Around 150 people are currently sleeping rough on Paseo del Prado. Since February this year, a homeless community of activists have been camping out on one of Spain’s most prestigious streets in protest for visibility, safety, security and access to affordable housing, and to end all homelessness in Spain.
There are few streets in Madrid with such a well preserved traditional shopping district. Green grocers, bodegas, a coal merchant’s and a wicker store are just some of the living museums I found on the short stretch of Calle Calatrava and its surrounding streets.
It’s raining but perhaps you’ve already been to all the museums, or maybe you just fancy something a bit less obvious such as spending the afternoon in a mercado, doing a no-frills bar crawl around a barrio you haven’t visited before, exploring the labyrinthine tunnels of the old tobacco factory or finally enjoying it being cool enough to eat hearty food again! Here are 10 rainy-day activities that you won’t find anywhere else on the Madrinternet…
There’s a bunker, a hidden chess club, a haunting forest and a forgotten city-centre zoo, among a few other secrets held by the gatekeeper of Retiro Park. But dive in with the darkest, most disturbing secret of all: the ‘human zoo’…
The prices are low, the quality is fine, the service is quick, the menu is in Spanish and the soul and decor of the bar is utterly no-frills.
You’ve found one of my trapdoors… a door considerably smaller than other doors, found on metro platforms across Madrid. This trapdoor will take you to the an old outpost of the Spanish Empire, and the battlefield of the Forgotten War.
Spain’s first McDonald’s opened in 1981, replacing an old jeweller’s on Gran Vía. Many predicted that this gran hamburguesería would be the beginning of the end of Madrid as we knew it. And they were right.
Ten no-frills finds has always been a space to put all of my uncategorisable curiosities together but, looking at the now 6th collection, I’m starting to wonder if this collection might be developing a personality of its own – one that pushes the boundaries of reality and even seeks to capture glitches in the Madrix.
“I’m on the corner of Street of the Miraculous, and Bitterness Street”, laughs Mariano Casado Francisco. Rather than name his bar after the streets on which it resides, as so many no-frills bars do, he has named his bar after himself – the way his customers would inevitably have called it anyway.
An elderly woman dressed in all black is straddling the wrong side of a first-floor balcony. Standing up there with her is another elderly woman wearing a floral smock, bellowing unsolicited advice about how her friend should tie up the bunting. Fierce high-rise arguing descending into laughing, and I watch on in horror yet reassurance that, somehow, these ladies have got it handled. After all, it is quite possibly their 90th year of decorating the streets.