My heart belongs to London, my blood to Milan, my roots to Cáceres and my spirit to New York. Despite this, Madrid will always be my town, my place, my city. The city that made me dream, feel and enjoy. I am a digital nomad. My work – art and luxury- travels with me as I move from one city to the next. However, Madrid is the one city that always welcomes me back with open arms.
There are a thousand different routes to wander, a thousand different places to discover. It’s a city where you can enjoy life’s little pleasures, where you can make friends and memories. I invite you to enjoy it like I have, through my own experiences and emotions:
Madrid is unique: it’s a city where I have thousands of memories and experiences. But that doesn’t slow me down or ease my restless soul. We only have one life to make our dreams come true and I don’t think it’s possible to do so in only one city.
Here, people live surrounded by “Multiculturalité” without truly realizing the meaning of the word. It’s an unknown Babel, where the most important thing is to enjoy each day as it comes. Here in Spain we live by what is known as “Spanish Tranquillity”. It’s a culture of enjoying, laughing, and drinking your way through life. As long as you are polite and respect others, you can do what you want.
Madrid is different from the rest of Spain. They are Mediterranean but are far from the sea. Yet, like all Spaniards, the Madrileños like to share their joy and their lust for life with others. If you are looking to get away somewhere where you can just relax and be happy, or to try and find yourself, then Madrid is the place for you.
Charming places in the center of Madrid
When I’m in Madrid, I like to walk around the Atocha neighbourhood, stopping off at the Queen Sofia Museum to admire the modern masterpieces of Steve Klein or Picasso, or perhaps Goya in the Prado Museum. On top of this, Madrid has hundreds of independent art galleries filled with effervescent art, young and different. Even though these works of art may never become celebrated masterpieces, they have their own unique value, after all, there are few true Spanish artists left.
Madrid is an eclectic mix of tradition and modernity. One day you could be going to an innovative modern dance show at Matadero, and the next be enjoying the best chocolate con churros at San Ginés.
You could take a stroll up Gran Vía to Callao, passing by the Convent of the Barefoot Nuns where Francis Bacon died when trying to see his love for the last time.
Madrid is Passion. Here they don’t exchange sweet nothings under the Eiffel Tower, they kiss under the Bear And the Strawberry Tree in the lively Puerta del sol square. It’s in this same place where we steal our first kiss and where we lose our first love, to later rediscover it.
Nearby is Campomanes Street, where I love to look out for Mario standing at the doorway of Room Mate Mario Hotel. You can’t miss the chance to have some tapas at San Miguel market. A little further down is Opera Square where I love going to see “Tosca” at the Royal Theatre, waiting in anticipation for the moment where they sing Mario! Mario! It’s my favorite part. The Opera is just a stone’s throw away from the Royal Palace.
Sometimes I think it’s a shame that Zaha Hadid, whose architecture I admire so much, hasn’t completely transformed this city. But in Madrid the old is respected, and left there along with the new. Despite this, it has one of the most important stadiums in the world, Santiago Bernabeu. Not for its architecture, but because some of the best teams in the world have played there.
Madrid is the city that sleeps the siesta, where everyone comes looking for love, but nobody finds it. It is buzzing, traditional, slow and fast, all at once. But first and foremost it’s a city where you can have fun.
I love strolling around Retiro Park, enjoying cool gin tonics on the rooftop of the Hotel Room Mate Oscar, lazy Sundays spent sipping beer and enjoying tapas in the La Latina neighbourhood, and much more.
If you haven’t experienced any of this yet, I invite you to experience Madrid as I have. Make my experiences your own. Make Madrid your own. I’m sure we will meet there, although who knows, perhaps our paths will cross someplace else in the world.
By: Mario Monforte