he first time I visited Madrid, I was 17 and more interested in getting to the famous beaches at Sitges. The second time was a few years ago, and I was en route to Sarria to start the Camino de Santiago. Last fall, before heading to Paris Fashion Week, I spent four days in Spain’s capital, and this time I fell hard. Those first visits were like a first date: I was so distracted by other “guys” (a.k.a. destinations) that I failed to notice this city’s endearing charms. I spent one evening touring insider hot spots with expat Brit Joanna Wivell. Her affection for this city—and its inhabitants, including Maria, a longtime street worker—is genuine. I asked her how she would describe a first date with her city. “He’s got lots of energy, and he believes that everything is possible,” she said. “He loves to feel the buzz of others around him—and he wants you to be with him to enjoy this moment in life.” Discover a little more about my new fella in “True Love” (page 94). Plus, don’t miss “First Date Confidential” (page 60): your guide to finding love.
Noreen Flanagan Editor-in-Chief