Even though you purchased them, you cannot take glass water bottles with you. Everyone will get mad.
That’s right, folks. Not only do you have to pay €2-3 for your bottle of water, but you have to give the bottle back. This is precisely why I always order wine.
Spain Lesson 2:
Cheap restaurants like 100 Montaditos, Lizarrán, and La Sureña are the poor man’s (or woman’s) friend. Want to drink a huge mug of tinto de verano for €1.50? (Or €1 on Wednesdays/Sundays?) 100 Montaditos is your place. Want to get 5 bottles of beer for €3? Go to La Sureña.
You can even get Chipotle-style burritos at Tierra Burrito Bar (pictured below; metros Alonso Martínez and Guzmán el Bueno) for a reasonable €6.
I like to eat, so I really like this about Madrid.
Spain Lesson 3:
All fruit you wish to purchase must be weighed by the Official Fruit-Weigher. They don’t always have scales at the cash registers, so the fruit-buying process looks like this:
- Step 1: Put on the plastic gloves that are provided for you. (You’ll know to do this because there are 30 million “POR FAVOR, USAD LAS GUANTES” signs everywhere.)
- Step 2: Pick out the fruit/vegetables you want and put them in separate bags.
- Step 3: Bring all fruit/vegetables to the Official Fruit-Weigher. He’ll weigh them and put a barcode sticker on each bag.
- Step 4: Walk away with your produce.
- Step 5: Congratulate yourself because you know how to do yet another Spain thing.
Spain Lesson 4:
Window screens are essentially nonexistent.
I really don’t understand this one, especially in a country where the windows are open all the time because barely anyone has any air conditioning. What am I supposed to do if a bird flies in? I don’t know, and I hope I don’t find out.
Spain Lesson 5:
The bus is everything. I love the Madrid metro but, because they recently turned on the heat in the tunnels, every ride is like a trip to the sun. Or the 9th Circle of Hell.
The bus is comfortable, convenient, and less crowded. It takes a little more time to figure out each route, but the results are really, really worth it.
Spain Lesson 6:
It is possible to transport large household items on the metro. This includes, but is not limited to, large paintings, end tables, and Ikea furniture.
I bought a metal fan for €5 from an auxiliar who’s moving back home, which was a great deal.
It was a less great deal, however, in that I had to use the metro to get it home. My two friends Lauren and Kaitlin kindly volunteered to help me, so the whole thing went better than expected: I did all the fan-carrying while they took photos/made me feel a lot less awkward. Fourteen stops and one transfer later, I made it home with my fan.
Spain Lesson 7:
Base any and all laundry operations on the weather. No dryer = no underwear if it rains while your clothes are out to dry.
Spain Lesson 8:
If the street/sidewalk/metro seat is wet, it’s probably pee. (Consequently: If you think it might be pee, it is. Walk away.)
Spain Lesson 9:
When at a restaurant or café, always specify the amount (we’re talking milliliters/liters here) of water that you want. Otherwise you’ll (somehow) end up with a 1.5-liter bottle of Pellegrino instead of a more modest 250 ml. I seriously think they do this on purpose so they can charge you more.
Spain Lesson 10:
Grocery bags cost money. (This one is genius, and I wish our stores would start doing the same.) Each bag costs 5-10 céntimos, and it encourages people to be more conscious of their plastic bag usage.
Spain Lesson 11:
“Me pongo caliente” ≠ “Hace calor.” Learn from my mistake, kids. These two are not the same.
I was trying to talk about how hot it was outside, but I ended up saying something closer to “I’m horny.” I was only talking to my roommates, gracias a Díos, but I still spent a good five minutes wishing I could melt into the floor.