My Madrid, for you…

To be honest, Madrid isn’t a city that mesmerized me at first, wasn’t love at first sight, but it’s appeal has grown a lot since then.  All my trips were nice, of course, but I didn’t find it charming as others. Nonetheless, in my last couple of visits  I found the vibrant and energetic city that people are so fond of. I discovered the kindness of spaniards, the food, and of course the night life.

With all that said, I want to leave in writing -sort of my official apologies – a few suggestions of places to visit, hoping you might find them interesting and enjoyable as I did.

 

  1. Matadero Madrid: In Aranzuela,  what used to be a slaughter house is now a center for contemporary art, with theaters, cinemas, coffee shops and farm-to-table restaurants.
  2. Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales:  Cloistered nuns still live and walk around barefoot here. Other than being a oasis of peace in the middle of Madrid, it’s a place to see beautiful art by Titian, Hans de Beken and others.
  3. Argensola Street: Located in the Salamanca Neighbourhood, it’s the place to go shopping for local products and independent designer stores.
  4. El Ganso: Also at the Salamanca Neighborhood ( Serrano 47) it’s my favorite store in that area particularly to shop for clothes and shoes.
  5. Federica and Co: It’s a tiny open mall hidden at Hermosilla 26. There you will find a great selection of antique china, furniture and delicate knits.
  6. Barrio de las Letras: The neighborhood where Cervantes and Lope de Vega lived, in it’s narrow streets you will find today art galleries and vintage shops.
  7. El Corte Ingles: The most famous department store in Spain and probably a mandatory stop for everyone. My recommendation is to go to the one located in Plaza del Callao, the fourth floor is a foodies heaven, besides the perfect place to buy edible presents and souveniers.
  8. La Portegna: For travelers and wanderlusts like me, this is a beautiful store that specializes in luggage and briefcases all handmade in Andalucia.

 

Food and drinks are highly appreciated in Madrid’s culture.  It’s been hard to make a list of the good restaurants because all of them are excelent. So instead here is a list of the more memorable ones for me:

 

  1. Ten con Ten: My favorite in Madrid and perhaps in the world. Everything on the menu is extraordinary.  My recommendations are the Broiled Octopus (Pulpo Pedreiro), the Potatoes with shrimps and the Risotto with Truffles. The ambiance reflects the essence of Madrid’s nightlife, the bar, the drinks and the DJ are the perfect combination for a great night out. restaurantetenconten.com

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  1. Paraguas: The perfect place to enjoy a long meal, with great wine. The specialty is seafood but there are delicious dishes for meat lovers too, like the burger with foie. My choice is the Black Cod with Broiled Apple’s Sauce. elparaguas.com

 

  1. Arzabal: Is the place where chefs eat when they want authentic spanish food perfectly prepared. Best bets are the Ham Croquettes and the Truffled Eggs.  arzabal.com

 

 

  1. Arriba:  Chef Ramon Freixa’s new restaurant. It occupies and old  cinema that has been redecorated in a clubby style. Very popular with the younger crowd.  restaurantearriba.com

 

 

  1. Bosco de Lobos: Located in Barrio La Chueca, by chefs Tomas Tarruella and Perico Cortés, the restaurant is beautifully decorated with floor to ceeling windows and light wood tables. The menú offers a wide selection of dishes. ecompaniadelobos.com

 

 

  1. Taberna La Carmencita: The original ceramic tiles are still part of the deccor – it was a tabern during the 19th century.  By the acclaimed chef Carlos Zamora who is famous for restaurants like Deluz and El Machi, serves traditional dishes with a twist and prepared with organic ingredients. tabernalacarmencita.es

As it happens with the beloved, Madrid was mine, is mine…I am taking it with me, and also giving it to you…

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TIPS FOR VINTAGE SHOPPING

IMG_1439One of my favorite activities to do when traveling is going to markets, antiques, fleas, food and beverages, all sorts of them. Buying vintage things always gets me excited, I enjoy the whole process. First I research the place, locate it, start the hunt ( to be honest bargaining I dont enjoy much), find a hidden treasure, something forgotten, ask many questions about origin and history, take it with me while imagining it’s whole story, where it’s been, who it belonged to. I also think about where will it go after me. So my closet and house are decorated with all the halves stories  I was told and made up plus the mistery they enclosure, which makes me love them even more.

Vintage vs Antique: The main distinction between those terms is time. In order to be considered vintage the piece must be at least 20 years old. To be considered antique it must be a 100 years old. In fashion, the majority of the things offered are vintage or simply second hand. Another term that is important to understand is “retro”, this things are manufactured in the present but with a nostalgic feeling or style to them.

Advantages of shopping Vintage:

 

  1. It is a form of sustainable living, complying with the 3 R’s Reduce, Reuse and Recicle ( the tree hugger in me talking here)
  2. It’s unique. At times where everything is produced in large quantities, you get something special, different and with history.
  3. Great quality. Not only many things in the past where handmade and with better quality than now, but a vintage ítem has already passed the test of time.
  4. Support the independent business and entreprenours. Also, many times second hand stores benefit different charities and NGOs.
  5. Save money. Usually vintage items are priced 20% or less than brand new.

 

If you are shopping for small things, with low prices I think the best approach is to go with what your heart desires. Let your self go and choose the things that you like the most. But if you re going to make an investment in a special ítem, is better to be well informed, to avoid counterfeit objects.

 

My advice as follows:

– Know the brand you are buying vintage. I try to buy only brands that I am very familiar with.

-Buy from a well know  and stablished seller. This places usually have experts to detect counterfeit objects. In my post “Vintage Shopping Address Book”  you will find a list.

-Once you buy the ítem, bring it to the brand store and ask them to inspect it, most of them will. Also if your item is in less than perfect condition, many of them will give it mantainance for a small charge.

-Some brands have a security code. In my post “Vintage Shopping Address Book” you will also find this important information.

Among my favorite places to shop for vintage things are Saint Ouen Market in Paris and Alfies Antique Market in London. Make sure you check their maps before going, because they are huge.

In Japan, stores have the best variety of items in great condition. I love Amore Tokyo and Rag Tag.

When in Madrid, my usual place is Corachan y Delgado, is a wonderful store owned by Pedro Almodovar movies’s stylist.

You can check the complete list in the address book that I posted, and if you know a place worth sharing, please write me to include it.

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