La Trocha – the place for Brazilian Caipirinhas

In Madrid’s c/Huertas you will find a small bar called La Trocha. This bar has been around for over 25 years, serving the famous Brazilian drink Caipirinha. The way they make caipirinha is by cutting lemons up into small pieces and using a press to squeeze the juice out of them. To this is added ice and sugar with a good measure of the Brazilian liquor Cachaça to finish off – it is simply gorgeous!! It’s so good that 80% of all bar sales come from this drink. La Trocha itself is quite small but very cosy and the jazz music that is played in the background adds to the atmosphere.

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Plaza Santa Ana

Mamma Mia, the musical, comes to Madrid

El_mundo_abba_1The International hit, Mamma Mia, has finally landed in Madrid. The show, written by Catherine Johnson, opens on the 11th November in the Teatro Lope de Vega de Madrid. The musical has been translated into Spanish by Juan Martinez Moreno and the lyrics of the songs by Albert Mas-Griera. Mamma Mia is said to be the biggest musical in the world, with over 18 million people having seen it.

The story unfolds on a tiny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. The show is in Spanish and its main characters are: Nina, Marta Valverde and Paula Sebastiá.

Address: Teatro Lope de Vega de Madrid (Gran Vía, 57).
Times: Tues-Thurs at 8pm; Fri & Sat: 6pm & 10pm; Sun: 7pm
Price: 15 – 65 euros. Ticket Sales: Box Office and El Corte Inglés (www.elcorteingles or 902 40 02 22)

Links of Interest
Mamma Mia Official site
El Mundo Preview

Spanish Language Bookshops and Conversation Exchanges

If you’re learning Spanish in Madrid, then it’s quite likely that you will probably need to buy some books. You may also be interested in participating in a language exchange, where you can speak Spanish with a native speaker and vicce versa.

The Casa del Libro offers a great selection of Spanish Language Study Books and is probably where most people purchase their Spanish books from. If you want English Language books you can also find a small section here. Here are the two main locations (the 2nd is my preferred one):
Locations: Gran Vía, 29 | Metro: Gran Vía; Maestro Victoria, 3 | Metro: Sol or Callao

FNAC is one huge book/electronic/music department store and also has a good selection of Spanish language books.
Location: Preciados, 28 | Metro: Callao

Crisol is another place where you can find Spanish Language Books. They have a number of shops across the city.
Locations: Marqués de Casa Riera, 2 | Metro: Banco de España; Serrano, 24 | Metro: Serrano

Petra’s International Bookshop is also a good place to pick up second-hand books. It is also a great place to meet up with people for conversation exchanges. They are open from 11am to 9pm.
Location: C/ Campomanes, 13. Metro Opera – Santo Domingo

O´Neills´s Pub is also a good place to go for language exchanges on Tuesday evenings. They start at 10pm and you should ask for David.
C/ Príncipe, 12 . Metro Sevilla/Sol.

Cafe Madrid is the place to go for language exchanges on Wednesday evenings (starting at 9pm) – you should ask for Fran.
Location: C/ Escalinata | Metro Opera

Wings & Beer have been meeting every Tuesday for around 2 years to practice languages, meet people, organize parties, trips, etc. Location: C/ Martín de los Heros, 4 | Metro Banco de España

Lola at Estudio Sampere has also told me that the school organises exchange parties once a month and they have a list of people who are interested in language exchanges.

Teaching English in Madrid (an American perspective)

Over the past month I have had a lot of emails from people asking for advice on teaching English in Madrid. Well, here’s an interesting article that American English teacher Steven Starry just sent me entitled Making it as a Freelance English Teacher in Spain. Though addressing many issues facing US teachers in Madrid, it does offer some sound practical advice on living and working in Madrid for UK and other nationals.

See Also
Madrid Teacher

SIMO TCI – IT, Consumer Electronics and E-business Fair opens 9th November in Madrid

SIMO TCI is Madrid’s annual ‘data processing, multimedia and communications’ fair and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The huge exhibition occupies 7 halls at the Juan Carlos I Exhibition Centre. Sectors include: Information Technology, Consumer Electronics, Professional Software, E-business & the Internet and Telecommunications and all the big names including Canon, Sony, Sagem, Microsoft and Apple will be there. The exhibition centre can be reached by both Metro and bus and ticket prices are 25 euros for a professional pass (for all days) or 10 euros for weekend entry.

Luz Casal, Anastacia, Faithless and The Prodigy play Madrid

Anastacia06 Here are a selection of pop/rock concerts that are going on in Madrid this month (November):

The Prodigy
Date: 3rd November | 8.30 pm
Price: 28.50 euros
Venue: La Riviera Paseo Virgen del Puerto s/n)
Tickets: Fnac, Madrid Rock & Tiendas Tipo.

Date: 4th November | 9.30 pm Price: 21 euros
Venue: Sala La Riviera (Paseo Virgen del Puerto, s/n)
Tickets: Box office and (902 40 02 22).

Luz Casal
Date: 5th November | 10 pm; Price: 27 to 33 euros
Venue: Palacio de Congresos (Paseo de la Castellana, 99)
Tickets: Fnac, Madrid Rock, Tiendas Tipo and

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New Madrid Tourist Travel Pass Launched


From today, November 1st, a new travel pass will be issued in Madrid which will offer tourists the chance to sample some of the surrounding areas of Madrid. Tourists will have the option of buying 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 day passes for travel within central Madrid and further afield. The towns of Aranjuez, El Escorial, Alcalá de Henares, and even the cities of Guadalajara and Toledo can be visited using this pass. The cost starts from 3.5 Euros for a central Madrid day pass to 36.70 Euros for a week pass. Tickets will only be available from these stations to begin: Barajas Airport, Méndez Álvaro, Chamartín and Atocha-Renfe, though it will be extended to include the whole network in the future. It will also be possible to purchase it at numerous tobacconists and news-stands; in tourist areas and through the Internet. More information can be found on Metro Madrid (English).

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Help Wanted! I’m looking for Daily Pictures of Madrid

Templo_debod_small_1 Within the next few weeks I am going to try and add a new element to this site – Daily Pictures of Madrid. I intend to publish 1 picture of Madrid per day, from the selection of pictures that I hope people will send them through to me. What I want is to get many different images of the city from different people’s perspectives – they could be of buildings, parks, bars, nightlife, musicians, the weather, people at work, anything.

Casa_labra_small_2 Each picture will be added into the photo album at the end of month with the chosen caption of the photographer. So, whether you’re Spanish and living in Madrid, a foreigner living in Madrid or just planning to visit, send an email to Mad About Madrid to let me know if you’d be interested.

Mallorca gourmet food shops


Mallorca is one of the most well-established food shops in Madrid. Established in 1931 it sells a wonderful selection of cheeses, meats, canapés, pastries and chocolates. I always find that their shop windows and interior counter displays help me to part with my money and the pastries are to die for. Try out some of them in the shop before taking a tray of assorted pastries away with with you. The shops can be found all over Madrid, including Velázquez, Serrano and Bravo Murillo. A Mallorca restaurant can be found in the Jardín de Serrano shopping centre and is very reasonable (around 22 Euros for a 3-course menu).

Spanish Portrait exhibition at the Prado Museum

Condesadevilches_1 From 20th October to 6th February 2005, the Prado Museum will be putting on an exhibition called the Spanish Portrait. It includes 88 works of art, primarily from Spanish artists like Greco, Ribera, Murillo, Velazquez, Zurbarán, Goya, Miró and Picasso but also including Juan de Flandes, Titian, Pieter Kempener, Anthonis Mor Van Dashorst and Anton Raphael Mengs, some of which have never been exhibited in Spain before. As the Prado Museum puts it: “this is the first time that the genre will be shown from a broad and ambitious perspective, spanning the Modern and Contemporary periods. The fact that it is organised by the Prado Museum makes it possible to include some fundamental pieces (such as the royal families painted by Velázquez and Goya) which would have been absent anywhere else.”A complete overview (in English, too) of the exhibition can be found on the Prado website.

Ticket Price: 3 Euros; free on Sundays
Opening Times: Tues-Sun, 9am-7pm

Madrid History, Background and Overview

Following on from the previous article (History of Madrid), you may be interested in taking a look at the Madrid entry on Wikipedia, a free online encyclpedia. Wikipedia is a fantastic site that allows people to add/edit information to any of the 374163 articles that are within the site. The Madrid entry includes information on its history, the barrios and transportation, amongst other things.

History of Madrid

From looking at my statistics, I have noticed that quite a lot of people have been searching for the history of the Madrid. Rather than writing an extremely long article I thought I would identify soem good sources where you can get more information.

City Council’s History of Madrid – You will find some excellent information here, neatly placed into folders, which describe Madrid from the first settlers to the 13th century. From that period to now the site only offers a chronology. The Spanish Tourist Office website offers a good, brief description on the history of Madrid, along with other useful links.

Descubre Madrid also offers a brief history of Madrid, broken down into different periods of history.

For an exhaustive on-line history of Madrid (in Spanish) look no further than Historia de Madrid, the website of Luis Enrique Otero Carvajal, lecturer of History at Madrid’s Complutense University.

The Madrid Histórico website gives people another view of Madrid through the ages, using maps. Its excellent interactive maps show how the city has changed over the years. There is also an interactive map of Madrid today which allows you to locate important monuments. Unfortunately, it is only in Spanish.

Related Article
Madrid History, Background and Overview (from Wikipedia)

XXI Jazz Festival of Madrid


This week sees the start of the 21st Jazz Festival of Madrid. It kicks off on the 15th October and runs until the 20th November. Events will take place across a number of venues in Madrid, including Jazz bars and concert halls and brings to the capital more than 100 groups and musicians. Highlights include: Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, Ron Carter, Birelli Lagrene, Richard Galiano, Youssou N´Dour and the Dizzy Gillespie All Big Band; with Solomon Burke providing Soul and Paco de Lucía the Flamenco angle. There will be a range of activities going on throughout this period, including debates and documentary projections in FNAC, a children’s jazz concert and music in Retiro Park.

More information can be found on the website or simply by my suggestion would be to buy the Guía del Ocio guide or (free in the newspaper El Mundo’s Friday edition) from a Madrid newsagent.

Naturbier – a Micro Brewery in the heart of Madrid


The Cervecería Naturbier is almost always one of my stopping-off points when going for a night out to Plaza Santa Ana and Calle Huertas. It is in the heart of Plaza Santa Ana and features probably the only microbrewery in Madrid – the beer includes a light cloudy lager and a dark Viennese beer. In fact, you can actually view the large vats towards the back of the pub.

You can also select a great variety of cheeses, cold meats, smoked fish, etc. The downstairs features brickwork vaults where, since July of this year, you can serve your own beers from a tap at your own table (see picture above) – now, that’s cool!! There are also tables outside which look on to the busy Plaza Santa Ana. You may be interested to know that they give guided tours in the morning.

Address: Plaza Santa Ana, 9.
Opening Times: 10 am to 2.30 am.
Metro: Sol and Antón Martín

More Information
Cerveza natural El Mundo Newspaper

My Madrid – Juan Manuel Sampere

This is the third contribution to the ‘My Madrid‘ section, where I invite people with ‘inside information’ on Madrid to write about what they like about the city. Juan Manuel Sampere was born in Madrid almost 50 years ago and has always lived in this ‘vibrant and changing city.’ His life has been devoted to the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Estudio Sampere, founded by his parents in 1956. So passionate is he about his school that he claims one of his main hobbies to being the Estudio Sampere because ‘fostering understanding and communication between different people is a very rewarding activity.’ He also enjoys hiking every week in the Guadarrama mountains, 60 kms from Madrid. Here are some of the things that Juan Manuel likes about Madrid:

Favourite Cafe/Bar: Café Central for some jazz, some drinks, and a cool atmosphere. Incidentally, my favourite musician, for many years is Miles Davis, who has fallen in love with Madrid.
Favourite Dish: fresh fish and seafood – you can find the best fresh seafood in Madrid even though the ocean is 500 kms away!
Favourite Restaurant: La Trainera, ten minutes from the Sampere school, where the sole fish is just incredible!
Favourite Shop: Like many Madrileños, is El Corte Ingles, where you find everything in few minutes.

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