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Living Museums

Living Museums

The darkest corner of Madrid’s churches

11 January 2019

I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a little bit obsessed with confessionals. I suspect this might be one of the weirdest things a priest could ever be told through a latticed window, but although I have no intention of repenting my curiosity-related sins, an explanation might be helpful…

BarsLiving Museums

The ‘secret’ Lavapiés jazz club

8 October 2018

Those hermetic voile curtains are partly to preserve Café El Despertar’s clandestine atmosphere, they’re but mostly there to deter the naive walk-in customer. The steely elderly owner, with his enviable beard, is interested only in clientele who are specifically here for his jazz music, and most certainly not the police, who, for good reason, he constantly fears.

Living Museums

The Duck Church of Lavapiés

15 July 2018

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.

Living Museums

The ex-monk who built the ‘Taj Mahal of Spain’

28 May 2018

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.

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