Finding the corner

February 20th, 2015, 11am

Maybe the best way to read this to scroll up so you can’t see the photo you’ve just looked at again, or maybe screw one eye up so you can read the words but the picture drops out of focus.

Driving out of Madrid, on my last visit two years ago, I got a glimpse of a corner and an overwhelming feeling I’d like to come here again, not just to Madrid but to that exact spot. Just something about it.

Occasionally a vision of that corner would come back. A tall building on the left, a hill down out from the busy plazas, the Royal Palace, the cathedral and churches, the Gran Via, Sol. Another Madrid, a place it might better to live than visit.

I needed to work out where and began looking at maps, driving round the city on Google Street View from The Palace, through the area round what was then the building site of San Miguel Market, down Calle Atocha, never finding the right hill. I began to think I’d imagined the whole thing, perhaps I’d seen my corner in a dream.

This Madrid trip, I stayed in a little flat high above Calle Mayor and my first morning decided to turn right towards an area I didn’t know rather than left towards an area I did. Crossing the high glass walled Viaducto de Segovia in search of breakfast I looked down on a street I was sure was the right one, even though it was a quarter of a mile from where I thought it should be. After a breakfast I worked my way slowly round and here is the corner, on Calle Segovia, on a hill steeper than the photo looks but exactly as I drove in my memory. You can scroll/look back up now.

And I feel conflicted. The map-lover in me, whose sense of direction never lets him down when actually in a place, is satisfied to have located this missing corner. The writer in me is a little sad that a glimpse that grew in the imagination has gained a specific name and finite dimensions. Though after this picture, I took another left into the unknown rather than right into the known, and got to spend a rich day aimlessly wandering the quiet outer edges of the Latin Quarter making my mapless way round to the well beaten tracks of Atocha and the Reina Sofia.

Marcus, Adrian, Shu, Philippe and 8 others said thanks.

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Steve Dearden

Writer, producer and Director of The Writing Squad -

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