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From Madrid with love #places

4 min read

Places can affect us, create a certain atmosphere that remains for a long time, and give us new impressions. What is a city like? Where does this feeling come from, the effect that you feel in the city? In our #places section, we take you to the European capitals – to introduce you to places, personalities, buildings that reflect the city in all its facets. Let’s go to … Madrid!

Edificio Metropoli, Gran vía in Madrid
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

Country: Spain
Inhabitants: ca. 6,55 million
Area:  605,770 km2
Famous Landmark: Plaza Mayor

Paris is so 90s - who really wants to go to the city of love is going to Madrid. In the capital of Spain, love is lived and shown. Madrid, the third biggest city in Europe after London and Berlin, is a city teeming with majestic buildings and impressive architecture. The city has relied on contemporary architecture in recent decades and has become a city where modern buildings and renovated old buildings are already among the most representative landmarks of the capital. Architects such as César Pelli, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers or Herzog & de Meuron have been able to give the city a new face by perfectly integrating spaces that in some cases seem to come from the future.

Plaza de Cibeles with the Cibeles fountain in the front and the Palacio de Communicaciones in the back
Plaza Mayor with equestrian statue and people walking on the square

Architecture

The highlight of the Plaza de Cibeles is unmistakable and shiny - the fountain, on which the Greek goddess of fertility and nature sits enthroned, drawn by two lions that symbolize the power of the goddess. If you're a soccer fan, you have certainly seen this landmark of Madrid before, because Real Madrid has already celebrated many victories in the Plaza.

Behind the fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles stands the Palacio de Comunicaciones - the main post office of the city and a very impressive building.

Address: Plaza Cibeles, 28014 Madrid

Built as early as the beginning of the 17th century according to the designs of architect Juan de Herrera, the 129 x 94-meter Plaza Mayor remains the heart of the city. Bullfights, executions and carnivals used to happen here. And today locals as well as tourists sit in the (overpriced) restaurants, drinking coffee solo and listening to the street musicians.

Address: Plaza Mayor, 28012 Madrid

 

CaixaForum Madrid is a dynamic socio-cultural center of the 21st century in an impressive building. It devotes its program to both ancient, modern and contemporary art. Music and poetry festivals, multimedia art, current debates, conferences on social issues and workshops for families and students are among the activities. A café, a bookstore and a restaurant complete the offer.

The spectacular construction of the cultural center on the Paseo del Prado is located between the three large art galleries of the Paseo del Arte: Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia. As part of the renovation of the former power plant, the Central Eléctrica del Mediodía, Herzog & De Meuron gave the building from the industrial era two unmistakable features: a vertical garden on an adjacent façade and the building itself was put in a state of suspense.

Address: Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid

Interesting Places

The former slaughterhouse of the city of Madrid in Madrid Río has been converted into a huge cultural center: Matadero Madrid, Contemporary Arts Center. It is housed in a series of industrial buildings built between 1908 and 1928 by Luis Bellido as dependencies of the Madrid cattle market. These form one of the most interesting building complexes in the city. Today, this industry heritage is dedicated to the exploration and creation of culture and offers a variety of activities designed to foster citizen participation. Each of the pavilions is given to a specific area of ​​culture with its program and services: for example, the art of the stage is housed in the Naves del Español, design in the Central de Diseño, visual art in the Cineteca and literature in the Casa del Lector.

Address: Plaza de Legazpi, 8, 28045  Madrid

 

Restaurants and Bars

It used to be normal for a lunch to last for two hours. Each tavern had its specialty, some made the best prawns, others were famous for their mushrooms. People have moved from tavern to tavern and ate the respective specialty with a glass of beer or wine. Nowadays everything is ordered on big plates and shared with the whole round. Traditionally, tapas are served on the plate. On the bread they are called ponchos. In taverns there is also the rule to always ask the waiter for a recommendation of the day that is not on the menu and to order it. You will not regret it.

 

Juana Limón Café and Bakery Interior
Juana Limón Café with tables and chairs

Juana Limón is a coffee shop and bakery next to Retiro Park in Madrid. Lucas y Hernández-Gil Arquitectos realized the architectural project, de furniture design and the graphic design of the 50 square metershop-café. You will find are homemade pastries, cookies, fresh orange juice and delicious coffee.

Address: Calle o'Donnell 15, 28009 Madrid

Do not wonder when entering La Casa del Abuelo on Calle de Goya. It is normal that the shrimp tails are thrown on the ground. This used to be a quality mark. The fuller the floor, the more people were there to eat. The tavern specializes in shrimp. It is available with garlic and parsley, grilled, in croquettes or as king prawns.

Address: Calle de Goya, 57A, 28001 Madrid

Recipe Tortilla española

Tortilla de Patatas is one of the most popular tapas in Spain. And every chef makes them a little different. Only the basic ingredients are always the same: potatoes, eggs, olive oil and salt. In Madrid onion is the next main ingredient.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 4 to 5 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • ¼ liter olive oil
  • salt

Preparation

Peel, wash and dry the potatoes. Cut into thin slices and cook over medium heat in a deep pan in olive oil. Add finely chopped onion and fry slowly with the potatoes until they are soft and slightly golden. It is advisable to stir the ingredients with a slotted spoon and mince them at the same time. Remove after 10 minutes and drain. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with a little salt and stir in the potatoes with the onions. Cover the bottom of the pan with a small amount of frying oil and pour in the whole mixture. Put the lid on and let it stand on a low flame for about 5 to 10 minutes until one side is golden. Turn the omelette with a lid and let the other side slowly set in the pan. The omelette should be golden on both sides.

Drinks to match the tortilla

With the tortilla fits a light country wine, for example, from the Rioja, from Navarre or Catalonia. But beer is not bad either. The most popular brands in Spain include Estrella Galicia and Mahou.

 

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