Apart from the natives, see above, I had always thought of Madrid as being rather dull. I think that the films by Almodovar are to blame for this; usually showing stark modern cityscapes.
But, visiting Madrid came as a surprise! - beautiful buildings with nice squares...
and enticing shopfronts.
Madrid is also probably one of the most gay friendly cities I've visited.
The gay centre of Madrid is the Chueca area which has many cosy places to hang out.
As well as smart trendy restaurants.
Aside from the main sites of El Prado and the royal palace, there are some more quirky places to visit,
including a (real) Egyptian temple, which has a fascinating interior.
And one of the first underground stations in Madrid which is now a museum.
Flying over Madrid in a cable car was exhilarating.
And a bus ride out of Madrid took us to the astonishing Roman aqueduct in Segovia.
On a Sunday morning a trip to El Rastro, the huge street market on the south side of Madrid,
is a must whether you are in search of a can opener or a gas mask.
But, for me, the delight of Madrid is not just the attractions.
It's simply a really great place to hang out basking in the Spanish sun.