Photo: Brent Petersen

My favorite cab driver in Madrid

I’ve had some crazy taxi experiences. There was the guy in Naples who drove on the sidewalk when traffic got jammed up. Or the guy in New Orleans who made us get out six blocks from our hotel because he said the streets were closed (they weren’t, he just didn’t want to navigate the maze of One Way streets). Or the guy in Charleston whose windshield was so dirty he used the sleeve of his jacket to try and clean it while going 70mph over a bridge. And then there was the cab driver in Rome who balanced a cup of espresso on his knee while pointing out the sights of his magnificent city. I guess he was just trying to be helpful.

Each those cabbies gave us a story to tell.

But my favorite taxi driver was in Madrid.

The day hadn’t started out well. We were waiting for our Uber driver in front of our hotel. But the driver never showed up. To add insult to injury, the phantom Uber driver marked that he had picked us up. Then, when I complained, Uber charged me for the ride anyway.

Others might have had good Uber experiences in Madrid, but I swore off the service in that city from then on.

So, instead, I hailed a taxi. Madrid is full of cabs and one pulled up almost immediately and we hopped in. I told the driver our destination and he turned around and smiled.

Our fave taxi driver ready to rock out (photo: Brent Petersen)

“Are you American?” he asked. Without waiting for my answer he said “I love America! American music is my favorite!” He scrolled through his phone, tapped a couple buttons, and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” came out of the car’s speakers at top volume.

My girlfriend half-rolled her eyes and gave me a bemused smile.

I shot the driver the devil horns and said “Rock on!”

“I live on the boulevard of broken dreams,” the cabbie said as put the car in gear and pulled away from the curb.

For the rest of the ride we listened to “American” music like The Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath.

Brent Petersen is the Editor in Chief at Destination Eat Drink, the travel website and podcast for foodies. He is the author of the novel Truffle Hunt (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection That Bird.

He has also written a Foodie Travel Guide to Madrid, Spain and has a podcast episode about Madrid.

Originally published at on August 24, 2020.



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