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The NewSLU

A Semana Santa Staycation

The writer stayed in Madrid with her visiting sister instead of trotting around Europe during spring break
Anna Benzel
The Negroni at Le Club Sushita in Madrid. Instead of traveling across Europe, the writer enjoyed a staycation with her sister.

As Semana Santa started, the streets of Madrid grew in size. Many Madrid locals escape the city for a week, perhaps to Mallorca or the Costa Brava, to soak up the sun. While I envied my friends who were dipping their toes in crystal-clear Italian water, I was thrilled to take my younger sister, Willa, around my new home.

Willa came from our home, in Miami, to visit me for her high school’s spring break. Enamored by the last time we were in Madrid, our to-do list was a lot to tackle. Our days were spent roaming the streets of Malsaña, combing through every rack of all the vintage stores. We laughed as we each tried on ridiculous outfits in the dressing rooms, everything from cheetah hats to glittery scarves. We broke up the shopping by drooling over croquetas and tortilla – two dishes my sister had been waiting to eat since she took off at the Miami airport.

In a city like Madrid with so much to see, do, and eat, it can be overwhelming to plan an itinerary for a visitor. After three months of living in Madrid, I decided to stick to what I knew: all my go-to restaurants, clubs and bars. Straight from the airport, we went to Caravan Café, a familial, bustling cafe with comforting-yet-amazing food, and an even better playlist. It’s the kind of café that you leave thinking about the next time you get to go back.

After a week of bar hopping, tapas tasting, and quality time, I decided to take her to my favorite sushi restaurant for our last night together. Le Club Sushita is the epitome of mid-century modern and sleek. Furnished with all vintage furniture and shelves filled with books, the restaurant invites its diners to get cozy. The elegance of the interior is kept alive by the soft ambient jazz music that fills the air.

Seated at a cozy corner table overlooking the DJ booth, Willa and I scoured the menu with excitement and ordered everything from A to Z. I enjoyed a Negroni, my favorite drink. The Negroni at Le Club Sushita reflects the whole vibe of the restaurant: sophisticated, but not boring, and subtly sweet thanks to the vermouth, the epitome of Madrid. The Negroni fits into the restaurant like a puzzle piece, as if it were meant to rest on each dining table. With chopsticks in hand, savoring every bite of the truffle butterfish nigiri, we reminisced about our childhood.

As we shared dinner-table laughter, we looked around and paid attention to the tables surrounding us. To the left of us was a young couple, locked eyes and smiling like it was the greatest day of their lives. It was as if these chopsticks were magic wands that bring instant happiness. The smooth jazz picked up to more disco house music and more Negroni’s were ordered.

As we stepped back out into the busy streets of Madrid, Willa turned to me with a glimmering smile. “That was perfect,” she exclaimed, “I can’t think of a better way to have ended our trip.” It had been nothing short of unforgettable – a perfect mix of mouth-watering food, incredible company, and the vibrant spirit of Madrid.

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