Walking Around Madrid

Virtual visits in the era of Covid

Here in the United States, those of us who have been following guidance from the CDC have been mostly quarantined for almost a year now. Sure, we go to the store and do other essential activities when we have to, but most daily interactions with others are done online now. And while the new vaccines are giving us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, most of us won’t be able to receive a Covid vaccine for probably a few months, so I don’t think I’ll be doing much traveling until maybe summer time, at the earliest. That’s my hope at least, although plans could change.

Of all the activities I miss doing, I think not traveling to new places and revisiting my favorite cities has been most damaging to my sanity and sense of freedom. While almost nobody is traveling abroad due to the pandemic, many fascinating virtual trips to the Spanish-speaking world are possible. You get a sense for what it’s like to be there, without having to leave your couch. I hope that this post is the first of many in which I share virtual visits to the Spanish-speaking world.

Recently, a friend on Facebook shared a page that compiles videos of walks (and drives) taken through well-known cities. I would be a little embarrassed to admit how much time I spent on this page. Afterwards, I thought about why I enjoyed it so much. I think it’s because walking is the most interesting way for me to get to know a new place. Maybe if I was only going to spend a few hours somewhere, I would try one of those tourist buses that takes you all around the city, allowing you to hop on and off as you please. However, I always try to spend at least a few days in a city, getting to know it little by little. I love walking around, having all of my senses immersed in the new environment.

When I went to Madrid, Spain for the first time as a college student, on my first night there, my new roommate, Brian, and I spent several hours getting to know our new neighborhood. We left after a generous siesta, still pretty jet lagged. It was already dark on this winter evening, and we didn’t have a map or any real sense for where we going; this was back in 1998, when none of us had cell phones. I was pleased to learn that we were living quite close to the Santiago Bernabéu soccer stadium, where my favorite team, Real Madrid, plays. Eventually we got so lost that we just decided to turn around and walk our whole route in reverse, making our trip super long, even though it would’ve been short had we known where we were going. Throughout those six months in Madrid, I took daily (and nightly) walks around Madrid. I remember my last walk around Madrid, visiting my favorite neighborhoods, as being so very sad. Watching the below videos of walks through Madrid and Barcelona brought back a lot of memories for me. Although the experiences don’t really compare to what it’s like to really be there, they’re able to deceive me for a short time, at least. I share them below for anyone who may be interested. Visit citywalks.live or YouTube for more virtual walks through other cities.

Are you an avid walker? What cities do you enjoy walking? Let us know about it in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on your favorite social media. ¡Gracias!

Madrid in daytime
Barcelona in daytime

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on your favorite social media. ¡Gracias!


2 thoughts on “Walking Around Madrid

  1. Getting lost through wandering the narrow streets of foreign towns is an adventure and pilgrimage unto itself, especially when done with friends. I spent three days wandering Cuenca during Holy Week and will never forget the many adventures and sights seen. Thanks for the nudge to keep wandering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Brian! I had forgotten that you went to Cuenca. I just looked at some pictures of that town. It’s quite stunning. There’s no shortage of beautiful towns in Spain, but there is a shortage of time to see them all, unfortunately.


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