I’ve made no secret of my passion for all things Spanish – weather, food, men… To this end I do try and pop over there at least a few times per year to get my fix. Now while Barcleona and Sitges do hold a special place in my heart – not to mention groin – I do find myself far fonder of Madrid. Indeed the only thing missing from this charming city is a beach – well one can’t have everything after all.
Madrid would have to be, without doubt, one of the most gay-friendly cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Even on a regular weekend one can regard numerous boys strolling about hand in hand with nary a care in the world and not a concerned onlooker to be seen.
Then there is the madness that is Gay Pride – so welcoming it borders on ridiculous. There are gays for days and an overwhelming feeling of love, support and pride to be found everywhere. It reminds me of what Sydney used to be like for Mardi Gras, with the place practically drowning in rainbow flags and a palpable excitement all over the city in the days leading up to the grand event. Fabulous, simply fabulous!
It is a very walkable city and rather easy to navigate, although there is an abundance of friendly locals to put you back on the right path if you happen to get waylaid. There is so much to discover, such as the amazing El Retiro Park in the middle of the city, a veritable wonderland of botanic beauty. Perfect for an afternoon siesta in the sun, as the sheer size keeps one sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city. In fact the last time we were there we encountered some sort of hippy cult drum circle with soothing chanting and perhaps a virgin sacrifice, I don’t really remember but they did seem nice.
If it’s tasty treats you’re after then go no further than the enclosed market Mercado de San Miguel. Where one just meanders around from stall to stall partaking of the wares on offer – wine, cheese, croquettes, mini-hamburgers, olives, patisseries…the list goes on and on. Honestly, each time we visited we gorged ourselves until we were fit to burst. Take note that after a few generously sized glasses of wine all these cheap little snack purchases can end up leaving your wallet quite a bit lighter.
Then there is the shopping which is just a flurry of colour and bargains. I’ve always found the customer service there to be pretty wonderful, particularly in the gay area. I believe the climate has the most agreeable side effect of making the people ever so relaxed and pleasant to be around. For those seeking the more intimate company of some stunning Spaniards, one can find all manner of obliging lads at the Strong Centre and Sauna Paraiso.
Tempted yet? Book your trip today! The gorgeous weather, delicious food, free flowing alcohol and the ever so hospitable hot locals – my word aren’t they friendly – what’s not to love?