by Jefferey Luscombe
Our trip to Spain that the Husband and I won from Rainbow High Vacations is coming up fast.
Only four months to go!
And just this week we booked our airline tickets and hotels. And though there had been much discussion over the last months between the Husband and I about which cities we would have time to visit in Spain this fall, there was one city we both immediately agreed upon – Madrid.
Now we have been to Madrid before (twice, actually) but still have only scratched the surface of all the things to see and do in this, Spain’s largest city (and the third largest city in Europe). This is especially true for LGBT.
Rarely have I wandered in a city where we, as a gay couple, have felt so welcome. And Spain has some of the most progressive LGBT laws in the world (did you know they had marriage-equality in Spain a full three weeks before equal-marriage became legal from coast-to-coast in Canada?).
We felt right at home in Madrid.
Madrid’s Chueca neighbourhood is the epicenter of LGBT life in the city. Bursting with gay bars and LGBT (and LGBT-friendly) restaurants (tapas please!) and shops it is centrally located and walking distance to many of my favourite Madrid attractions such as the Prado Museum (do NOT miss seeing Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas, Goya’s The Third of May 1808 and Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights), Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (where you can see Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica), Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol and Madrid’s main drag, the Gran Via. The Chueca is described as “a trademark for modernity, Avant-garden fashion, the latest designs, the craziest parties, delicious cuisine and excellent music and clubs.” And I certainly agree!
There is a ton of gay bars in the Chueca that cater to every taste (and I will do my best to hit them all while I’m there!). What’s your pleasure? There are dance bars, hipster bars, bear bars, lesbian bars, retro discos, 80s bars and classic Spanish taverns. And Madridians just may be the friendly folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet in gay bars – and I’ve been in gay bars all over the world!
And it is here in the Chueca where the Husband and I like to stay while in Madrid. There are many fabulous hotels in the area to choose from. We will be staying right on the Plaza Chueca. The Chueca neighbourhood also hosts Madrid Pride, which has been described as the “Best Gay Pride in the World”. This year Madrid Pride will take place between July 2nd and July 6th. The opening speech and inauguration of the festivities will take place on Wednesday, June 2nd at nine o´clock at the Chueca Square.
According to Madrid Pride, LGTB Madrid Pride is a “multiethnic and multicultural celebration open to everybody (children, teens, the elderly, neighbors and visitors from all over the world), transforming Madrid into an open Gateway to Diversity. This is the spirit in which “Orgullo, ejemplo de convivencia”(“Pride, example of coexistence”) was created, an initiative that looks to spread awareness and involvement amongst groups, businesses, organisms and organizers about the importance of MADO and it´s aim to expand respect and peaceful coexistence.”
As for saunas, I hear Madrid does have a number of them (being married I have to admit this information was gleaned off the Internet). I counted ten different saunas in Madrid: Premium Sauna, Sauna Centre, Sauna Gran Via, Sauna Octopus, Sauna Paraiso are just a few. Wow, that’s a lot of steam!
So now there isn’t much more for us to do except get on the plane since Rainbow High Vacations has done pretty much most of the work needed to set up our travel plans.
Now the Husband and I can just relax and dream of our Spanish vacation.