Today, my friend Christy and I had some free time outside of classes so we decided to explore the area north and south ICADE a little bit. We were trying to find some cool, non-touristy places to hang out and just find a place to eat lunch and pass the time. Aimlessly wandering around hasn’t proved an easy way to find such places thus far, so we tried to take a different approach: the Internet.
Obviously anything that’s on a website won’t be completely off the beaten track, but we were okay with that. One cool site we found is “Spotted by Locals“, a series of city guides set up as mini-blogs with user-submitted “insider tips” allegedly from city residents. We came across their article for Mür Café and it met all of our criteria: near ICADE, where I had class that afternoon, at a Metro station easily accessible from home and the AU Study Center, and a place with a personality that would be fun to hang out in. The fact that they apparently had really good Oreo cheesecake and carrot cake was just a bonus.
Though it turned out to be a little expensive, we definitely enjoyed Mür Café. The food wasn’t as amazing as the article described, but the laid-back, almost hole-in-the-wall atmosphere made up for it. The service was good and, better yet, they seem to be open for almost every meal period, acting as a breakfast joint, a chill daytime café, and even a cocktail bar come evening. Needless to say, we definitely liked it and will be adding it to our list of places to go back to again.
After finishing up at the café, we went to the Plaza de España where we just chilled and ate our lunch outside. Quite a few people had the same idea, despite all of the pigeons flying around in the area and it being a bit of a chilly day. Christy also told me should found another place nearby called J & J Books and Coffee that was a little bit hipster, like Mür, and had a “leave a book, take a book” library downstairs. Another place to check out! I dropped Christy off at a nearby Starbucks with comfortable chairs and then went to class.
After I got out of class, we didn’t really feel like going home yet, so we just wandered around more. One place that we’d been wanting to check out is Ciudad Univeristaria, home to the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the top universities in Spain with a sprawling campus and student population of around 86,000. I’d heard that this is an area where a lot of college students live and it’s not very from ICADE. We saw tons of students on our walk, which was definitely a good sign, though we think most were going to and from class. One of things that’s really been missing from our study abroad experience so far is getting to know real Spanish people our age. We’re definitely going to try to go back to that area another time during the weekend to see if we can find any popular spots. All in all, our exploring turned out to be pretty successful!