Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A page from my little black book.... Madrid

Here is a page from my famous little black book.
Everywhere I go, I always bring with me a black book where I scribble down addresses to unique stores, restaurants, hotels, names of random homeless I spend afternoons drinking alcohol free red wine with, Places i have to remember, sketches of details from a curtain I walk by, numbers to call when you are lost in Tokyo one evening, or just thoughts that tumble down from the sky as I slowly inhale the mist from a peony in a public park. You never really know when you might need that info, or just lean back and walk down memory lane. So here are some places that will enrich your stay in Madrid....enjoy.

Madrid is so full of hotels that it is hard to choose, but here are just a few that has caught my interest:
You want to be down town, with a balcony on the 7th floor, stunning view of the rooftops, high ceiling rooms and a price that can stretch your shopping budget a bit further. Hostal Andorra is your place. Above is a picture of me on it´s balcony.
It is located on one of the most historic streets in Madrid, Gran Via. This year the street celebrates it’s 100th anniversary and used to be the movie strip of old. Che has walked this street and so has Martin Luther king. Not that that would make any difference, but it is the kind of useless information that can fill up the back of your mind as you walk in their footsteps.
Hostal Andorra has a very modern entrance on Gran Via, but it’s rooms are faced away from the street when you enter on the 7th floor. It is a quite hostal, with a dash of nostalgia, budget and with a view to die for.
Hostal Andorra
Gran Via 33-7
28013 Madrid

Here are some amazing stores to check out.
First off, you have to pay Carolina Herrera´s store in Serrano a visit just to set the tone for the rest of the day. This street is just a 10-minute walk from Gran Via and a very high end must. Even if you cannot afford anything here, it has the most laidback luxurious atmosphere ever. Just walk around and smell the good design.
Back on mother earth you should spend the rest of the day in the fabulous Chueca district. Here you find everything you have ever dreamt of. Chueca is a fashion Mecca without the snobbish attitude, wals in to the different stores with whatever you put on that day and be greeted the same way as if your for head was tattooed with Gucci logos:)
Now if you wanted a lot of the clothes from Serrano street but could not afford it, smile and be happy because there is a store called L´habilleur
L'Habilleur is a very fancy outlet selling samples and end-of-season designer clothes at a large discount. See, i told you to start smiling. Beautiful,big and bold. Enter and spend hours just having fun trying everything on before settling for a really amazing Marc Jacobs dress. If you happen to be in Paris, they have one there too. Here are the addresses:
Plaza de Chueca 8, 28004 Madrid
44, rue de poitou, 75003 Paris

And by all means whatever you do, you do not take taxis in Madrid, you walk or take the metro. Taxis are great at night when you just want to go home, but during the day, you want to smell, explore and breathe, and that you cannot do when jetting around in a taxi. Take my word for it... in Madrid you walk. Actually word of advice goes for all the places I have ever visited:)

Chueca is full of pearl like stores so here follows some addresses to the few you would definitely want to visit.

Before you are done you really need to check out the shoes made by Monica Garcia, but since I cannot find the address right now find it online at You will love it! Quirky, soft yet grown up.

Then comes the recreational part... besides shopping:)

Alone, with kids or in the arms of a loved one, go to the botanical garden, it’s a peaceful little city backyard that will enable you to digest the sights you have encountered so far in Madrid. Sit on a bench and close your eyes, read a book and lay down on the grass, kiss under a rose tree (yes that actually exist), watch the slow life go by and just breathe. If you are in Madrid during the fall bring a hot chocolate Spanish style to warm your hands on.

Madrid has an amazing triangle of art museums. Their collections cover it all and are world famous, but you will need three days to go through them all. It is a lot to take in and the museums are huge! So I will pick for you if you only have a day to spare.
Go to
It has a permanent collection like no other I have ever seen and feature wonderful temporary exebitions. If you are a modernist at heart go to Reina Sofia museum( Picasso’s Guernica is on display and if you like Goya or Velasquez you should pay Prado( a visit. It is really quite hard to choose, but the above-mentioned order is a good option. However if I were you, you now have an excuse to go back three times and take one museum at the time. Like the idea? That is what I did:)

You should also check out city yoga if you feel like a good stretch after a long day in the city. They even have classes in English and with kids. And if i did not mention it... they offer a variety of massages as well.
Here is their web address:

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