Name: Miguel Ángel Medina
Born in: Huelma, Jaén, Spain
Currently in: Madrid
Do you live in Madrid?
Yes, I’ve been here 17 years. I’ve moved more than 10 times and lived in different neighbourhoods, in the north and the south – Argüelles, Cuatro Caminos, Estrecho, Canal – now I live in Lavapiés, at least until I have to leave because of high prices.
When did you first come to Madrid?
In 2000 to study journalism in the Complutense (University). My first memory is grabbing a map of Metro Line 1 and walking the route directly above it to learn the streets. Then I did the same thing with the other lines. It might seem like a not-so-well thought out plan, but it worked: at school I found out that I knew the city much better than some of my classmates from Madrid who only knew how to get around their neighbourhoods.
What’s your favourite bar in Madrid?
Misa de 8:00, in Lavapiés. It’s a chill – and cheap – place to grab a drink with good music and a nice vibe. The only problem is that it’s small, so when it gets full it’s hard to get in.
It depends on with who and for what. If it’s your parents on a weekend visit: the Galician restaurant O Pazo de Lugo, in Lavapiés. If you want some delicious Spanish food with your partner: La Puebla, in Sol. To try something surprising, and to discover, with whomever, that casquería (offal) is actually awesome: La Tasquería, in O’Donnell. And to try haute cuisine at reasonable prices, Bazaar, in Chueca.
What are three things you think a tourist shouldn’t miss in Madrid?
Retiro Park on Sundays, sunset from the Sabatini gardens next to the Royal Palace, and the rooms with the Velázquez and Goya paintings at the Prado museum. Sorry to be so typical, but it’s what I like the best.
- Favourite neighbourhood?
Lavapiés, it has so much life and a mix of older people that have lived here all their lives, immigrants and, increasingly so, hipsters. Let’s just hope that it’ll be a while before it’s completely run over by the hipsters.
The stairs at the San Fernando market, en Lavapiés. I spend a lot of days there watching people go in and out of the market, a mix of older ladies buying tomatoes and hipsters having glasses of wine.
What do you like most about Madrid?
That the people living here are open and that everyone comes from outside Madrid, which is a good cure for Madrid nationalism. Now, due to other circumstances, we’re seeing Spanish nationalism on a lot of the balconies, which I don’t like as much.
- What do you miss most when you’re away?
The organized chaos, which you can see from Lavapiés to Gran Vía. I love it!
If you only had 24 hours in Madrid, what would you do?
I would do my typical route, one that I’ve done so many times before: walking from Bilbao to Gran Vía, then crossing through Plaza de España to see Templo de Debod, continuing on to calle Bailén to see the Sabatini gardens and the Royal Palace. Then I’d go over the puente de Segovia to see the views, before doubling back up calle Mayor towards magical little Plaza de la Villa, wandering a bit around all the small side streets before I ended up in Plaza Mayor. Then I’d go up carrera de San Jerónimo, pass by Congress, Neptuno and paseo del Prado, walk towards Iglesia de los Jerónimos before finishing up in Retiro. It’s an easy walk to do in three or four hours and it gives you a great idea of the city.