Ten no-frills finds has always been a space to put all of my uncategorisable curiosities together but, looking at the now 7th 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.
From a fantasy beach and a ghost theatre to Madrid’s secret security force and a portal to Valencia. Get stuck into my latest collection of 10 no-frills finds and see if you tumble down a wormhole…
1. THE BEACH OF LAVAPIÉS
I always knew Lavapiés had a beach, and I finally found it on a bollard, of all places. This creative, community initiative is called BolardoVoy and involves neighbours, associations, schools and nurseries. In just its third year, this street art project has already captured the imagination of the entire neighbourhood of Lavapiés.
Each painted bollard is unique. The art is either humorous, aesthetic, colourful or political, and demonstrates Lavapiés’ infamous freedom of expression.
2. THE GHOST THEATRE
Where do those desire steps go, I wonder? They’re fairly well carved out, but have no official markings…
At the top of the steps and over the wall, the desire path continues…
And look what was at the end of the path…
The ghost theatre of Casa de Campo. Not many people know about it, especially because in the 61 years since its closure, it’s been almost entirely reclaimed by nature.
The coordinates are as follows: 40°24’59.9″N 3°43’47.7″W, or you can find it on the Map (it’s Ghost #11).
3. A STOLPERSTEIN
Earlier this year, Madrid’s City Council laid 12 cobblestones in the ground in tribute to the 450 Madrid victims of Hitler’s concentration camps. Stolpersteine (stones that make you stumble, in German) began in 1997 in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg, and the movement has been growing ever since.
Finally, after installing 65,000 stolpersteine around the world, these little memorials have arrived in Madrid.
4. SLEEPING LIVERPOOL FANS
Remember Madrid’s first hot weekend of the year? It was also the weekend that thousands of Champions League football fans arrived in Madrid to support their team. There were some hairy moments (Calle Postas has never been so full of beer-soaked Liverpudlians before), but to round it all off, this was the scene at 3 am the night after the big win against Tottenham.
I suspect these lads arrived without a place to stay, as apparently thousands others did. At 3 am, it’s probably safe to say that this bus stop was their bed for the night…
5. THE BOOKSTORE THAT USED TO BE A BODEGA
Malasaña is good at quirky…
Location: La Tarde Libros
6. A NO-FRILLS TORTILLA
While I sat here drinking a caña, the chef made no less than 13 mini tortillas. The one we had was very good.
Location: Bar La Nueva Esperanza, downstairs in Mercado de la Cebada.
7. THE TRUTH
Found painted on the wall of La Quimera, the squat on Plaza Nelson Mandela.
Location: La Quimera
8. THE BUENAVISTA DOMINOES CLUB
They’re here every Saturday playing dominoes, upstairs at the back of Mercado de la Cebada, by the no-frills Peruvian bar.
9. THE TRAPDOOR TO VALENCIA
You may have noticed this trapdoor before. It’s a door considerably smaller than other doors, found on metro platforms across Madrid. Now, this is where it gets exciting…
Behind it lies a world that has existed for exactly 100 years. Some call it the metro system, but that just refers to the part we can see with our eyes. Beyond it exists the other level, a secret network of time-bending tunnels taking you to a part of Spain I’ve never dared take you.
Find out more here.
10. MADRID’S SECURITY ABUELAS (AND ONE SECURITY ABUELO)
I’ve begun tracking down Spain’s secret security force, watching over Madrid from the comfort of their balconies…
Explore 60 more no-frills finds, starting with Volume VI right here.