18 May 2022

Madrid

Cities Big and Small

Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

We popped by Madrid for a couple days.

We both liked Madrid much more than we expected! I’m not sure why we thought we wouldn’t like it—big, not near water, likely huge swarms of tourists. But it turned out to be:

  • Big in a good way: bustling with new restaurants and shops, and large enough to handle the volume of tourists. It didn’t feel over-crowded.

  • Pleasantly laid out, in kind of Washington, D.C. × NYC way: big avenues and long parks, but also densely packed districts.

Despite a metro system, we ended up walking everywhere.

Big & Small

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I was expecting to finally be able to dial in my taste: do I prefer big cities or small towns?

I’m coming to realize that I don’t prefer one exclusively, but like bouncing between them. When I get to a small town from a big one (or vice versa), I’m excited by the spaciousness (or density), variety (or simplicity), infrastructure (or quiet).

In a way this is good, but I’m jealous of people who can say, "oh, I could only live in a place like X" and seem to know it.

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