souvenirs from madrid

May 9, 2012

When traveling abroad, it is fun to make a fantasy of it by staying in some grand hotel. But I find that the experience is always more authentic when I stay in someone’s home. Especially if it’s the residence of a local artist whose original work becomes your souvenir.

More than just a rental, Souvenirs from Madrid is a “travel experience” by local graphic designer/photographer Iaia Cocoi and her partner, musician Miguel Angel Bestard. In their apartment located in LAVAPIÉS, “the most bohemien area of Madrid,” travelers get a rare chance to “live like a local.”

Much like modern Madrid itself, Iaia and Miguel’s apartment is an eclectic mix of old world charm – the romantic windows with vibrant, flaking paint – and contemporary pop – the blue ladder and Eames-like coat rack. Whimsical accents and witty details give the place a playful, relaxed atmosphere. In this cozy, yet crisp, clean space, you might just be tempted to put off El Prado for a day and spend a rainy afternoon sipping coffee and reading Spanish rags on the couch.

As part of this total experience of genuine Madrid, the couple also leaves custom guides outlining all their off-the-beaten-path favorites. You can even take a Spanish cooking course from this foodie pair or have them prepare a romantic picnic in the park for you. Finally, when it’s time to leave, you can take one of Iaia’s photographs that adorn the apartment with you, to remind you that you didn’t just visit Madrid. You lived there.

the cosy dining area with some of Iaia’s photos

“tea for two” and “the souvenirs” –  Iaia’s photography, which hangs on the wall

All photography by Iaia Cocoi. Used with her permission.

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