Most people who know me would tell you that I must be on facebook all the live long day. And with an iphone in my bag of Mommy tricks that was probably true- until recently. I’m actually stepping out on facebook with twitter, its wilder smarter and more mysterious brother. Returning from Madrid, I realized that I could continue exploring my favorite city by following its diverse people. I wasn’t wrong in my assumption. Currently, I am following over 300 people who have their own unique angle on Madrid. Over the course of a few months, I began to follow tweets displaying various information on Madrid food, culture, events, music, bars, art, theatre, opera, current events and history.
It was especially facinating finding a twitter feed that led me to a spanish blog which proved as riveting as two books recent read, Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett and The New Spaniards by John Hooper. What made this blog even more desirable to me, was that it zeroed in on the city of Madrid’s rich detailed history that could easily be dismissed, discarded or just plain overlooked. Not suprisingly, there are many blogs nowadays but few are really well done or consistent updating content. Secretos de Madrid is a deep well documented history of Madrid told in a random order, inspired by street names, old photos and even heavy metal local inhabitants. And this blogger is dedicated.
Whether he’s covering the story of a misguided angel landing upon Madrid rooftops, following the bittersweet perigrination of the infamous Tio Pepe sign, or the sinister history of the street named after a decapitated head, Secretos de Madrid’s posts are written to interest anyone visiting Madrid for a short period or even one of the over 3 million inhabitants that occupy the city, unaware of its beautiful profound detail.
The author of this insightful blog is a thoughtful young gentleman by the name of Manu. I took one of his quotes so as to fully describe what he aims to do.
“Lo que más me fascina de ella es su capacidad de adaptación sin límites, de simple fortaleza a villa, y en apenas cuatro siglos a urbe cosmopolita de primer orden mundial. En agradecimiento infinito a ese recibimiento y en homenaje a esa historia convulsa de cambios y crecimientos sin medida va este blog. Bienvenidos” -Manu
Here is the my translation in English,
“What facinates me the most (Madrid) is her capacity for limitless adapting, a simple strength of spirit, with only four centuries of being a first world urban cosmopolitan city. Because I am infinitely grateful for this realization, this blog is a homage to its convulsive changes and its inmeasurable growth.
Secretos solved one of my mysteries. After celebrating our wedding anniversary over a wonderful dinner at La Gastroteca de Santiago, my husband and I decided to walk back to our hotel. From Plaza de Santiago, we decided to find Kathmandu, an old club I used to frequent as a student in the 1990’s. Once on Calle Senores de Luzon, a fairly narrow cobbletsone street, we located the club which was closed as it was Madrid’s shut down month, August. Well, hey at least it was still open 17 years later and that me feel somewhat young. The street then let us out into Calle Mayor where unbeknownst to me, Plaza de la Villa is located. Andy took a few shots of me walking past the Plaza slowly, looking at the statue and surrounding buildings. It was deserted on a summer Monday night, so it was easy to notice that this medieval plaza must be historically relevant. Except, I had no idea what it represented. I obviously didn’t delve enough when I lived in Madrid back in the 90’s as I was too busy trying to cover many areas of Western Europe.
According to Secretos de Madrid Plaza de la Villa is comprised of three buildings- the fiftienth century gothic-moorish influenced Lujanes Tower named after a successful aragon merchant family, the Cisneros House and Casa de la Villa City Hall that for 300 years served as the headquarters for Madrid’s city hall. One of the wonderful historical tidbits he provides is that the tower was a prison for the King of France, Francis the First after the Battle of Pavia. As he was being imprisoned, to humilate he him even further, his captors had him enter through door where he would have to bow his head and in those times for a king that was unheard of.
I loved that Manu likes to begin his route through the great Asturian area of Madrid at the Plaza de la Villa, away from the crazy bustle of Plaza del Sol or the infamous Plaza Mayor. His writing can be personal and yet demonstrative of why someone like me loves illuminated Madrid.