Madrid is a city I first discovered as a student. Franco was in power (just), black widows skulked the smartest barrios and the regular taxicab from the airport was a black and chrome rococo Fiat 2300.
But if, like me, you went by rail, the journey could take three days. The tilting train was an eccentric design by Alejandro Goicoechea and José Luis Oriol. The Talgo (for Tren Articolado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol) made only fitful progress. I described the pleasures (hard bread rolls, jamón, wine) and pains (heat, dust and ennui) of the journey from Irun to the capital in an essay competition and won the prize of a year’s supply of Carlsberg Special. That was the first time I profited from writing – so, on the whole, I have fond feelings towards the city.