Madrid, the morning after Cristiano Ronaldo played his first game, and scored his first goal at the Bernabeu and he's everywhere, staring down from every billboard, looking out from every magazine, his name on the back of every white Real shirt that passes. A city with baited breath, a new God.
I was immediately at home. Madrid seems modest, domestic and although it's clear that life is very good here, the human scale of everything, compared to other European capitals, made me feel like I was a welcome guest in the spare room, rather than a commercial traveller in a plush hotel. It's a city that welcomes tourists, but doesn't seem to stop much for them and it's all the better for not feeling pushed around. The real joy here is not in monuments, although the Bourbon monarchs offered an air of grandeur, but in the social places, the cafe bars, the parks and plazas.