Interview by Nancy Todd
MadridMan, created his travel web site before most of us knew what a blog was. Started fifteen years ago, with his passion for Madrid, he continues to write about many cities in Spain. He refers to himself as a ‘Madrid Maniac’ and his site, complete with a forum, makes referrals to apartments, hotels, and hostels.
Describe your role with your website and how it evolved.
I’m the sole operator/manager of MadridMan.com. My role has evolved from that of a website creator to a Marketer, Advertiser, Writer, and somewhat of an Internet personality. MadridMan.com is reaching its 15th birthday in July 2012 with the domain name registered in 1997. But “MadridMan’s Yankee Home Page”, as it was called for its first 10 years, was born online in 1996.
1. What is the most satisfying part of your work?
The most satisfying part of my work is introducing Madrid – the city I most love in the world – to first-time visitors. The second most satisfying part of my work is doing it from home and being my own boss.
2. Why did you decide to start your site?
Everybody needs a hobby and “MadridMan” was mine. I first visited Madrid in 1995, one year before I started the website, and immediately fell in love with her. You could say it was love at first sight. I’d visited Europe before, but Madrid was special for me, I suppose, because I’d studied Spanish for several years and taken a number of Spanish literature and art classes in High School and at the University. I started MadridMan.com to combine my new passion for Madrid with my interest in computers and the blossoming Internet.
3. What is the most popular part of your site?
People tend to visit MadridMan.com in search of lodging in Madrid, but the most interactive part is the ALL SPAIN Message Board – with a strong focus on Madrid. There, people ask questions and share their travel experiences.
3. Tell us more about Madrid. Madrid is a noisy city. Where do you go to relax and be quiet?
For me, working at home, I get to relax and be quiet every day I’m here. There’s no place more peaceful. But for visitors, one can find acoustic shelter at Madrid’s large city park, Retiro Park.
4. What is your favorite museum?
The Prado Museum is my favorite as I prefer the classical art style.
5. What is the strangest thing/place about Madrid?
The strangest thing about Madrid (and Spain) to visiting Americans is the food. Spaniards eat some of the most unusual seafood I’d ever seen before moving here like squid, octopus and baked whole fish to name a few. This isn’t strange for Spaniards, of course.
6. Where do you like to go for the best food?
My neighborhood bar, “Cafetería Javi” has a fastastic 7 Euros “Menú del Día” lunch which can’t be beat. But in Old Downtown Madrid, my first choice is the Bar Postas on Calle Postas, 13, right next to the Plaza Mayor. They have the greatest variety, the best “raciones”, the best prices and a very Spanish clientele. It’s a small place, however, and only about 4 stools on which to sit. Most people stand at the bar to eat and drink.
7. What is your favorite neighborhood?
Huertas is my favorite neighborhood. Although Huertas is now being labeled as “Barrio de Las Letras”, I prefer the local term. Huertas has some of the best tapas bars and narrowest streets. This neighborhood was home to countless Madrid writers from the 16th and 17 centuries.
8. How do you see the future of the internet affecting your business?
Since mine IS an Internet business, MadridMan.com will evolve along with the Internet. “Evolve or Die”, as they say. But with time, there’s ever-increasing competition as well.
9. Where is a great place in Spain where you travel for a get away?
For short get-aways from Madrid, I tend to go to Segovia. It’s one hour from Madrid by car or bus and has some spectacular monuments including the Roman aqueduct and the Alcázar/castle. It’s also a great place to go for lunch. “Cochinillo”, or roasted suckling pig, is the local specialty and is known throughout the region.