All that is most typical of Madrid is fast disappearing and only a few powerless die-hard madrileños seem to care. Among the fatalities are the old-time cafés, those congenial meeting-places where you could go, meet friends, talk art and politics and pleasantly idle away the hours sipping black coffee and cognac.
If the province of Cáceres preserves the architecture and atmosphere of medieval Spain, Salamanca is the keeper of Renaissance Spain. Ancient even as Spanish cities go, the city, ideal for a weekend visit from Madrid, was of importance as early as 222 B.C.
The Guinness World Records deems it the oldest restaurant in the world. Some dispute the title, claiming other restaurants have been there longer. But Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez, one of the proprietors of the fabled restaurant, does not mind. He credits its success to the quality of the food, the service and the ambiance. The bottom line, really, is that Sobrino de Botín is a formidable mix of great food, good vibes and a most fascinating history. The result is a much-deserved global fame that Pepe, a consummate restaurateur, seems to take in his stride.
Rodney Ward, like many back-packing ‘cowboys’ of the mid-seventies, first arrived in Madrid in 1975 and was at once struck by Spain’s fine old capital city. Although planning to move on within a few days, the Magic of Madrid compelled him to stay for two years. Only then did Rodney Ward set off back to Australia. Does he miss Madrid? “It’s always nice to come home,"he says, but Madrid gets in the blood.
With opening words from the elegant and almost unintellibly literate Francisco Umbral, El Pais columnist and self-ordained “public scandal,” the Festivals of San Isidro made May in Madrid a memorable and musically delightful experience. Calling on the Madrileños to join in the festivities planned by the Madrid City Hall, with blessings from the tender Tierno Galvan, mayor and host for the week-long fiestas, Francisco Umbral delighted the crowd with his assonant, consonant, alliterative and onomatopoeic prose lauding Madrid for its beauty and dignified decrepitude
Barcelona may have an abundance of fine architecture and offers a good deal of artistic pleasures to everyone and anyone. But it lacks that warm home feel that one gets in Madrid. That sense of having arrived at a place where one belongs
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So have fun in Madrid – or any tourist places around Spain, for that matter – but be alert and always be on your guard
Afternoon sun dapples trees in front of the Royal Palace in early Fall
by Chris Collins
It's not just the religious rituals and dancing the chotis. It's also about sinful gastronomy. You could put on weight just by looking at those chorizos! Yummy, though.
The zesty Marileños are binging on Smart, Dumb and St. Clare Donuts, squid sandwiches, Spanish omelet, oxtail stews, a religious pilgrimage to the tune of guitars and tambourines, street parties, bullfights and concerts. Lots of free concerts!