Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

Name: Steve Cole

Age: 27

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Occupation: Teacher

Status: Single

Diva Minds Want to Know…

1. Where do you like to flirt?

In Malasaña, on Friday and Saturday nights—Sala Barco, Sala Sol off Montera, La Latina on Sundays—El Tomas, El Bonano…

2. Where is your favorite table for two?

El Imperfecto off Calle Huertas—best Mojitos in town, El Matador—great bar and atmosphere off Sol, Bar Remember in Malasana off Dos del Mayo—amazing music. For eating—Fatiguer de Querer off Sol (nice tapas), Conspiradores near Anton Martin (amazing Huevas Rotos), the Taj on Calle Marques de Cubas (best curries in Madrid for those missing spice), Lateral on Calle Fuencarral (sleek, modern, tasty), either of the Pizzerias on Dos Del Mayo (lovely in the sun with a beer or a glass of red).

3. Where should we stay when we visit?

Centrally… sounds like a cliché, but you can strike out anywhere from there. There are lots of great hotels clustered around Sol.

4. What qualities do you find irresistible in a woman?

Intelligence, a great sense of humour, loyalty, confidence and women who are cool but don’t always know it…. Hipsters without being knowingly “hip”.

5. Where can we find you on a free Sunday afternoon?

La Latina, El Retiro (The Big Park in Madrid), or at a Terraza….

6. What do you love most about your hometown (besides our arrival)?

Its friendliness and openness towards people; the fact its easily navigable on foot; its forward-thinking attitude, the relaxed but energetic lifestyle of the city—its a total 24-hour city which manages to be both laid back and hedonistic at the same time; its music scene, its lack of pretension… What’s not to love about this place?

7. What should we bring when we visit? What should we leave with?

In the summer, sunscreen and shades (it gets hot!); in the winter, a big warm coat. I’d buy the Lonely Planet guide too. Leave with little or no sleep—having spent the night eating great food and enjoying the amazing bars open (in some places) til 8 a.m.

8. What do we absolutely have to see while we’re there?

Three of the world’s best Art galleries—the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia. Amazing collections—well laid out and accessible. Also try and fit in Plaza Mayor (the main square and centre of Madrid), Plaza Santa Ana and the Royal Palace—beautiful architecture. If you’re staying longer, try to see one of the city’s amazing parks. If you’re over on a Sunday, check out the Rastro—a market where you can buy almost everything from samurai swords to spices. If you’re a soccer fan—the Bernabeau, home of Spain’s premier football team Real Madrid.

9. Any areas of town we should avoid?

Sol can be a bit touristy and tacky. I would avoid any Irish bars in the centre, (Except the one next to Huertas and Santa Ana, El Parnisilla, I think its called, which is brilliant.) Push yourself to go to La Latina, Malasaña or Chueca—break out of the centre and explore.

10. Any local secrets you want to share?

Malasaña is one of the best places to drink in the world—great music, atmosphere and people. La Latina on a Sunday night is a must too—watch the Spanish stretch the weekend out as fully as possible. Speak Spanish—people really appreciate it and are very patient! Go to the Campo Del Moro, a secluded but lovely spot, great for leafy summer walks. It’s hidden and special.

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