RECOVERING from winter melancholia, I wanted to propel through spring and indulge in a quick getaway.

After scouring through travel websites and connecting with Daniel, our adorable AirBnB host from Malasaña - we left the rhetoric and fake news in Washington DC for a brief moment to enjoy a slower pace and practice the art of siesta.

I say that in complete jest of course. Sleep is overrated. Seventy-two hours in Madrid. One can’t afford shuteye.

We landed in Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport and Uber-ed our way to Calle Andrés Borrego. Nestled in the “hip” part of Madrid as so proudly claimed by Daniel, we instantly felt at home in our digs. The house, nearing its century mark, was Architectural Digest personified! As a true Madrileño, Daniel was very warm and passionate about life, culture and food. And as Madrileños get, the welcoming neighborly backdrop extended to garments (and undergarments) so artfully displayed on terraces.

As most of our trips go, the underlying theme is always food. Daniel hooked us up with a last-minute lunch reservation at Casa Fidel. We had the classic Spanish meal trifecta: callos, pulpo ala plancha and squid with blank ink sauce (just like our grandmother used to make it). An “awww” moment for me and my aunt (and trusted travel buddy).

We walked along Calle de Floridablanca, passing by Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of Deputies). Heavily guarded, understandably so, but politics aside, it is described as “one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture”, definitely worth a visit.

Our day was winding down, but we couldn’t afford to join the rest of the city as it siesta-ed away. We came to taste, feel and see Madrid, swearing to pound the pavement and earn every morsel of paella and drop of sangria our stomachs could handle!

At the Museo Del Prado, we enjoyed most of the afternoon appreciating the art of Francisco de Goya (among others) - one of Spain’s heralded artists known for his portraits, though his work towards the latter years was dark, bordering on morose.

A hundred pictures later, we ventured back to the street trying to work up an appetite, spending a good hour walking around Parque Del Buen Retiro -Madrid’s answer to Central Park. Like the name, it’s a place of retreat, be it for locals or tourists alike. The park quietly shields you from smoke, smog, noise and all forms of pollutants.

As we zigzagged through the streets of Gran Via and perused local shops, I internally kicked myself for nonchalantly cruising through college Spanish, sounding like a fumbling tourist. Not a pretty picture. Thankfully Madrileños are very gracious hosts and will gladly converse with you in English after you start talking gibberish and gesturing like a mime when asked “Hable Español?” I’m a polite tourist. A smile and an earnest “Muchos gracias” was enough to enamor the locals.

Finally, the sun had set and the city became alive again.

Sweet smell of sangria, here we come! We Uber-ed our way to Mercado San Miguel, Madrid’s food mecca, as far as I’m concerned. It’s an indoor market and food emporium in one. When I think about Madrid - the happy place my heart goes to is where flavors are remembered and conversations with both tourists and locals are replayed. Communal tables make the market intimate. We shared a table and had amusing conversations with a couple from Paris, from Germany and some spunky ladies from Norway - imagine Dorothy and Rose in The Golden Girls! There is no language barrier when it comes to food...and wine. The market quickly became our sanctuary after a day of exploring the city. The place is packed from happy hour to the wee hours of the morning - finding seats is like winning an Olympic event. Hang on to your spot on the table, we will be here awhile.