A love affair with Madrid

Madrid is big on my map, once bitten it is very hard to forget. There is a saying in town, that said, From Madrid to heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! I am always looking at it from wherever I am.

I have written many posts on it here in my blog, just search Madrid and you know what I mean. However, today ,I will tell you about a book; yes a book about Madrid that made me think of how wonderful this city is and how lucky that I found it and also to read the book and exchange notes with the book writer.

The book is titled: A Load of Bull: An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid; written by Tim Parfitt on Pan MacMillan Publishers London ISBN 978-1-4050-4619-0 year 2006.

It’s the real story of Tim Parfitt who in the 1980’s was given the task to start the publication of Vogue and later GQ Spain. He was working for Conde Nast in London and got a 6 weeks assignment in Madrid. This 6 weeks turn into 9 years and during this time he discovered the real Spain. “there wasn’t any other type of Spain, was there?” But there was, “there was Madrid”

He goes on to tell his story from his arrival in Madrid in January 31 1988 at the tender age of 27.His office was by the Plaza de España.

I am not going to tell you the whole book, if you like Spain and Madrid specially then it is a require reading.

He goes on to mention many of the places I went as a teen living in Madrid ,I arrived December 30 1971. Here is my first entry on Madrid about me there , a bit…. https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2010/11/28/my-life-in-madrid-spain/

Some of these places still memorable for me and always seems to stop by either going in or just passing by again for the memories, the first that comes to mind is the Gran Café de Gijon: http://www.cafegijon.com/

He went on to Riofrio under the Centro Colon ,now gone: https://www.yelp.es/biz/riofr%C3%ADo-madrid-2

He talks about his life there and the struggle with the Spanish language (poor guy not my case) ; the funny translation and the nuances of Spanish street naming.  Speaking of the Plaza de Cibeles and Paseo de Recoletos, the communication palace then now palace of Cibeles  passing under the Puerta de Alcalà where the Cafeteria Simpatia was now, also, closed….https://es.foursquare.com/v/cafeter%C3%ADa-simpat%C3%ADa/4c927523911b8cfac17eedb5

At the corner of Calle Serrano and Calle de Recoletos was the Vogue building at No 4 Izda (izquierda=left). And where the welcome to Madrid was “where 8pm means 10 pm”!

Where he tried his first dish of testicles or Criadillas! where he assembled his team of collaborators.  Vogue magazine was created in the USA in 1892, then UK in 1916, France, 1921, Australia 1959, Italy 1965, Brazil 1975 Germany 1979 and now Spain in 1988!!!

He learned that in Madrid the rush hours were 2PM and 4:30PM the times to go to lunch and come back, no one is in a hurry in the mornings nor to leave at night.

He speaks about my beloved Retiro park Parque del Buen Retiro especially on the side of plaza de la Independencia and go into the Palacio de Cristal. He learned to tapear or go out for tapas from 8pm and better to stand by the bar counter as locals do.

Going for more old authentic Madrid he headed to El Timon near the Centro Colon  business building. Now totally change new owners deco menu etc the location here: https://11870.com/pro/el-timon-madrid

The Plaza de España and it’s statue of Don Quijote with Sancho Panza and the donkey and wandered down Gran Via to Calle Preciados off Plaza Callao and down towards Plaza del Sol; glorious!!!

You cannot missed the Museo del Jamon now a chain of restaurants and the wonderful Plaza Mayor. Go onwards to the Plaza de Oriente and into the Palacio Real; get the cable car or téleferico and ride over to Casa de Campo . One day try the walk or jog from plaza Colon to Las Ventas Monumental bullfight arena….!!!  

Buying an old typewriter from a gone shop in Calle Hortaleza and try those different Spanish letter keys !!! How about the first date driving a taxi from Paseo Recoleto to the fountain of Neptune in the Plaza de Cànovas del Castillo ,then un to San Jeronimo and to Las Cortes or Spanish parliament out into Plaza Santa Ana to land in nearby Cerveceria Alemana ,who of course, this one is still there! http://www.cerveceriaalemana.com/main/

And the party continue to Los Gabrieles (now gone 2004) and then Viva Madrid (still open) on the Marcha or walk of Madrid following the Movida . more on them here: http://www.guiadelocio.com/madrid/tarde-y-noche/madrid/los-gabrieles

http://www.restaurantevivamadrid.com/fr/

How about going to Segovia and having lunch at Pedraza while looking up the Aqueduct in the Plaza de Azoguejo and leaving Segovia by the road to Soria and into Pedraza. See more in Spanish in the guias viajar here: http://guias-viajar.com/madrid/viajes-excursiones/segovia-pedraza/

Stop in Madrid at one of my all time favorites Cafe el Espejo en paseo Recoleto. More here! but just sit at the bar and enjoy the view in and out! https://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-el-espejo-madrid

Try the old yuppie place of Cafe Bar Castellana at paseo de la Castellana ,8. Well now there is Otto there but this was it: https://es.foursquare.com/v/bar-castellana-8/4b05c04af964a5206ce222e3

He found out the Spanish way that we call just about anybody a “friend” even if hardly met and of course we refer to an intime friend those higher up that makes us look good; actually as the book ” THIS IS A LOAD OF BULL”. And of course, the other is ” mi casa es tuya” my house is yours, but we rather meet in a bar lol!!! Or the Viaducto or viaduc meaning we take the bridge over off days to connect into several like a long week lol!! old practice not anymore as it is the siesta….

He found out the big party is May 15 San Isidro for a long party…and into the late nights in bars like Archy, Pachà , Cafe Central (Plaza del Angel) and El Sol or the Cock bar in Calle de la Reina or Museo Chicote in Gran Via to end at Almonte a Sevillian club in calle Juan Bravo. Or a fancy Botin in calle Cuchilleros.

Archy now closed: https://11870.com/pro/archy

Pachà is now Barcelo but this was pacha: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/pach%C3%A1-madrid-3

Cafe central still there: http://www.cafecentralmadrid.com/

El Sol still there: http://salaelsol.com/

Cock bar still there more subtle nowdays: https://www.yelp.com/biz/bar-cock-madrid-2

mythical museo chicote is still there: https://www.yelp.com/biz/museo-chicote-madrid-2

Almonte for a taste of flamenco is still there: http://www.almontesalarociera.com/

Botin a tradition still there: http://www.botin.es/en

Also, moving apartment to one by Calle Lope de Vega nearer the Prado Museum. A practice of hora intensiva or intensive hour ;this was done in summers so you worked only until about 3PM to avoid the heat without a lunch break;then do this after 3PM for lunch and then Siesta until the evenings. Finding out in summer of operacion salida or exit operation when folks leave Madrid to escape the heat; and they all leave at the same time lol!!! And by August 31st is operacion retorno, operation return and they all come back at the same time lol!!!

One more tried Taberna  La Bola  a classic in Madrid still going strong.  more here: http://labola.es/

See more of the nearby towns such as Aranjuez and Chinchon. Back to Madrid for something exotic El Cuchi Mexican restaurant near Plaza Mayor. Already gone thru two different restos in the address El Cuchi is gone. This was it: https://www.yelp.es/biz/el-cuchi-madrid

See and pay a visit to Las Ventas Monumental bullfight arena for a look of tradition. All official in Spanish here: http://www.las-ventas.com/ and of course do not forget to see the Museo Taurino behind it on the story of the bullfighter. more info here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/bullfighting-museum

You come to the Calle de las Huertas and stop by La Fidula for a fino sherry or go on to Casa Alberto for a glass of red with a pincho.  You continue the food frenzy in the Calle Marqués de Cubas at the Catalan resto Paradis. Go back to the Plaza Mayor and visit the Cava San Miguel  for a nice cold beer. You should not missed two great ones of Madrid , Casa Paco and Casa Lucio,and one of the classic upper upper Zalacaîn

La Fidula today is a concert hall: https://www.lafidula.es/

Casa Alberto; still there : http://www.casaalberto.es/

Paradis still there: http://www.restauranteparadismadrid.es/category/menus/

Cava San Miguel now la Taberna Chiquita; https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-taberna-chiquita-Madrid

Casa Paco : http://www.casapaco1933.es/

Casa Lucio :http://casalucio.es/en/

Zalacaîn: now closed for renovations: http://www.restaurantezalacain.com/

Getting back to the apartment at Lope de Vega, you can try La Dolores bar; https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-dolores-madrid ; and further you come to Villa Rosa tablao flamenco off the Plaza Santa Ana, now closed: http://www.tablaoflamencovillarosa.com/es/

Some fancy visits to the British Chamber of Commerce; club Puerta de Hierro, Club Equitacion de Somosaguas all special visits. Then go up to wonderful Navacerrada and eat at Casa Felipe Asador. Navacerrada was my first attempt of skiing at the tender age of 12, well did not work out ::) fell all over the place and decided it was not for me.  The resto here: http://www.restaurantefelipe.com/

And the activities at Navacerrada continues: http://www.puertonavacerrada.com/

Time to move again this time to Serrano, 145 corner of calle Guadalquivir;nicer area still today. Here it is nice to jog alone Paseo de la Habana and along Plaza Sagrados Corazones next to the Bernabeu Stadium at the corner of Castellana and Concha Espina.

You came to the old ,Club 31 in Calle Alcalà 31; and for ligher meals go to Delicatessen Mallorca. The first one change owner and location but still Club 31 here: http://www.restauranteclub31.com/quienes-somos

The second one http://www.pasteleria-mallorca.com/listado-de-tiendas

He continues writing about the new things found in Madrid and of course learning Spanish, this was already 1992 the year of the Barcelona Olympics. However, Madrid had totally seduced him. And he visit Carmona near Sevilla to be with a women he met Patrizia and visit her parents.

He found La Parra a Seville style restaurant in Monte Esquinza; more here: http://www.laparrarestaurante.com/ , visited the bullfight arena at Aranjuez and had a nice party in Palacio de Gaviria , which was and is a great place to be/ more here: http://eschermadrid.com/

The hit came later meeting Kirza half Dutch and half Danish but born in Malaga, hey welcome to Spain. She had two kids from previous marriage and was only 29. He move in with her and the kids on January 1993. New place Calle de Povedilla 13 parallel to Calle de Goya in Salamanca district. They tour together deeper into Spain, Sevilla and Ronda and going to parties together. Even to Barcelona where the stays were at the Hotel Arts in the Olympic Port. They were married in Holland and photos splashed all over the medias.

And they move out of central Madrid into a bigger home in Calle San Martin de Porres by the Puerta de Hierro. Location distrito here:http://www.madrid.es/

Kirza was pregnant and his best friend Luis was diagnose of leukemia eventually passed away at 58. And Tim became the managing director/General Manager of Conde Nast Spain.  The son finally arrive Toby in July 7 1994 at the Clinica Nuevo Parque. http://www.sanidadysalud.com/clinica-nuevo-parque-HO280611.html

And this needed another moved to Monte Alto in Humera just outside Madrid. and a moving in nanny and the black retriever dog Barnaby. And the new born child was baptized in the Church of Humera. Location of new house: https://www.pozuelodealarcon.org/tu-ayuntamiento/gabinete-de-prensa/reportajes-especiales/humera%3A-un-barrio-con-solera

And the journey is over. Tim said it, Madrid is one of the most perplexing, anarchic, and exuberant cities on earth:Madrid. He fell in love with the country, the city and its people and do we once bitten by the Madrid magic. Or From Madrid to heaven and hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!

I happened to contact him and exchange emails with him as what struck more of the story which is awesome and the book is wonderful; was the fact that we both went on similar paths of places in Madrid and fell in love with the city me too young needed to move on with my mother or life would had be different for sure. Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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