red building madridFor someone who currently lives in Madrid, I don’t write nearly enough about this great city. I guess it’s like the saying goes: the grass always seems greener on the other side. Well, the grass is rarely green in dry, sunny Spain – but the sky is (famously) blue, the buildings vibrant, and the lifestyle even more so. So let’s back-track and return to a few of the places I’ve been (re)discovering these past few weeks…

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With Black Friday behind us and the city’s Christmas lights on full display, Madrid’s navideño spirit is alive and well. The holidays are only a few weeks away, and while some of us are looking forward to a few days of sleeping in and reading by the fireplace, others are in full-on gift hunting mode and ready to find something for everyone on their list. So, in the spirit of giving, I contributed a guest post over at Naked Madrid about the best Christmas markets going on in the Spanish capital. From pop-ups that only last a few days, to season-long traditional “mercadillos”, these are my recommendations for Madrid’s best Christmas markets.
[Photo credit: TheHovse]


movie tickets
Starting today, for the next three days, is Madrid’s annual “Fiesta del Cine“. From the 27th to the 29th of October, movies are only €2.90 for all those who sign up on the official website for a special code. So while we can watch almost anything online, it will never beat the feeling of seeing a movie on the big screen. Three days of dirt cheap movies in Madrid… What to see?

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Pop up stores seem to be, well, popping up everywhere in Madrid. A trend that had its moment in the U.S a few years ago, is now catching on in the Spanish capital. And at a time when it is virtually impossible to open a small business and survive; artisans, boutique owners, and even cinemas are opting for the more pocket-friendly and mass-drawing option of the pop-up store. As temperatures rise, there are a few ephemeral spots that will only be around this summer…

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Spain is not exactly well known for its contemporary art… Velazquez, Goya, Sorolla; these are the names that come to mind when I tell visiting friends which artists’ works to see if they come to Spain. But this summer, the city of Madrid Is Pop. The Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza, two of Madrid’s most prominent (and, it just so happens, my favorite) museums picked the ironic and critical pop art as the main theme of their current exhibits.

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A few months ago I was staring at a blank page, trying to come up with a story, when I remembered a writing exercise I started in a workshop once: think of a place you’d go to to escape and write about it. So that’s what I did. And the result was the piece of work published just last week by Bricolage Magazine, ‘Everyone Wears Flip-Flops’. In my imagination (and story) I go back in time and space to my favorite place in the entire world.

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One of the great things about traveling is stumbling upon the unexpected. You map out a plan and set out to see one thing, only to find that the most interesting sights are the ones you didn’t foresee. This weekend we went on a short road trip; our destination: Vitoria. And while I expected a historical city center, cathedral, and “plaza mayor”, what I didn’t expect to find was Spain’s very own muralled city.

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As clearly illustrated by the New York Film Academy, only 8% of directors of general feature releases are women. And so, in response to this evident disparity, the Birds Eye View Film Festival was created, which began as just an hour-long event filled with shorts by emerging female filmmakers. Twelve years later, the festival continues to champion some of the brightest female filmmakers of our time.

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