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Postcard From Madrid, Spain

Juan-Carlo Tomás

In this captivating dispatch, we hear from Australian-born writer Juan-Carlo Tomás who explains why he loves life in Madrid. Juan-Carlo takes us through a typical day in the life of a Madrileño. And there's plenty to love - from coffee, long lunches, and siesta to museum visits, tapas and late, late dinners.

Juan-Carlo moved to Madrid to explore his family history, improve his Spanish and explore its food and other cultural attractions.

To get to know the city and understand its nuances, he initially moved to a different neighbourhood - or barrio - month by month.

Juan-Carlo says the bustling historic marketplace is the community heart of each neighbourhood and is an excellent way to get to know your neighbours.

People come to shop, chat, share snacks and drink a little wine or Sherry. Juan-Carlo's favourite markets include:

  • Mercado de la Cebada, the old barley market in the Barrio de La Latina, for its fish market and its location in the oldest and most romantic part of the city

  • Mercado de Anton Martin, a much smaller market in Barrio de las Letras, that boasts some of the most exciting food to be found in Madrid

  • Mercado de Santa Maria de la Cabeza, in the south of the city in Barrio Arganzuela, where elderly residents pass their time at cafes, and tourists are rarely seen.

  • And Mercado de Vallhermoso in Barrio Chamberi in the north where cutting edge Michelin-starred food sits side by side with poultry sellers, spice shops and fishmongers.

Jamón, a food group in its own right in Madrid

You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear which city market he says is a popular tourist trap to be avoided, and about the dishes that are emblematic of Madrid, but also where to get an authentic Aussie “flat white” for when that’s just what’s needed.

Gran Via, Madrid's most famous street

A popular Madrid pastime in the late afternoon, after the markets close, is to stroll and visit one of Madrid’s world-famous museums, and Juan-Carlo shares a hot tip on a unique and moving museum experience that can only be had in Madrid.

The Royal Palace, Madrid

There’s plenty more in this episode to whet your appetite for Madrid, the Spain of royalty, romance, literature and drama, and where jamón is a food category of its own. Click here to listen.


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