Madrid No Frills

‘The Kiss’: a secret, split-second moment that captured Madrid’s heart

It was 25 May 2020, just a few weeks after confinement, and we were finally allowed to stroll the streets with no particular purpose. Back then, the abueles were staying at home a bit more than now, spending many hours on standing at the windows or on their balconies interacting with passersby. It was the only socialising they could do, and so small exchanges became extremely important.

Yes, the word ‘guiri’ is offensive

No foreigner being called ‘guiri’ is going to take it as a compliment yet we’re expected to just take it. Digging deeper into the word guiri, I’ve confirmed that it is, indeed, not something that I’m okay with being called. Here’s why.

Orgullo Loco: destigmatising the conversation around mental health oppression

Last Saturday, two hundred people marched for Orgullo Loco (Crazy Pride) from Atocha to the Ministry of Health. Two sisters aged just 8 and 12, stood right at the front of the protest, holding their signs up as high as they could so that everyone could see them. Their enthusiasm was making their mum, Emma Perez Ferrant, proud. 

Unforgotten Spain: An intact concentration camp has finally been put back on the map

A tin of sardines from 1938 has just been unearthed. It's so perfectly preserved that we can still see its original pink paint and decorative lettering, reading, ‘Sardinas en Aceite puro de oliva español (Sardines in pure Spanish olive oil). “It’s one of our best finds,” explains Luís Antonio Ruíz Casero, the leading archaeologist from CSIC out of a team of eight, who have been excavating the site for three weeks.

The little wicker shop in Villa de Vallecas

"This building was completed in 1970, that's around when my father moved his workshop in," explains Alberto Crespo Gutiérrez, who owns a small wicker workshop in Villa de Vallecas.

Three of Madrid’s football stadiums were once Francoist concentration camps

Eighty-three years ago to the month, in 1939, the old Vallecas Stadium was converted into a Francoist concentration camp. In the first four days of April, which were also the first days of a dictatorship that would last 36 years, Franco’s troops crammed around 9,500 people into the old football stadium in Puente de Vallecas.

La Calima: photos of the day Saharan sand carpeted Madrid

Overnight, Storm Celia dragged a blanket of Saharan dust as fine as powdered makeup to the Spanish peninsula. Everything from snowy mountains and skyscrapers to streets and cars are covered in a layer of red dust. Look into the near distance and see a red haze (calima) settle into the horizon. This is the densest and most abundant Saharan calima in Spain's living memory and lasted three days.

Regularización Ya’s 500,000-signature campaign to regularise 500,000 migrants in Spain

Do you believe that migrants already living in Spain should be allowed to work, pay their taxes, access healthcare and state education? Then be a part of the Spain-wide 500,000-strong signature Campaign to regularise 500,000 migrants including 150,000 children. Between now and 23 September, Regularización Ya and associated organisations need half a million signatures, and you can help.

Los Toldos Verdes: La bandera de los balcones de Madrid

Imagina por un momento que Madrid fuera una jungla: nuestros altos edificios de ladrillo rojo serían los árboles y sus icónicos toldos verdes serían sus hojas. La M-30 sería el río –caudaloso y profundo– que fluye entre los árboles mientras sus hojas se extienden hacia el sol. Y eso es algo que bien saben los Amigos del Toldo Verde, un grupo de Facebook que nació «con el objetivo de dotar al toldo verde de la atención que merece, posicionándolo como símbolo de significación identitaria y, por ende, patrimonial».

Portrait of an elderly couple facing eviction at sunrise

Jose (or Pepe, as he's affectionately known), 78, tells me about when he met María, 82. "I used to work in a bar and that's where I met María. She'd come in to see me and we chatted for a few months. Fifty-five years later, here we are, being evicted from the house we've called home ever since we got married."

Vicarious violence and the murder that shook Lavapiés

On the night of 30 December, police were called to the home of a man and his daughter on Calle Amparo in Lavapiés. They found the bodies of 47-year-old French man, Julien Charlon, and his only daughter, Abril, who was just three years old. Both had died violently in a case of alleged vicarious violence, a type of gender-based violence in which the abuser uses their children to do the greatest possible harm to the mother.

Meet the women fighting to dignify Spain’s domestic workforce

In a leafy and affluent neighbourhood in the northern suburbs of Madrid, the school run swings around. Women dressed in maid’s scrubs that are hues of clinical pink, purple and blue – rush around collecting other people’s children, walk other people’s dogs, take out other people’s rubbish and fetch other people’s groceries. Their uniforms mark who belongs to these security-patrolled communities, but the reality that exists beyond their scrubs is one of exploitation; long hours, low wages, limited legal protection and in some cases abuse.