Let me ask you something, and think carefully: where is the nearest drinking fountain to you right now? Dig deep into the corners of your mind. Found it?
“Do you know about El Comunista? It’s painted Ruby red for people who can’t read – just like the other bodegas – and when you step inside, you’ll see the Spain my great-grandparents knew”
Mohammed serves really good Moroccan food, which he makes himself in his tiny kitchen at the back of the restaurant. The food at Ikram is even better than meals I’ve had in Morocco, and you’ll find it right here in the northernmost neighbourhood of Africa: Lavapiés.
Walking around the streets of Madrid never gets old. This time, we’ve uncovered everything from ancient books and up-cycled monastery doorways to secret colour-coded facades and the largest shanty town in Europe. Enjoy!
Spain is different. Its history is all around us, yet it’s often difficult to unravel because of the post-dictatorial ‘pact of silence’ that still seems to haunt modern Spanish society. But, we’re doing our best to uncover Madrid’s lost stories, with six more curious photo-assisted tales awaiting you in just one click…
You will probably have spotted that Gran Via is home to Madrid’s grandest theatres and its most spectacular shows. However, what isn’t so well-known is that pulsating deep within the barrios of Lavapiés and Arganzuela is a thriving no-frills theatre scene, which emerged hundreds of years ago.
Like the Taj Mahal, Don Justo’s cathedral was born out of unwavering devotion to someone, and both of these magnificent specimens of religious architecture rose up from ordinary farmland. But aside from these similarities, the awe I felt on seeing the Taj more than 10 years ago suddenly reemerged as I tilted my head up towards Don Justo’s self-built cathedral.
My obsession with horchata began exactly where it should: on the coast of Valencia, surrounded by orange blossom and flamingos. On my return to Madrid, I vowed never to rest until I’d found the best horchata in town, and there it was – as it has been for 74 years – in a little roadside kiosk run by the fifth generation of the same family.
In 1919 – the year of its inauguration – Madrid’s metro consisted of just one line with eight charming little stations. Almost 100 years later, this vast subterranean labyrinth is the seventh-longest underground system in the world and hosts around two million journeys every day.
When you first glimpse Marivi Ibarrola’s casually composed photographs of Lavapiés in the 1980s, you feel as if very little has changed. But stare for longer and you’ll see some profound differences: the Tabacalera no longer emits smoke from its chimney, the anarchists have been gentrified out of their squats, and cinemas have been demolished to pave the way for the Lavapiés we hang out in today.