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The capital of Spain is a very Cosmopolitan city where people come from all over the world. Few people living in Madrid actually come from the capital. Those whose both parents were born in Madrid are called ‘Gatos’. Madrid counts with 3,2 million inhabitants.

Foreigners counted in Madrid are 1,079944, one of six inhabitant, (5,747734 in Spain) among them: from France: 17,861; from Portugal: 17,522; from Germany: 10,608; Italy: 26,831; United Kingdom: 10,797; Switzerland: 1,218; Luxembourg: 36; Belgium: 1,685; The Netherlands: 2,076; Russia: 3,799; United States: 7,412; Canada: 547; Argentine: 17,909; Venezuela: 14,706; China: 42,894; Morocco: 86,386; Algeria: 2,000 and Australia: 379 (Source: INE 2010).

The Spanish capital is divided into 20 districts and several areas where inhabitants and architectural styles reflect a certain lifestyle. The city centre conveys an image of cultural mix because of the high number of students, artists and tourists living there: From La Puerta del Sol, Huertas and the Barrio de las Letras, Atocha, Opera, La Latina, Chueca (Gay Madrid and fashion place), Malasaña, to Moncloa. Chamberí, Salamana area, Paseo de la Castellana, Chamartin area, Pio XII and Mirasierra or La Moraleja are known as a wealthy neighborhood. Most foreigners have settled in East Madrid, near the international schools. Arturo Soria, Parque Conde de Orgaz, Hortaleza, Canillas, Campo de las Naciones, La Piovera, Alameda de Osuna and Corralejos are characterized by small buildings, pretty houses with individual gardens and swimming-pools, and are known as the favourite areas. In the North-East, far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre: Pozuelo, Majadahonda, Las Rozas, Villanueva de la Cañada, are areas where foreigners  have moved these last years. Workers areas are located in the South, while Madrid is growing, and the South-east is more a residential area: Las Rosas and Moratalaz-Pavones. In the North East you can find the recent areas of Sanchinarro, Las Tablas and Montecarmelo.

English is the first language taught in Madrid schools. The most recognized English speaking schools are the British Council School of Madrid in Pozuelo de Alarcón, north west of Madrid, which is one of the oldest established bilingual schools in Europe, Hastings School offering both primary and secondary education to students of all nationalities, International College Spain, located eight kilometers north of Madrid (Alcobendas), the International School of Madrid, whose primary school is conveniently located in the Chamartin area of northern Madrid, near the Pio XII metro station, and The secondary building is close to Arturo Soria street, and Runnymede College in La Moraleja. Spain uses the Euro, introduced throughout Europe in 2002. More information including pictures of coins and notes and exchange rates is available at: http://www.euro.ecb.int.

Traditional working weeks in Spain are 40 hours per week. People wake up early to work, but most companies open between 9:00 and 9:30 and shops open at 10. It is quite common to have a coffee break around 12. At 2-2.30pm people have lunch. Working days finish at 7pm, but many people remain till 9pm. Only banks have special schedules: they open from 9am to 1pm, and depending on the period of the year, they remain closed in the afternoons. During summer months, many offices adopt an abridged work schedule called “jornada intensive” whereby employees work non-stop 8am till 3pm.

Employees are entitled to 30 days of holidays or 21 without weekends. There are 12 national bank holidays, and 2 regional ones. Holidays are usually taken between summer, Christmas, and Easter. When bank holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, employees are allowed to take Monday or Friday off and make it into a long weekend called 'puente'.

In town speed limit is 50kph (30mph), 90kph (56mph) on national roads and up to 120kph (72mph) on expressways. The legal blood limit is 50mg/l, stricter than the UK where the limit is 80mg/l, or 30mg/l for drivers with a less than 2-year driving license. Driving rules and road signs are the same for all EU. Seat belts front and rear are mandatory everywhere, even in built-up areas; and using a mobile phone whilst driving is a finable offence (unless it is a completely hands off system). It is compulsory to have two warning triangles. Licence points system has been introduced in Spain since July. Although UE driving licenses can be used in all member countries, change is advised and can be done with the agreement of the country of origin.

On the Spanish central 'meseta', we have a continental climate, which means cold winters and hot and very dry summers. In Madrid it saids that there are "nine winter months and three of hell". It often rains in spring and autumn, especially in April and May.

More than 80% of Spaniards are Catholic, even if they do not go to Church every Sunday as they used to do some decades ago. There are few Protestants, Jehovah’s witnesses or Mormons, while Jewish and Muslim communities are growing in the whole country.

The favourite sport in Spain is football. The Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is the major place to be for all fans. In winter you can enjoy skiing on the runs of Navacerrada, only a few kilometers far from the capital.

In Madrid you will find many gym centres and spa’s, for those who like sports or feel like being pampered. When the weather allows it, golf resorts are the perfect place to practice a relaxing sport. In May during the San Isidro public holidays, all bull-fighting lovers head to Las Ventas bull ring to see the season’s largest feria.

At the newsagent you can purchase Spanish newspapers such as El Pais, El Mundo, ABC, and so on. On Sundays everyone buys them for their special sections. At the metro entrance you can get free newspapers as ¡Qué!, ADN, Metro and 20 minutos.

That was an overview of Madrid’s inhabitants’ way of life. Now you should go on and find out on our own what makes Madrid one of the European city nobody wants to leave, or not without nostalgia.


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