Madrid

“De Madrid al cielo” is a Spanish proverb that visitors of Madrid often hear when first arriving in the capital, the likes of which translates to ‘from Madrid to heaven.’ The saying implies that after leaving Madrid, there is nowhere else to visit except heaven since only a celestial paradise can compare to the beauty of the Spanish capital.

As the third largest city in the European Union, Madrid has been the cultural and political center of Spain since Phillip II moved the seat of government there from Toledo in 1561. The architecture is a combination of an older Madrid, such as the rows of spiked battlements that line the Palacio de Comunicaciones and the newer Madrid, with reflections of a glaring sun off the black glass of modern skyscrapers like Torre Espacio and Torre Caja Repsol Tower. The diversity of the architecture can only be rivaled by the variety of experiences the city has to offer. From bull fights, futbol matches and venues of exciting night life to operas, museums and wine bars, Madrid leaves little to be desired and is a thorough representation of Spanish culture.

Whether traveling alone or with a group, it’s easy to lose yourself in the captivating atmosphere of such a refined city. But upon finding yourself and realizing that the time to depart has arrived, look to the sky and remember: “De Madrid al cielo.”

Madrid ceramic shop sells pieces from across Spain

Share In Madrid, Paco, Eduardo, and their mother Emilia Anta work at Ceramica Cantaro. The shelves are filled with plates, bowls, wine stoppers, magnets, holy water benditeras, bulls, pots, tile letters and even kitchen sinks.  On a high shelf in the corner is the symbol of the store: the cantaro, a traditional jug that holds…

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Madrid home to largest bullring in Spain

Share Regarded as the home of bullfighting in Spain, Plaza de Toros de las Ventas is the country’s largest bullring. Situated in the Salamanca district east of Madrid’s city center, Las Ventas has a seating capacity of 25,000, making it an exciting venue for those looking to experience their first bullfight. The history of modern…

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Save money abroad with these grocery store favorites

Share By Erin Armstrong, Tara Bullock, Courtney Davies and Anna Rae Gwarjanski When traveling abroad for weeks at a time, it can be economical to pick up snacks and even meals at a local grocery store. After visiting grocery stores in Spain and Portugal, these are a few of our favorite snacks. Portuguese Milanos –…

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Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Crema Catalana

Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Crema Catalana

Share My latest recipe attempt, crema catalana, is the Spanish version of crème brûlée. In fact, the French and Spanish dispute over which country invented it first. It is generally made for Saint Joseph’s Day (the Spanish equivalent to Father’s Day) on March 19, and is also known as crema de Sant Josep. Making crema…

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What every college student should do on a trip to Spain

What every college student should do on a trip to Spain

Share Emilee Anderson fondly remembers relaxing with close friends on the terrace outside of a small pizzeria atop Escorial, a mountain that overlooks Madrid, Spain, and watching the colors of the sunset illuminate the sky. Anderson, a University of Alabama student majoring in international business and minoring in Spanish, studied abroad at the Real Universidad…

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Hemingway’s legacy lives on at world’s oldest restaurant

Hemingway’s legacy lives on at world’s oldest restaurant

Share Ernest Hemingway had a lifelong love affair with Spain. He wrote multiple books on the country, including his first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” and his non-fiction manifesto, “Death in the Afternoon.” In these works, Hemingway references his favorite restaurant, and also the oldest in Spain, Sobrino de Botin. The final scene of Hemingway’s…

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Epiphany offers a local re-creation of Spanish tapas

Epiphany offers a local re-creation of Spanish tapas

Share Whether grabbing a drink with friends or spending a romantic evening over a four-course meal, Epiphany Café features a range of dishes for small and large appetites. A rarity in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Epiphany offers a variety of small plates, similar to tapas, which are common in Spanish culture. Traditionally tapas are often accompanied by…

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Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Gazpacho

Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Gazpacho

Share For this week’s food blog, I made gazpacho. This has by far been the simplest dish, but simple does not take away from taste. Gazpacho is a tomato-based soup served chilled. It is widely served in Spain, particularly in Andalusia, as well as neighboring Portugal. Since the soup is known to be revitalizing, it…

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How to pack for a Spanish vacation

Share Planning European vacations takes a lot of preparation. Once the airline tickets have been booked, hotel rooms are reserved, and the activities are planned, travelers can just about see the silver lining, but one crucial obstacle still lies ahead: the dreaded task of packing. Packing for a vacation should not consist of mindlessly throwing…

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Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Hummus

Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home: Hummus

Share When most people think of hummus, they think of the Middle East but because of the Middle East’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, hummus actually has many Mediterranean influences. Many people are unaware that Spanish food is considered Mediterranean. For my blog this week, I will be making Spanish-style hummus. I based my recipe…

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