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She loved to travel but there was one city, just one, that she knew she would never visit. Because you only visit places that are not your own. With Madrid, all she could do was return.

An alley cat, as Madrid folks are called, she’d pretend to take offence if anyone pointed out her accent or a local turn of phrase. Deep down, though, she was proud that the city had found its way into her vocabulary.

When she strolled around the Barrio de las Letras, she felt sorry for those who would walk these streets just once or twice in their lives. Because not even a hundred is enough to take in all the stories that they hold.

As a Madrid girl, she would never admit that it was impossible to completely shake off that capital-city cockiness. She’d take great lengths when giving directions to tourists, for example on how to make it from Puerta del Sol to Plaza Mayor. And (elbow on bar, tapa in hand) she’d bemoan not visiting the capital’s magnificent museums more often.

She ate late, dined late and got home late (sometimes even on weekdays). She switched from one neighbourhood to another depending on her mood or company, because Madrid can be many different cities. She knew secret hideouts. And her best tips she saved for special people, who she’d lead to places otherwise unreachable.

There’s a city she could never speak of objectively because its streets lived inside her too.