Unless you live on this quiet, narrow street in Lavapiés, there’s almost no reason for you to walk down it – that is, unless you’re going to the Duck Church. Nestled into the ground floor of a centuries-old building lives a tiny temple devoted to the rubber duck, and its priest is Leo Bassi – a 66-year-old clown who was born on tour.
Casa Postal is an unfinished, no-frills cabinet of curiosities that will transport you back to your childhood, your mother’s childhood, your grandmother’s childhood and beyond if you let your imagination take you there.
This is a life drawing by Nathan Brenville, an incredibly talented illustrator with an eye for Madrid’s local treasures, particularly those that are so often overlooked by other artists.
When I asked Jose Luis Jiménez who the people in the photographs were, he spent the next half hour telling me stories from his childhood and showing me pictures taken by his friends from all over the world.
“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”
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.
Have you already been to all the museums, or do you just fancy something a bit different? Here are 10 rainy-day alternatives…
Peluquería Luis Martín is one of Madrid’s last remaining vintage barbers. It survived the frontline of the Spanish Civil war, the requisition of its beautiful chairs, and the untimely death of Don Luís Martín himself. Yet, 93 years later, and still having never given in to the hipster beard, this niche men’s hairdresser’s is still going strong.