Phil's Travels - Madrid
Madrid, Spain (April/May 2014)
During April and May 2014 I have made quite a few visits to Madrid on a very confidential, but extremely exciting new project. More on that in September hopefully.
Having been to Madrid with the family between Xmas and New Year last year, I returned with a little trepidation. Madrid for all its glories and history is not a very international tourist friendly place. Barcelona is much more geared towards the expectations of an international leisure tourist, whereas Madrid feels much more local and Spanish. For example, few people in the small independent hospitality businesses speak English, the restaurants and cafes tend to serve very local cuisine, and the opening hours are very domestic in their timings.
But I love Madrid for what it is. It may not appeal to my family because of its very Spanishness, but I love it. The food was delicious and the people very welcoming. The only blot on the landscape was the weather, which was wetter and windier than even London during each of my four or five visits.
The heart of our new project is not far from the home of Real Madrid FC, the Bernabeu Stadium. What an impressive structure, right in the beating heart of the business district. Well, this impressive structure is about to be become even more impressive, with Real Madrid announcing that GMP architects are to design an extension and remodel the exterior. This £330m project will see the capacity increase from an already heady 85,454 seats to well over 100,000 seats. The renderings look stunning. Good luck Real, but I hope Athletico win the Champions League Final on 24 May 2014 in Lisbon. Olé, Madrid, what a place!