All posts by Alun John

SIMO Technology Exhibition 2007 About to Open

On 6th November, 2007 the SIMO Feria Internacional de Informática Multimedia y Comunicaciones will open its doors. For an event whose objective is to promote the latest digital technologies they have come up with a crap poor website which breaks all rules on usability, accessibility and common sense-ibility!

From what I struggled to work out there should be some interesting discussions and exhibitions on the following:

  • IT. computers, peripheral devices and electronics
  • Professional Applications. Operating systems CAD/CAM/CAE
  • Telecoms. Mobile Phones, Local Area Networks, Servers, etc
  • E-Business – Internet.

There is a new area that has been created this year for Web 2.0 – an area that I am working in myself. Digital Content is also represented.

2007 Festival de Otoño

festival de otoño, Madrid
For the 24th year running the Festival de Otoño returns to Madrid. A combination of music, theatre, dance and circus from around the world will entertain visitors and Madrileños for the coming 5 weeks. The event runs from the 15th October to the 18th November and is held is venues across the city.

The Theatre companies who are represented include: Britain’s National Theatre, La Comédie-Française, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Josep Maria Mestres.

Dance companies
attending include: Les Ballets C. de la B., Compañía Blanca Li, Toneelhuis. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Compañía Carlotta Sagna.

On the music front Caetano Veloso, Companyia Carles Santos, David Sylvian, Philip Glass and Compagnia dell’ Ambra will all be performing.

For more information, visit the Festival de Otoño website.

Shameless Advertising!!

Google Aims to Help Madrid Tourist Sector

In my day job I spend most of the time helping clients gain better rankings on Google and creating Google AdWord campaigns to drive traffic to their website. I sometimes do exhibitions (I’ll be at the Lead On 2007 event next month) and often present. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Madrid TravelThink event, which has heavy participation from Google, caught my eye.

Madrid Travel think is an opportunity for those in the travel industry to learn from Google experts, and others in the industry, what the latest tips and trends to gain new clients are. The event takes place at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid on the 15th October, 2007.

I hope that one of the organisers, Es Madrid, sends all of its marekting people as they could learn a lot about optimsiation and how to create Google AdWords from the people from Google!

Madrid’s Galleries Open at Night

As a forerunner to next week’s ‘Noche en Blanco‘ (White Night), Madrid’s art galleries will be opening their doors tomorrow night until midnight. An initiative of Arte Madrid over 40 galleries will participate. For more details download their pdf document. More details on Noche en Blanco will follow this week. In the meantime you may want to check out Damian Corrigan’s Noche en Blanco page on

Mad About Madrid Back Writing

I haven’t posted for a good, few weeks now. I have actually been to my wife’s village in El Barraco, near Avila. I had a good time, my son learnt to ride a bike; I actually saw a couple of bullfights (courtesy of free tickets from my brother-in-law); went on a quad ride; ate good food and drank one or two beers!

Anyway, here’s something that caught my eye this week. It looks like there will be a couple of new musicals starting in September. The first is Jesus Christ Superstar at the Teatro Lope de Vega. Starring Miquel Fernández, the Andrew Lloyd-Webber production will open its doors on the 20th September, 2007.

On October 4th, 2007 the popular Disney musical Beauty and the Beast (La Bella y la Bestia) will begin its 6-month run at the Teatro Coliseum. It stars Julia Möller, David Ordinas y Pablo Puyol and prices range from abround 24 Euros to 70 Euros.

Madrid: The 10th Most Liveable City in the World

According to the International Herald Tribune Madrid is the World’s 10th Most Liveable City. Munich is the most liveable – with a total of 7 other European cities being in the top 10. Each city has a dedicated page outlining the attributes of each and Madrid’s – Madrid emerges from Barcelona’s shadow (I can already hear the Madrileños spitting at that!) – talks about the work undertaken by the mayor, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, and the usual:

But Madrid has huge pluses: all the major employers are here; eating out is cheap (€30 per head at a good restaurant) and there is a plethora of cheap public transport and a 24-hour nightlife.

There are some good stats and commentary here. The main article is called Quality of Life 2007 and makes for interesting reading.

Veranos de la Villa – Madrid’s Summer Festival

I must apologise to regular visitors to this blog for not having written an article for a while but I have been quite busy with work and developing my other website – Marketing Tom. Because of that I failed to write up about one of the big events in Madrid’s calendar, the Veranos de la Villa festival. This festival runs from the 2nd July until the 26th August and offers visitors and Madrileños the ability to see around 100 shows covering music, theatre, dance, circus events and zarzuela in some of the most important venues around the city. The Sabatini gardens (next to Palacio Real), Conde Duque, Plaza Mayor, Centro Cultural de la Villa and Teatro Español are just some of those locations.

Here’s a brief selection of singers who will perform – Liza Minelli, Laurie Anderson, Carlos Núñez, Andy & Lucas, David de María, Antonio Vega, Patricia Kraus and Mercedes Ferrer, Diego el Cigala, Yossou N’ Dour. Flamenco artists include: José Mercé, Carmen Linares, José Menese, Rafaela Carrasco, Manuel Molina, La Negra and Esperanza Fernández. The Patio Conde Duque will host the Boston Ballet and the Legend Lin Dance Theatre and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is performed by the New York Harlem Theatre.

Classsic Spanish plays like Calderón de la Barca’s Casa con dos puertas mala es de guardar and Shakespeare’s Cymbelline will be performed in the Jardines de Galileo.

All in all, there’s something for everyone.

For more (much more) information, take a look at the Veranos de la Villa microsite from EsMadrid.

Democrats Abroad – 4th July Celebration in Madrid

I got an email last week from the Democrats Abroad asking me to publish details of their 4th July celebration. Here’s what they’ll be getting up to:

Don’t miss out on the hamburgers, bar-b-que and 4th of July fun just because you are in Madrid. Join the Democrats Abroad for their annual all-American Independence Day party – the best 4th of July party in Madrid!

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the celebration, which starts at 7 pm on (you guessed it) Wednesday, July 4th. The party features live rock and roll music by the popular Madrid band, Angie Herna and Soul Fingers. Admission is free.

Authentic Texas bar-b-que – including hamburgers, ribs, steak and chicken – will be on offer from Ribs Restaurant. The party will take place on the outdoor terrace of Ribs Gregorio Benítez at the Arturo Soria Plaza (metro: Arturo Soria).

A Silent Auction will be held at the party to raise funds to support the activities of Democrats Abroad throughout the upcoming year…a very important one on the political calendar. Among the items to be auctioned are: baskets of wine, gourmet foods, massages, and handcrafted jewelry.

Location: Ribs Restaurant
Address: Gregorio Benítez, 4
Arturo Soria Plaza
Madrid (Metro: Arturo Soria)
Time: 7pm – 11 pm
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Free Admission
For further information please contact:
Sean Ansett – 667 724 385

Have fun!


Top Dishes from Top Metrópoli

Here are some mouth-watering suggestions of dishes to eat and restaurants where to eat them in Madrid. Every month El Mundo, one of Spain’s foremost newspapers, puts a selection of restaurants where you can eat a certain type of dish on to its Metrópoli section. Here are a list of recent additions to its Top Metrópoli section:

Pasta con Marisco – Quite simply Pasta with shellfish!

Terrinas marineras – Seafood terrines

Lasaña creativa -Don’t think this needs a translation. A good selection here of 11 restaurants.

Espaguetis boloñesa – Sticking with the Italian theme another fine selection of restaurants to eat this Italian dish

Bonito – a delicious fish from the tuna family. Very popular in Spain.

Mero – this fish is apparently called Grouper Fish in English and can often be found in fish markets in Spain

Sopa de pescado tradicional – Traditional fish soup – made with a good selection of fish.

Sopas exóticas de pescado – Here’s a selection of Far Eastern restaurants offering “exotic” fish soup.

Platos con chucrut – once more stepping out if Spain here we have a selection of restaurants that serve Sauerkraut. A personal recommendation on this list would be Edelweiss.

Goxua – let’s finish off this selection with a dessert. Goxua is a Galician Basque (oh bugger! I got this completely wrong thanks Paloma) dish generally made of sponge, cream and liquid caramel. Correct me if I’m wrong!

Madrid’s Open Air Pools Are, Well, Open!

This post comes a little late (3 weeks to be exact) but I suppose better late than never. It is a little known fact, to foreigners of course!, that Madrid has a number of municipal, open-air, swimming pools which open their doors to the public from around June to September. The entrance fee is cheap, around 4 Euros for the day, and all have facilities like restaurants and bars. Though you will find them dotted around the city and region, the nearest ones to the centre can be found in the Casa de Campo (one stop from Plaza de Espana), Rios Rosas and near ‘Cuatro Caminos’. My favourite has to be the third one.

Piscina Municipal Casa de Campo

Tel: 91463.00.50

Avda. del Ángel, s/n. Madrid
Metro: Casa de Campo

Piscina Municipal Francos Rodríguez

Tel: 91 459.98.71

Calle de Numancia, 1. Madrid

Instalaciones Deportivas Canal de Isabel II
Avda. Islas Filipinas, 54
Metro: Ríos Rosas
Tel: 91 554 51 53

Palacio de Linares to Remain Open Until October

Palacio de Linares Wikipedia

One of Madrid’s most emblematic palaces, the Palacio de Linares, will keep its doors open until October. The Palace, which can be found on one corner of the Plaza de Cibeles,  dates from the 19th Century and is well-known for its beautiful architecture and exquisite interior. It also has an interesting history and is said to even have its own ghosts. The story of the palace and its owners is actually very sad. The palace was built by the Marqués de Linares for both himself and his wife. His father had educated him to choose a wife without consideration of her financial or social class. This he did and he married the tobacconist’s daughter. What he didn’t know was that his father had had a relationship with the mother and his wife was the result!  He only found out when his dying father, God bless him!, sent him a letter to inform him of the situation.

The Pope at the time, Leo XIII had to issue a papal bull which allowed them to live together but in chastity. In order to forget the shame the Marqués threw all his energy into the building of his palace, where budgets and time had no constraints. The Marqués and his wife told the architect that they would like the Palace to be split in two, with him taking the ground floor and the wife the upper floor. What is interesting is that they didn’t have a kitchen, but instead relied on food being delivered from Lhardy, a Madrid restaurant which still operates today!

Opening Times
Saturdays: 11am to 1pm
Sundays: 11am to 1pm
Mondays: 3pm to 5pm

6 Euros for Adults; 2 Euros for Retired people; students 3 Euros and Under 12’s Free.

Casa de América

Related Links
Photos on 20Minutos Website
Walk the Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos

Madrid Hotels and Other Accommodation with Swimming Pools

Kris_alcalaI have published this article before on this site but, given the time of year, thought I would re-publish it again – I will make modifications to it to reflect prices and additional hotels. Given the intense, summer heat in Madrid these may well be great options for this time of year. By the way the links are to a website of which I am an affiliate (
which means I get a small commission for each hotel booked).

Emperador Hotel
– this 4-star hotel is situated on Madrid’s famous Gran Vía and its roof-top swimming pool offers spectacular views out across the Madrid skyline. The hotel is well-located near the main tourist spots of the city. Prices start from 120 Euros.

City Center – Sol

Estudio Luna (apartment) from 55 Euros
Apartamento Sol (apartment) from 65 Euros

City Center – Las Cortes

Hotel Urban Grand Luxe ***** (hotel) from 193 Euros (how much?!!)
Hotel Villa Real   ***** (hotel) from 139 Euros

Near City Center – Moncloa-Argüelles

Hotel Husa Princesa ***** (hotel) from 106 Euros
Hotel Husa Moncloa **** (hotel) from 60 Euros

Near Airport – IFEMA

Hotel High Tech Madrid Aeropuerto **** (hotel) from 86 Euros
Hotel Auditorium **** (hotel) from 75 Euros

North City Center – Chamartín

Aparthotel Husa Mirador de Chamartín **** 64 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Miraflores de la Sierra

Hotel Palacio Miraflores ***** (hotel) from 120 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Alcobendas

Hotel Amura Alcobendas **** (hotel) from 86 Euros

Outside Madrid: West: Moncloa-Aravaca

Hotel Eurostars Zarzuela Park **** (hotel) from 53 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Navacerrada

Hotel Husa Arcipreste de Hita **** (hotel) from 71 Euros
Hotel La Barranca *** (hotel) from 65 Euros

Outside Madrid: East: Alcalá de Henares

Hotel Kris Alcalá *** (hotel) from 101 Euros

Related Articles
Madrid’s Municipal Swimming Pools Open This Weekend

Van Gogh Exhibition Opens in Madrid

From tomorrow, 12th June 2007, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Musuem will be exhibiting paintings created by Vincent Van Gogh in the last 3 months of his life at Auvers-sur-Oise, France. He painted a total of 72 paintings in 70 days and even painted until the last day of his life! This exhibition brings together 30 works of art – 27 paintings and 3 drawings and will run until the 16th September, 2007.

If you’d like to know more about Vincent Van Gogh’s life, and final few months, go look where everyone else looks: Wikipedia.

Madrid Flamenco Recommendations from the Independent

The Independent newspaper yesterday published an interesting article by Chris Sullivan, where he explores Madrid’s Flamenco scene. He was even lucky enough to meet up with Joaquín Cortés, Spain’s most famous flamenco dancer – well, it looks like this opportunity to meet him was the main reason he went to Madrid. He recounts his experience of going to places like El Arco de Cuchilleros, the famous Café de Chinitas and the Corral de la Moreria and being mildly disappointed – his words, not mine!

Still in search of what he calls true flamenco he ended up going to Cardomomo, where Joaquín Cortés-like people performed and watched the spectacle. The next night he actually met Joaquín Cortés at Casa Patas, where he watched the evening’s show. Cortés told him that, "Madrid is where some of the best flamenco is found in Spain." Chris Sullivan finally ended up going to a place, recommended by Cortes, called Candela "an old rough bar that looked just like the other old rough bars in Lavapies" and where he finally found what he had been looking for.

This article certainly seems to have dug under the surface and recommends some of the less-touristy flamenco options available in Madrid.

More information can be found on the Independent –  Last dance saloon: Step into Madrid’s authentic flamenco scene.