Category: Madrid

Madrid: Day Four & Date #2

October 11th, 2010 — 5:28pm

On my last day in Madrid, I enjoyed a second date with adorable Spanish bachelor Victor, 32.

Taking advantage of the glorious summer weather, we had a round of drinks outside, talking about differences between sports in the US and Spain, and falling into the easy banter of our first date a few days before.

For a late afternoon lunch, we headed over to Mano A Mano — one of Victor’s favorites for paella. I had the gastronomic pleasure of discovering why as we shared a heavenly paella with lobster.

Lobster Paella at Mano A Mano: In a word, delicioso!

As we lingered over it and a bottle of wine, Victor said sweetly how much he had enjoyed spending time with me, a sentiment I echoed. He invited me to join him and a few friends at a bar to watch a Spanish soccer match.

Though it was fun witnessing first hand the fiery local passion for soccer (and hearing plenty of cursing en Español), I could feel the effect of six weeks of travel catching up with me. In other words, I was exhausted from making small talk with strangers.

Me At Retiro Park: Madrid’s main park is stunning

So, after kissing Victor — only on the cheek, unfortunately — goodbye, I made my way over to Madrid’s stunning Retiro Park. It seemed a fitting place to wind down the final day of my European Dating Blitz, taking in the local crowds at sunset and reflecting on where my journey had led me.

Much like the first blitz, I found myself thankful for the adventure and all that I had learned about what it’s like to be single outside of New York. Only this time, I was going home with a renewed appreciation for my hometown — and a readiness to take a little breather from dating.

Of course, like the cliché goes, it’s when you’re not looking that interesting people tend to cross your path. Coming up…the full scoop about unexpected flirting since I got home and a second encounter with one of the best bachelors from my first Dating Blitz!

| Madrid, second dates, The European Dating Blitz

Madrid: Day Three

October 9th, 2010 — 7:39pm

Day three in Madrid brought with it more glorious sunshine, and the opportunity to explore the Prado Museum.

In Madrid: Me at the Prado Museum

After taking in some of the masterpieces by Spain’s greatest artists, I completed the sightseeing bus tour loop around town then headed back to Hotel Opera to get ready for a girls night out.

Girls Night Out In Madrid: (from left) Annabel, Carmen, Ajo and me

Joining in the fun — US expat and single gal Annabel, 32, (who had set me up with adorable Madrid bachelor Victor) and her bachelorette friends Ajo, 41 and Carmen, 30.

We grabbed an outdoor table at Lamucca restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious Serrano ham and cheese pizza that was the best of my European adventure, not to mention one of the best I’ve ever had period. Yum.

Both Annabel and Ajo echoed what Victor had told me about a date not being considered one and online dating being a last resort.

“It’s popular in the US because you have a dating culture,” Ajo said. “Here we don’t even date.”

They also talked about wage discrimination against single women in Spain.

“The worst part about being single here is in your job, they think you don’t need anything,” Ajo said.

“That you don’t need a good salary,” Annabel chimed in.

Much like other European cities such as Paris and London, Madrid doesn’t really have casual dating. There’s either hooking up right away or–

“Suddenly it goes from nothing to you’re boyfriend and girlfriend. It’s very intense,” Annabel said.

Annabel said she has more male friends in relationships than female friends. As she spoke of how her girlfriends are all great catches (“smart, responsible, non-diva types”) and being mystified that they’re single, I knew exactly what she meant. Because that’s the way I feel about my galpals in New York.

Carmen has found that men have become much more forward over the last several years.

“The proper date has disappeared,” she said. “You kiss and then they ask ‘are you taking the pill or do you have a condom?’ Those are the times I miss being asked ‘are you studying or working?’”

When it comes to going out alone, the girls say you might do it for a quick drink after work — but nothing more than that.

“You might go out to read a newspaper, but not to start a conversation,” Ajo said.

“That doesn’t happen here,” Annabel agreed. “People don’t go to bars by themselves, not to the extent that they do in New York.”

The best part of being unattached in Madrid? People are very sociable, and there’s not much pressure to settle down. Ajo is the only one of her siblings who is still single — but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Everybody who is married wants to be single,” she said.

“It’s better to be alone than to be badly accompanied,” Annabel said.

Amen to that.

| Girls Night Out, Madrid, The European Dating Blitz

Madrid: Day Two And Date #1

October 8th, 2010 — 3:18pm

On my second day in Madrid, I strolled over to Puerta del Sol, where I picked up a sightseeing bus that gave me a great introduction to the beauty of Spain’s capital city.

As I enjoyed the views from up top, I couldn’t help noticing that posters for “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie seemed to be on every other block. I found myself thinking that, though my international journey hadn’t produced anyone remotely resembling Javier Bardem, I had enjoyed almost every moment of it. And I was excited to meet my Madrid date — radio journalist Victor, 32.

Exceedingly smart, well read and adorable, Victor charmed me right away by talking seamlessly in both Spanish and English.

Over cerveza at a cozy bar in Madrid’s Lavapies district and then a delicious dinner (where I discovered I love black pudding, and rediscovered my love of flan), Victor shared his take on how dating in Spain is different from NYC.

For one thing, there really is no such as a date. Victor was adamant in an endearing way about how I was his first-ever date, saying the Spanish don’t call it that. Social networks are so strong in Spain that people meet in groups and, for the most part, see no need to use Internet dating.

Over after-dinner drinks, the talk turned to politics. When Victor started talking about American imperialism, I could feel myself growing uneasy, tired at this stage of my travels of being put on the spot about US foreign policy. I think there’s something to be said for the no politics or religion rule about conversation on a first date.

Still, I truly enjoyed Victor’s company. And I was happy when he said he was free over the weekend and would love to get together again. So that’s exactly what ended up happening.

| first date ettiquette, first dates, Madrid, The European Dating Blitz

Madrid: Day One

October 6th, 2010 — 5:25pm

My first afternoon in Madrid found me sleepy from an early-morning flight. After settling into Hotel Opera, I decided to rest up so I would look fresh and fabulous for my evening with old flame Fabian.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Fabian and I hadn’t seen each other since a romantic encounter nearly 15 years ago in New York. Since then, we’ve remained in touch as friends, and Fabian is now married with three kids.

We met up in the hotel lobby and my first thought was that the years have been kind to Fabian and he still looked handsome and fit. It didn’t take much time for us to fall into the easy conversation that only happens when you have a long history with someone.

While we walked past Madrid’s Palacio real and Plaza Mayor, I was saddened to learn that Fabian’s father passed away in January. This led to us talking about what it’s like to lose a parent, which we continued to reflect on over tapas at Lateral restaurant.

Lateral: This Madrid restaurant chain serves up delicious tapas

“You don’t have a safety net anymore,” Fabian said knowingly of me no longer having either of my parents.

“Exactly,” I said.

Fabian spoke with great affection about my mom and dad, having met them both during his December ‘95 visit to NYC. It meant a lot to reminisce with him, especially since most of my friends at home never knew them.

We eventually moved on to the subject of relationships and the search for lasting love. Curious about Single Gal In The City, Fabian asked if I wanted to stay single and was only looking for blog material — a question that reminded me of the downside to publicly sharing dating adventures.

He also admitted to becoming more intolerant over the years and wondered if I have too, and it’s hindered me in finding Mr. Right. I admitted that I think the opposite is true, and I’ve tried to avoid the trap of being inflexible that tends to accompany thirtysomething singlehood.

After dinner, we headed over to La Terraza, a cozy rooftop bar at Hotel Urban. I was struck by how easy it felt to be with Fabian again, how it didn’t seem that 15 years had passed since we’d last seen each other. I felt thankful that our friendship has endured, and to have reconnected with him and all of the other important people from my stint as a London university student.

Coming up…the details about my London return and a preview of SingleEdition’s upcoming event!

| catching up with old flames, Madrid, The European Dating Blitz

Mystery Destination Revealed

September 22nd, 2010 — 10:37am

I’m happy to finally reveal the final stop on my European Dating Blitz — Madrid! As I write this, I’ve just arrived in Spain’s beautiful capital city, to my room at the centrally located Hotel Opera.

Many people have asked why I chose Madrid over Barcelona. Of both cities, Barcelona is definitely the one I’ve heard more about. But the art lover in me couldn’t help selecting Madrid, and neither could the sentimental part of me. One of my favorite old flames and longtime friends, Fabian, happens to reside here.

Coming up…how a date in Rome both confirmed and refuted stereotypes about Italian men and a return to my favorite European destination, London!

| catching up with old flames, Madrid, The European Dating Blitz

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