Vallecas is a working-class neighbourhood with an unstoppable fire in its belly. It emerged out of a slum, only to be beaten back to the bones again by the most brutal pummelling the Spanish Civil War could give. Since then, this hard-left barrio has become a close-knit community and home to thousands of immigrants from all around the world, making it one of the most mesmerising corners of Madrid.
Everyone loves a good old ‘did you know…?’ story, so here are six incredible historical discoveries that are still in evidence today. Store each of these old photographs in a primely positioned corner of your mind and walk the streets of Madrid seeing double. It might take you a while you get anywhere, but it’s unacceptable to be in a rush here anyway.
Suddenly the pace picks up. Stacks of hot churros and porras rush out of the kitchen while the waiters frantically steam chocolate and place together dozens of cups and saucers. In this churrería, the staff know their customers’ routines well: suddenly hordes of classy old ladies walk in, order vast amounts of chocolate and churros and kick off their Friday evening with a bit of scandalous family gossip.
In the depths of the financial crisis, biologists Guillermo and Laura took over the neglected family olive grove and embarked on a risky project: to make farming a sustainable way of life once again.
We’ve already declared our love for Bar Lozano but, after spending some time there recently, we noticed that its popularity seems to be waning once again. It might seem like we’re fighting a losing battle at times, but I for one refuse to give up.
Madrid is a complex city that likes to reveal itself slowly, keeping you in constant awe of its depths, expanse and infinite detail. The forgotten secrets, concealed corners and vibrant subcultures in just this city alone could keep you exploring for a lifetime, but here’s a good starting point.
Have you ever been walking along the street in Madrid and thought to yourself: ‘Quick caña and tortilla?’ Me too. If you happen to have that thought whilst on Calle de Fuencarral, you’re seconds away from making it a reality. But if you’re half way across the city, jump on a metro – it’s worth the ride.
There are few better ways to spend a Sunday in Madrid than strolling around El Rastro, but if you don’t have time to explore this 400-year-old market as many times as we have (possibly into three figures), then let us help you hit the ground running with seven of our most eccentric finds.
All eyes are on a little shrapnel-strewn bungalow in Vallecas this week after its owner gave residents a shock two-week eviction notice before demolition of their historic home was to begin.
La Tabacalera is running a contemporary art exhibition in its old bathing quarters, opening up a rarely-used corner of this 225-year-old industrial building.