Metrosource 02.09


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Metrosource 02.09

  1. 1. travel Spanish Nobody expects our Expedition
  2. 2. Wondering what Pride sounds like with a Spanish accent? In two of Spain’s most beautiful cities, it sounds muy bueno. by Jeffrey James Keyes when heading to sPain, many gay guys make a beeline for Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong — there’s plenty to love about that great Spanish city, with its archi- tecture by Gaudí and the boys that wander up and down Las Ramblas. But I recently discovered a new- found love for España by visiting the cities of Madrid and Seville — while their Gay Pride celebrations were in full swing. Though the cities are roughly 340 miles apart, they some- how make sense together. A flight between the two on the Iberian peninsula is brief and relatively inexpensive. And be sure to give yourself ample time in both, as there is plenty to see, and the local day trips are divine.Photo by jeffrey james keyes. The Isabel II Bridge, reaching over the Guadalquivir River in Seville. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009 56
  3. 3. Photos, left to right: Seville’s ma- jestic Cathedral; Madrid’s Egyptian Temple of Debod; an authentic Spanish bullfighting ring. THE RIVER OF SEVILLE cravers will also want to take in Spanish and STAYING IN SEVILLE we began oUr sPanish exPedition in beautiful Andalusian paintings and sculptures by art- Seville, where Pride is celebrated — much like ists like Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Juan de Looking for an alternative to the Casa in many U.S. cities — on the last weekend in Valdes Leal and Francisco de Zurbarán at one saCristina de santa ana? the Casa June. Located on the eastern bank of the Río of Seville’s many galleries and museums. romana hoteL boUtiQUe is conveniently Guadalquivir, Seville is divided into four major Unless you’re squeamish, there’s no ex- located just down the road from the districts: El Arenal, Santa Cruz, La Macarena cuse to leave Seville without experiencing one bustling alameda de hercules. if you’re and Parque María Luisa. Book a room at the of its famed bullfights. Not only does walk- looking for something in a private villa, chic Casa Sacristina de Santa Ana, right in the ing through the bullring’s Puerta del Príncipe Casa romana’s owner also offers sUite center of the gay district. The rooms are tradi- gate summon instant flashbacks to Madonna’s aLCÁZar, which provides thrilling views tional but posh, and the hotel is quiet and well “Take a Bow”video, but you can also take a day overlooking the cathedral; spending an maintained. An added incentive is the hotel’s trip to a local bull ranch in nearby Gerena to evening there while enjoying tapas beside restaurant; its fare could easily tempt a traveler further immerse yourself in the culture. If you the cathedral’s illuminated terrace is noth- to eat in every night (though that would be an play your cards right, you’ll end up at Finca la ing short of magical. absolute shame, as Seville is a buffet of great Mirandilla, a local tourist-friendly farmhouse, there’s also the grandiose hoteL dining destinations — see sidebar). Outside lunching with a genuine matador (eat your aLfonso xiii. it’s always booked solid; so the hotel, the Alameda de Hercules (a sandy, heart out, Madge!). reservations are needed well in advance. open, tree-lined space) sprawls: The popular Another local tradition that you’d be remiss but it would be worth it to stay in the public area has an almost overwhelming array not to check out is that spicy Spanish dance, the same rooms where brad Pitt, madonna of bars, theatres, cafés, shops and restaurants. flamenco. The epicenter of Andalusia Flamenco and even Princess di have taken siesta. if It’s no wonder writers like Washington Ir- is the Museo del Baile Flamenco, with its phe- you can’t snag a stay, try to drop by for ving and Ernest Hemingway spent time in and nomenal displays and exhibitions on the history brunch and a swim in the garden. wrote about romantic Seville. In addition to and evolution of what they call the “soul of An- Hotel Alfonso the soaring, Muslim-influenced architecture of dalusia.” Then, head to the Tablao el Arenal, a XIII the Cathedral of Seville (where you can take a restaurant and performance space where Span- peek at the Tomb of Christopher Columbus), ish guitarists and gypsy dancers take the stage Seville is also home to the Palacio de la Conde- to offer Flamenco in full effect. sa de Lebrija, where Roman mosaics give the Looking for nightlife? Hit the gay bars illusion that one is stepping back time. Culture on the Paseo de Colón (Isbiliyya Café-Bar, El58 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009
  4. 4. Paseo and Flamingo are all great) or bar hop through the Almeda de Hercules (El Bosque Animado, Café Latte, Hercules Mitico, Itaca). But during Seville Gay Pride, there’s an even better option: a wild cruise that departs fromCathedraL and bULLring Photos by jeffrey james keyes; temPLe Photo CoUrtesy the toUrist offiCe of sPain. the Torre del Oro. Dancing the night away to Kylie remixes as you float up the Río Gua- dalquivir on a boat full of sexy gay boys and girls is the perfect way to remember the gay side of Seville. IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD MADRID the rooftoP bar and LoUnge of the ME By Melía hotel is one of the most exclusive ven- ues in all of Spain. Locals and foreigners alike gather here to take in the sunset with a ciga- rette in one hand and one of the hotel’s famous black mojitos in the other. Down below, the hotel itself is equally hip, posh and luxurious — definitely the place to stay. If you’re looking for lodging that’s less of a see-and-be-seen- scene, another beautiful alternative is the AC Palacio del Retiro, situated between the city’s famed “art triangle” and the Parque del Retiro, which is an ideal place for a stroll or a quiet moment — I came to this park on my last day in Madrid to say goodbye to the city. But at this point, I was still saying hola to this vibrant city, and there was plenty to greet, FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009 59
  5. 5. Madrid by night. including some of the best museums and art collections of work by Velázquez and Goya. the Paseo del Prado), the museum is visually collections in the world. The Museo Nacional You could easily spend a month wandering the stunning inside and out — and that’s before Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is the place to go Prado and not see everything, but definitely do you even take into account the art that hangs for 20th-century and avant garde pieces, but at not miss Hieronymus Bosch’s infamous The on its walls. the very least you must go see Picasso’s mas- Garden of Earthly Delights. Fans of castles (and who doesn’t go a little sive (and massively famous) mural Guernica. For a more modern twist, head over to castle crazy when jaunting about Europe?) can Looking for masterpieces by major artists like Madrid’s hottest new architectural landmark, channel King Carlos IV and strut through the Titian, Van Gogh, Degas and Picasso? Try the CaixaForum. Designed by Jacques Herzog throne room of the Palacio Real, Spain’s royal Thyssen-Bornemisza. And then there’s the and Pierre de Meuron (who turned a former palace and the largest palace in Western Eu- Mueso del Prado, which offers unparalleled power plant into a high-end cultural center on rope. Or you can head just outside of town to SHOPPING IN MADRID if you’re in madrid and in the mood for some power-shopping, then you’re headed toward the salamanca. Label lovers, you can find your beloved d&g, tom ford and gucci here, but before you fill your Louis Vuitton luggage with wares you can also purchase stateside, have a look at local favorites like Loewe, just one and gallery. Looking forward to whip- ping out your credit card, but not so much a fan of whipping out a map? you can get your hands on your very own personal shopping guru, thanks to a local company called shopin. my guru, blanca gordon rico, offered a thorough tour madrid’s best shopping locations. by the end of our afternoon i felt like i had just been through my very own episode of What Not to Wear — en español.60 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009
  6. 6. Casa Robles restaurant, Seville COMER AqUÍ! SEVILLE: head to the Casa robles and try the lubina con caranjas (spanish whitefish with local oranges) or scrumptious pork from the huelva mountains. Pop into sopa de ganso, bar estrella or Casa Paco for tapas (local favorites include squid, swordfish, andalusia ham, snails and gazpacho). for dinner, i recommend chic Le madame ego res- luxuriate in the lavish gardens of the Palacio taurante, where the amazing menu ranged from Real de Aranjuez. It’s also known as the Span- prawns to cod to flavorful modena beef, complete ish Versailles, and it isn’t hard to see why. with a drag queen serenading us while we dined. Though you could easily spend your entire abades triana features floor-to-ceiling windows visit taking in rooftop sunsets and cruising art looking out on the guadalquivir, and the monkfish galleries, it is simply impossible to ignore Ma- ceviche and coconut sorbet, floating in a sauce of drid Gay Pride, which begins the last weekend shrimp and salmorejo, is to die for. other seville in June and lasts an entire week, culminating favorites include restaurante santo, resturante in a parade on the second weekend. During Pando Cuna, naranja, Porta rosa, and for a taste Pride, it seems like the entire city folds itself of basque cuisine, egaña oriza.shoPPing and Casa robLes Photos by jeffrey james keyes; aLL other Photos CoUrtesy the toUrist offiCe of sPain. into Chueca, the gay district just off the Gran Via. Chueca feels like the center of a world- consuming party, and everyone is in on the fun MADRID: restaurante ramses, elegantly de- signed by Phillipe stark, is a new madrid staple: — I’ve never been to a Pride as fantastic and Chef miguel angel jiménez is a culinary genius; elaborate as Madrid’s. Tipsy crowds of shirtless i loved his restaurant so much i wanted to eat men fill the streets and dance to different DJs the décor! another gay hot spot is the divina and bands in every plaza: In the same night, La Cocina, where chef jose Luis de Castanedo I caught a live performance by the Ting Tings specializes in spanish cuisine like saffron- and swayed to the music of Spanish diva Con- infused seafood croquettes or gilthead fish with chita Buika. The outdoor party lasts all night, spanish “pisto” vegetable stew. restaurante but some of the action also moves indoors, bazaar, near Plaza Chueca, is another local fa- as well; there are ample bars and clubs to vorite for mediterranean fare (i recommend the choose from. Some of the wildest clubs were beef tagliata with vegetables and porto sauce). Cool, Ohm, Liquid and my favorite, Why Not?, indice, at the aC Palacio del retiro, is a classic where I spent most of the evening dancing to example of european haute cuisine. another old-school Janet hits and more modern Duffy dinner option is madrid’s gift restaurant in the remixes. Other hot spots (especially for those room mate oscar hotel, conveniently located looking to dance less and drink more) include in the Plaza Vázquez de mella. Late brunch at Hot, Rick’s, La Lupe and Chicote Bar, formerly the restaurante el jardín is the best remedy for Ava Gardner’s favorite spot. a circuit party hangover. if you’re looking for a Attending Madrid Gay Pride feels like fall- late dinner and drag show, head over to gula ing down the rabbit hole in all the best ways, gula at 1 gran Via. other madrid favorites and if you’re considering celebrating Pride in include el armario, La dame noire, kola bora, the Spanish capital, my advice to you is the La kitchen madrid and the posh Zalacaín. same as the name of my favorite Madrid party spot: Why Not? ■ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009 61