Our good luck continued when we boarded the plane. We found ourselves with two aisle seats and no one in between.

It was our first time flying with Iberia Airlines. It’s probably the least impressive international flight we’ve taken. The food was okay with one meal for dinner and one for breakfast in the morning. Nothing is included on domestic flights these days so we have a hard time not getting wine or beer with our meals.

Iberia hands out a blanket and pillow but no swag bag. I missed having the eye mask and footies in-flight and the travel toothbrush for when we landed.

Unfortunately, neither of us were able to sleep on the plane. We arrived in Spain at 7:30 am and the goal is to stay awake till tonight to conquer jetlag.

Madrid First Impressions

We spent the afternoon wandering around Madrid and had some first impressions. As with most major cities, it is busy. But even though there are many people on the streets looking like they are heading off to work, no one seems to be in a hurry.

I think our fast-paced walk highlights us as tourists for sure.


Being in the capital of Spain, I expected English to be widely spoken. From what we can tell that does not necessarily seem to be the case.

Not a problem though. We were given an English and Spanish menu at lunch which was helpful. And the common words and phrases we’ve been learning have come in handy.

RELATED: Hiking the Camino de Santiago

It's the first day of our big 90 day adventure visiting Spain and Portugal. Read here to find our Madrid first impressions.
Wine is the same cost as water. Guess I’ll be drinking a lot of wine!

Buen Retiro Park

Another thing we noticed is that even though Madrid is a bustling city, it values green spaces and parks. We spent the afternoon strolling through the gorgeous Buen Retiro Park. Take a look!

We can’t wait to explore the rest of the city! Now it’s time for sleep.

Buenas Noches! (Goodnight)

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

4 Responses

  1. Luis Mena

    My wife and I are going to Spain next year (April 2018) to walk the Camino de Santiago, so we are very interested in your Spain trip. After our Camino trek, we plan on spending some time in Madrid.

    • Dang Travelers

      That sounds great Luis! Thanks for following along. We leave to start the Camino hike after Madrid then will do some road tripping. Hopefully we can give you some great tips as we go along.

  2. Ted Jias

    just like my last reply, our trip to Spain was way back in the 70’s. cant even remember the hotel we stayed in. did get to see a lot of the country. went to Toledo which was amazing. saw some cathedrals that were out of this world. one with a solid gold altar.
    Have fun
    Ted J.

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