Madrid, Spain, strikes a balance between constant, almost chaotic motion and uncompromising leisure. Madrilenos, as Madrid's residents are called, seem always to be on the go, except when they're taking long breaks to eat, drink and enjoy life. The competing urges to move or sit for hours are cleverly reconciled in the Madrid institution known as ir de tapas, which entails leisurely hopping from one tapas bar to the next.
As a visitor to Madrid, you'll invariably be drawn into the city's stream of movement as you rush to see one more art collection, taste Castilian, Basque or Galician dishes at neighborhood restaurants, or buy tickets for an evening performance. But take a cue from Madrilenos and incorporate some quiet time into your hectic schedule: People-watch at a terrace cafe, study the mystical quality in El Greco's paintings, savor the subtle hint of saffron in a dish, and appreciate the mournful beauty of flamenco. Take a deep breath, then move on to the next stop.
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