Madrid Photo Journal: A Kingdom Elsewhere

I recently had a layover in Madrid on my way back home after spending Christmas in Wales. It was January 4th, the day before ‘Three Kings Day‘, which the Spanish celebrate with even greater vigour than they do Christmas.

The weather was glorious, all crisp and bright blue skies, and I spent the day doing what I love most, wandering aimlessly through the pastel-hued streets with my camera in hand, trying to capture a sense of this seductive capital’s soul. Stopping as frequently as possible to top up on tapas and Rioja.

Metro Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8757

Words & photos by your Madrid meandering guide, Ben Holbrook.

In my humble opinion, Madrid is one of the most underrated cities in Europe.

It is every bit as grand and regal as London, every bit as romantic as Rome or Paris. There’s something about the clarity of the light. So much colour. So much character.

Tio Pepe Sign, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9634Yet she doesn’t quite have the loyal following that her sisters boast…

I think it might be due to its scale. Madrid is a difficult city to get, impossible to conquer. Barcelona and Seville are, by comparison, relatively small and manageable.

They surrender everything all at once and happily provide the whirlwind romance most of us want when we travel in Europe.

Lottery Ticket Seller, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9718But Madrid is more of a slow burn. It’s takes a bit more work to get to know.

And there’s an energy, a self-confidence, an indifference to your opinion. The Madrileños don’t need your approval – they know they live in the greatest city on Earth.

Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8871But don’t let me give you the wrong idea here… The people of Madrid are famed for their friendliness and openness.

In fact, I definitely feel more welcome in Madrid than I do in Barcelona, and I know plenty of people who would agree.

Madrid Bear and Strawberry Tree Statue in Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8718I receive emails on a weekly basis from people asking me whether they should visit Barcelona or Granada or Seville or San Sebastian when they come to Spain.

Which is silly, I often think, when you can enjoy a little of them all here in the capital, in this kingdom elsewhere.

Statue of King Charles III, Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Spanish police horses in Puerta del Sol, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8834

Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8721

Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8949

Street Performers Singing in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-8949

Local life in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com

Old fashioned white-coated waiter in Local life in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com

Local life in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com

Local life in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com

Old fashioned white-coated waiter in Local life in Plaza Mayor, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com

Mahou cerveza/beer lorry, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9032

Sobrino de Botín is the oldest restaurant in Madrid – and thought to be the oldest restaurant in the world today.

Sobrino de Botín is the oldest restaurant in Madrid – and thought to be the oldest restaurant in the world today.La Almudena Madrid Cathedral, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9097

La Almudena Madrid Cathedral, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9097

Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9103

Madrid's iconic Metropol building - Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9686

La Latina metro station, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198treet Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9161

La Latina, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198

La Latina, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198

La Latina, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198

La Latina Market / Mercado de la Cebada Madrid

La Latina Market / Mercado de la Cebada MadridLa Latina, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198

La Latina, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9198

Tapas in Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9247

El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Rowing boats in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

The Lake in El Retiro Park, Madrid Street Photography Essay - by Ben Holbrook DriftwoodJournals.com-9268

Palacio De Cristal / Crystal Palace Retiro Park Madrid Spain

The Palacio De Cristal / Crystal Palace in El Retiro Park.The Palacio De Cristal / Crystal Palace in El Retiro Park.

Palacio De Cristal / Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park.

Madrid's Chueca neighbourhood - Popular shopping zone

Madrid Christmas decorations - by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

Madrid's Capitol / Schweppes Building

Eating free Spanish jamon tapas in a bar in Chueca Madrid

Madrid's Plaza Mayor at night

Madrid' Chocoleteria San Gines

Madrid's Puerta del Sol at Night

Madrid Christmas Tree and Decorations in Plaza Mayor - by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

One of the Three Kings in Madrid

Renfe Rail Travel - by Ben Holbrook from DriftwoodJournals.com

Ben Holbrook Travel Photographer on Train in Spain


More Madrid

10 Best Things To Do In Madrid | A Loved Up Guide

Where To Eat Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner In Madrid ~ An Insider’s Guide

Discover Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s Cultural Heart & Soul

Best Wine Bars In Madrid ~ An Inside Guide

Must-try Dishes In Madrid And Where To Eat Them

Madrid’s Best Cheap Eats ~ Budget Tapas Bars & Restaurants

5 Historic Tapas Bars In Madrid ~ A Local’s Guide


 

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