Category Archives: General Information

Madrid Features in New Coke Ad

I was watching an advert on British TV last night  when, suddenly, images of Madrid flashed across the screen. It would appear that the latest advert (only in the UK?) for Coke Zero features some of the prominent buildings of Madrid’s business district. I saw Madrid’s Torre Picasso and one of the bridges which spans the Castellana. Let me know of any other buildings you recognise.

NOTE: This is not an endorsement of Coke Zero, which contains Aspartame amongst other things. Here are some interesting links:

MP calls for ban on ‘unsafe’ sweetener

Aspartame: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
EU to Reexamine Safety of Aspartame Artificial Sweetener

I think I’ll get off my soapbox now!

US Expat Questionnaire

To all the US expats living in Madrid.

Mark Nykanen and Eric Burnette are two writers who are currently writing a book, called Fear, Fury, and Exile: Why Young, Liberal, Educated Americans are Permanently Leaving the US, which is due for publication in 2007. They are currently researching the book and are looking for people who are willing to help us locate individuals, couples or families who have left the US for political or social reasons. Here is a brief synopsis of their research:

There is increasing evidence that significant numbers of young, educated Americans are permanently leaving the US.  Above and beyond those who leave the US for work, study, or simply for pleasure, many Americans now seem to be leaving for political and social reasons.  Who are they?  Why are they leaving?  Where are they going?  What is the impact on the US of this emigration?

For the interviewee, this would involve an initial exchange of emails, a ~60 minute phone interview, and possibly a follow-up phone interview.  We will be happy to work with interviewees on anonymous basis, a pseudonym basis, or a full attribution basis.

If you would like to help them out, get in touch with Eric by email:   

Would You Like to Collaborate on Mad About Madrid?


Over the last month or so I have been speaking to people in Madrid about the possibility of working with me to further develop this site. To date I have met some great people and we are starting to collaborate on projects and articles – you will see the fruits of these discussions soon.

Mad About Madrid generates around 700 visitors a day, who come from all over the world, and view around 3,000 pages. The information that they search for in order to come to the site is varied, from bars, restaurants and tapas to parks, sports and entertainment. My target number of visitors by the summer is 1,000 per day.

I am looking for people who can write articles on a wide range of subjects, such as:

  • Food and wine
  • Bars, cafes and taverns
  • Entertainment – music, theatre, dance
  • Shops – clothes, food, etc
  • Historic buildings – churches, museums,
  • Interesting walks/tours
  • Cultural events or exhibitions
  • Your own personal experiences in the city

Contributors will get their own bio page on the site, which could offer them the opportunity to promote their own services/products. I would also be interested in people who would like to submit photos or even to create podcasts. Opportunities also exist for people who feel that they would like to sell advertising space on this site.

If you feel that you help develop this site into the premier site in Madrid, please drop me a line:

Carolina Herrera on Madrid

Carolinaherrera_1 Whilst searching for a quote for an article that I’m currently writing, I came across an interesting article on the world-famous fashion designer Carolina Herrera. The article, called Spanish Steps and written by Mitchell Owens, offers a fascinating insight into Carolina Herrera’s love affair with Madrid. It talks about her favourite tapas, bars, museums and places of interest. I love a quote from the article where she says that the clientele for a famous restaurant – Casa Lucio – ranges from:

"the King and Queen to the local hooker"

She also comments on how life is so civlised in Madrid:

"The life here is so civilized. The lunches are late and the dinners are even later, which allows you to do so many things during the day. And have you noticed that nobody eats or drinks while they are walking? In New York, everybody eats in the street. But in Madrid, people go to a café and they sit down. Even in Starbucks, you buy your coffee and sit and drink"

And here’s an interesting shopping tip:

"Calzados Lobo, a store that has stood near Plaza Mayor for more than a century, is where the Herrera women stock up on the traditional handmade espadrilles (they start at around $8 a pair) that found favor with the Paris Opéra, which ordered dozens of Lobo shoes for a production of Carmen. The shop is about half the size of a one-car garage; its open shelves are crammed with boxes, and dozens of customers stand elbow-to-elbow clutching wait-your-turn numbers."

FITUR 2006 Opens in Madrid

FITUR will be the second major exhibition that I have commented about this week – it looks like we are in the middle of the exhibition season in Madrid. From the 25th – 29th January 2006 Madrid will host the 26h edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair (Feria Internacional de Turismo). On the 25th-27th January, the show will be open to professionals, whilst the public can go on the remaining 2 days (28th and 29th January). All sectors will be covered, from travel agencies and hotels to travel media, education and residential tourism. Like last year the 4 main focus areas will be:

Fitur Activo: Active Tourism Section

Fitur Know-How: Tourism Knowledge Fair

Fitur Congresos: Meetings and Incentives Travel Workshop

Fitur Residencial: Residential Tourism Trade Fair

18€ – Trade Visitors
7€ – General Public (1 day pass)

Book Hotels Near FITUR
Mad About Madrid Hotel Recommendations

Getting There
Metro: Line 8 Campo de Naciones
Buses: 112, 122 &  828

Indepedent’s Guide to Madrid

The week before last the Independent Newspaper (UK) had a very interesting supplement on Madrid, which you can now view online. Here is a summary of the various sections:

  • 24 Hours In: Madrid – The travel writer Simon Calder kicks off the day in Puerta del Sol, heads off to the Plaza Mayor and then gets over to the Bernabeu Stadium. In the evening he samples Jazz at the Café Central.
  • Madrid: A world-class exhibitionist – Cathy Packe takes a look at the works of art on display in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums.            
  • Madrid: Art and craft – Cathy Packe takes a trip to Madrid’s Real Fábrica de Tapices – the Royal Tapestry Factory.                   
  • Madrid: Dining with the locals – Alex Leith samples Madrid’s ‘nueva cocina’ – including Sergi Arola, Ferran Adrià and Sergi Santiago – and the older establishments like Botin.                  
  • Madrid’s park life – a shot article by Cathy Packe on Madrid’s parks.
  • Madrid: The traveller’s guide to what’s in store – A look at the shops in Madrid’s fashionable Salamanca, shopping malls, department stores (well, El Corte Inglés) and even the Rastro Flea Market.
  • Madrid: Adventures in clubland – Alex Leith gives a pretty good round-up of Madrid’s trendiest clubs.                        
  • Chic Madrid – Madrid’s chic, boutique hotels.
  • Madrid: Great days out – Simon Calder heads off to Aranjuez, Chinchón and Alcalá de Henares.

New Tourism Centre in Madrid


It looks like visitors to Madrid will now be able to get tourist information from a new Tourism Office. Situated in the famous Casa de la Panadería, in the Plaza Mayor, the office will be open from 9.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. According to the Esmadrid website:

"The centre has arranged six internet access points allowing visitants to look up – through the website – the new Tourism Board database,
developed by the city council-owned company Promoción Madrid. This new
venue provides as well the visitants with WI-FI (wireless) access
making available Internet access through portable computers."


First Mad About Madrid Contributor

RyanAbout a month ago I posted an article on Mad About Madrid inviting people to contribute to this blog – I had some very good responses since then and have met up with some interesting and enthusiasitc people. Ryan Opaz is one of them and from now on he will be contributing articles to this blog.

I met Ryan a couple of weeks back on a sunny (aren’t they all?) afternoon in the Plaza Santa Ana. Ryan is an American, married to Gabriela, and has been living in Madrid for a few months. The really interesting thing about Ryan is his passion for, and knowledge of, wine. He has worked in the industry for a number of years and has already starting establishing contacts in the wine industry in Spain – recently he has made trips to La Rioja and the Basque country.

For Mad About Madrid, Ryan will be contributing articles relating to food and drink in the capital and we will jointly be working on promoting food and drink tours around Madrid – headed up, obviously , by Ryan. We are really excited about the prospect of offering these tours and we hope to be able to launch them in the month of May.

A Hedonist´s Guide to Madrid


A Hedonist´s guide to … is designed to appeal to a more urbane and stylish traveller. The kind of traveller who is interested in gormet food, elegant hotels and seriously chic bars – the traveller who feels the need to explore, shop and pamper themselves away from the madding crowd.

The first time I saw this book was in Madrid´s FNAC bookstore and its very distinctive black cover with a orange band running around it automatically attracted my attention. The quality pages and their images don´t disappoint when you open it, either. This book is designed to appeal to those looking for something special in Madrid – the best food, drink, place to stay or entertainment.

A Hedonist´s Guide to Madrid is quite neatly split into the following sections: sleep, eat, drink, snack, party, culture, shop and play, though the main sections are the first four. The book also has four small maps of the main ares of Madrid: Chueca/Malasaña, Centro, La Latina and Salamanca which all have numbers which relate to places that are reviewed. The "sleep" section, along with the "eat" section, have useful ratings of the establishments critiqued and both sections offer Beverley Fearis´s (the author) top 10 and top 5 ratings, along the lines of style, location, service, quality of food, etc.

Though the hotel section may be out of quite a few people´s reach, the eat, drink and snack sections offer something for everyone – even though for some it may be a holiday "treat". Many of the well-known tourist destinations can be found in the guide – Casa Labra, Café Comercial and Café Gijón – but some other interesting places also appear like El Estragon Vegetariano, Isla del Tesoro and the Ducados Café .

Though the guide does include details of cultural places to visit – the Royal Palace and the Prado, for example – you would be advised to buy a more detailed tourist guide to search out Madrid´s many rincones (corners). However, I would definitely recommend taking this book on your trip to Madrid – Beverley Fearis has really done a fine job in researching Madrid´s ‘other cultural’ centres.

See Also
My Madrid: Beverley Fearis

Would You Like To Write Articles For Mad About Madrid?

Over the next few months I will be looking for people to collaborate with me in writing articles and generally developing the Mad About Madrid website. I plan to develop the site into the one of the most successful city travel sites on the web and would like your help. So, whether you’re a Spanish or foreign national, live or have lived in Madrid, a journalist, student or accountant, I’d love to hear from you. All I ask is that you share my passion of the city and that you be prepared to write regular articles for Mad About Madrid. Aside from writers, I would also like to hear from people who would like to sell advertising on the site.

You can email me on:

Madrid Suffers Heaviest Snowfall for 20 Years

Snow in Retiro ParkMadrid has just suffered its heaviest snowfall in over 20 years. Many Madrileños, including my nephew and niece, woke up to find the city covered with snow this morning and most roads and rail networks were affected. In some parts of outlying Madrid some 20 centimetres of snow fell.

It does snow in Madrid in winter, and indeed you can go skiing in the mountains around the city, but it is not normal for this amount of snow to fall. Even though the snow caused accidents and inconvenience, it was an opportunity for some beautiful pictures to be taken of the city. Here is a selection of photos that I have come across:

Impresionante nevada en Madrid
– El Mundo

La nieve que vieron los lectores (Readers’ Photos) – El Mundo

Postales blancas de Madrid (White postcards), by Carlos Barajas El Mundo
Fotos de España nevadaTerra
Tercer gran temporal de inviernoEl Pais