Tim Dowling’s wife disliked Capri on their honeymoon. But 22 years later they both love it, dodge tourists, wear straw hats and even find they still have things to say to each other
My honeymoon was not an unqualified success. My wife and I landed in Naples in September 1992, with a vague plan to explore the Amalfi coast and what we thought was a tremendous amount of money: not quite £800. Nine days later we found ourselves stuck on Capri without enough cash to pay our hotel bill.
The trip began with purpose. As an American citizen, I had to apply for leave to remain in the UK from outside the country, so our first stop was the office of the British vice-consul in Naples. Our paperwork completed, we approached the remainder of the honeymoon with an odd combination of indecision and abandon. We had yet to determine which of us took charge of the finances in our marriage, so neither of us did. The amount we calculated we’d spent never quite seemed to tally with what was left.
Spain’s capital is awash with tapas bars but how do you find the good ones amid the sea of tourist-traps? Madrid-based food writer James Blick tracks down 10 of the best, from classic bodegas to slick new dining spaces run by young chefs
Were Woody Allen to set one of his romantic European whimsies in Madrid, Casa Gonzalez – with its picture-perfect yesteryear facade, smartly tiled interior and moreish hoard of conserves, cheese and charcuterie – would be a shoo-in for the romantic Spanish bar scene. What’s more, the good-humoured and well-moustached owner Paco (whose grandfather founded the place in 1931) keeps a knockout cellar at this wine bar-slash-deli. Nab a table near the big bay window, load it with jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham, €10.10), cured manchego cheese (€6), and a spicy bottle of red and watch the light fade over the cobblestones outside – a most cinematic start to any tapas crawl.
• Calle León 12, +34 914 295 618, casagonzalez.es. Open everyday, Mon-Thur 9.30am-midnight, Fri and Sat 9.30am-1am, Sun 11am-6pm