In the darkest days of Spain’s financial crisis, Catalina Lescano Álvarez and a team of unemployed women from Peru and Colombia set up a little restaurant in Madrid’s Oporto neighbourhood. Going by the name of Sabores del Mundo, it was a brave and passionate project with two key objectives: to create employment for immigrant women and to provide a filling meal every day to vulnerable members of the local community.
One of the best things about this accidentally retro bar is how much fun it is to explore. There are secret, time-bending portals connecting the endless labyrinth of dining rooms… or so it seems. When the same short, middle-aged waiter in a waistcoat kept appearing every time we entered a new room, we wondered how else he could have got there so quickly.
I’ve always been curious to see inside the Casa de Baños in Lavapiés, and the opportunity finally arose when we returned to our flat after a week away to find that the boiler had exploded. As you’d imagine, very little gets done over the Christmas period, so we were to embark on yet another fascinating no-frills adventure, and what an insight it’s been.
Let this collection of offbeat finds inspire the new year’s resolution you never made: to slow down (or even stop) and look at the Madrid around you, and you might just see something you never knew was there.
Merry Christmas from Madrid’s traditional shopkeepers! Here are 24 beautiful vintage Christmas cards celebrating Spain’s traditional occupations.
Sergio is the 4th generation of his family to run this kiosk by Opera, and just as his ancestors did, he stocks every national newspaper. There are no echo-chamber algorithms here – not even the positioning of each newspaper is strategic. At Sergio’s news stand, you can see how the rest of the world thinks.
Bar la Peña is a real gem, and one of the last truly no-frills bars on Calle Santa Isabel. The young-at-heart owners, Isabel and Francisco, are a couple from a small coastal town in Galicia, and, like all proud Galicians, they take their pulpo very seriously.
Only under freak weather conditions may we ever see Madrid under a blanket of snow again, but it’s unlikely, however, as in just the last 44 years, Madrid’s average temperature has soared by 2.3°C. To understand how high this is, in the same time, the global average has risen by 0.4°C, which is already causing irreversible damage.
Curiosity often gets the better of me, but I like to think I’m prepared for what lurks behind the curtain. In 2015, however, I was forbidden to look. The man inside the tiny ticket window told me: “Sorry love, this isn’t for you.”
Inside the old lift shaft of a former brothel, we’re holding a 22-photo exhibition throughout the month of December. Each photograph displayed on these walls is connected to one of our articles, helping you explore Madrid’s less-beaten path.