Madrid, the happy city

A city on the move, with the air of a great European capital, but with the rhythm of a capital of the amusement. With tapas y cervezas!

In Madrid some prefer red wines, really very tasteful, from Rioja, but most of the time you will see only a lot of freshly poured mugs of beer, often Heineken, but also Cruzcampo, served extra cold.

The “movida” of Madrid - foto di Matteo Cervati

Especially in summer, when in Madrid severe sun heats your head and an extra cold beer gathers your thoughts and helps your brain to work again.During the day, it is easy to get around quickly. The underground is excellent and covers the whole city, cabs are very frequent and not expensive, buses make you get in touch with local people and to see more places. You must absolutely pay a visit to Plaza Mayor, the heart of the old town, ancient temple of bullfights, that today is a pleasant meeting-point with its numerous bars and restaurants. Then go down to the enormous Royal Palace, with its 2,800 rooms, that are more frequented by tourists than by the Royal Family, that prefers a less monarchic attitude and meet in the palace almost only in the occasion of official events.

Irish Rover - photo by Matteo Cervati

Cross the garden towards the Opera Theatre and have a rest at the Café de Oriente, where, in a very elegant surrounding, there is plenty of Heineken to drink. For lunch, then, stop by at the Avenida de Brasil. Coming out from the underground you would admire, in all its majesty, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, so meaningful to Italians because of the “mundial” victory in 1982 and temple of the “merengues”, as the players of the del Real Madrid football team are called for the white colour of their shirt, but also because in Madrid you can eat the best meringues in the world. In that avenida, anyway, there is the Irish Rover, a fantastic Irish pub much loved by the people of Madrid. Perfect decor, excellent beers (Heineken, Murphy’s Red, Affligem), international pub cuisine with evident Spanish influences. After relaxing yourself, you can then choose to reach Ventas to admire the magnificent and impressive Plaza de Toros. The tourist visit is worthwhile, regardless of the rightful opinions on the bullfights, but to see the arena, the terraces and the Bull Museum is really an unmissable emotion. Or go instead to the Prado Museum, one of the most famous galleries in the world, to admire the paintings of the great Spanish artists, such as Goya, El Greco and Velázquez. But be careful because the famous “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso is not there, but in the near Reina Sofia Museum.

The Cerveceria Riaño - photo by Matteo Cervati

Such a cultural afternoon, then, can only end in a classic pub of the Spanish tradition. Our suggestion is the Cerveceria Riaño, because it is a bit far from the usual tourist routes and for its excellent tapas: try the fresh and low-calories gazpacho and salmorejo, the crayfish sprinkled with a pinch of salt, the savoury meat called “presa iberica”, the fleshy anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea, the rabo, the tail of bull, and so on. It is almost useless to say that all dishes are accompanied by the excellent Cruzcampo Glacial or by the almost “novice” Cruzcampo Gran Reserva.Then, have a stroll through the centre of Madrid, maybe choosing as a starting point the underground stop “Sol”: you will notice how this city is full of life and joy. It is a relatively new town, a capital strongly wanted by the Spanish kings; it is practically in the very centre of Spain and, at the same time, it represents its most true and most real essence. Maybe there are not the great monuments that identify a classic capital, such as the Tour Eiffel in Paris, or the Coliseum in Rome, but, in return, there is the atmosphere, there are the vibrations. And it is not sure that these are less important than the others. In Madrid it is amazing to wander aimlessly, to go shopping or to get lost in the oldest alleys, to stop for a beer or to enjoy a blue and bright sky that, not by chance, was so loved by many famous painters. And, at nightfall, don’t go to sleep, because the city will show you all its lights and faces. And to have little fun. Maybe only a dish of jamon iberico and a cerveza