Our first impression of Madrid:
Climate just like home (Colorado)
People are European
Lots of grafitti
There are a lot of sushi restaurants here
Easy public transportation
Fantastic city to walk in
The location of our hostel is fantastic. We're about three blocks off of Gran Via, which we were told is a bustling part of Madrid, despite our experience today. The city looks like it is being evacuated, almost half the shops and businesses were closed as we walked about, and the streets were more empty then I have ever seen a city. We were warned about Madrid emptying during August, but experiencing it first hand is a little disconcerting.
We saw a protest today, I couldn't understand what they were saying, but they marched down the center of Gran Via, and gathered in front of the Palacio de Comunicaciones. The protest lasted for less than an hour and had dissipated by the time the Siesta started.