“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.
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.
The creators of the grand and ornate red-brick buildings you can find all around Madrid are the same architects, builders and brick merchants who built the pretty little casas bajas in the barrios of Tetuán, Vallecas and Carabanchel. Look closely at Las Ventas bullring, one of Madrid’s most famous examples of Moorish Revival architecture, and find the same intricate brickwork decorating little houses all around Madrid.
Welcome to La Model Prison, built 117 years ago on the outskirts of Barcelona. The city has expanded around it and Barcelona Sants Station, where the train from Madrid pulls in, is right in front. Inside, however, the prison remains exactly as it was the day inmates were relocated, just four years ago.
Discover bunkers, trenches and one man’s life-long collection of wartime objects from the Jarama Valley
In February 1937, Franco’s Nationalist army launched a massive attack on Republican lines in the Jarama valley to the southeast of Madrid. Their objective was to cut off the road between Madrid and the Mediterranean port of Valencia, restricting vital supplies of food, fuel and munitions to the besieged capital.
Gran Via number 12, a splendid white building dating back to 1914, has seen many things in its 107 years of history, including the Spanish Civil War. But, at ground level lives the legendary Bar Chicote, once crowned the best in the world by MTV in 2004. Its bar top has seated a long list of personalities including Ernest Hemingway, Sofia Loren and Salvador Dalí, as well as royalty, sports, politics and intellectualism.
When Clare first visited Madrid back in 2013, she wasn’t even aware that this river existed. None of the tourist literature or walking tours mentioned it then, and it’s still not particularly well publicised.
Right at the intersection of Divino Pastor and Monteleón, in the heart of lively Malasaña, there is a sign that reads ‘Guitarra Ángel Benito Aguado’. If we are lucky enough to find the blinds up, we can see luthier Yunah Park inside, working with silent dedication.
Restaurante El Bierzo in the heart of Chueca celebrates 50 years of existence this month. Run by 80-year-old Miguel Gonzales Sastre, El Bierzo stands firm as a rock and is one of the few restaurants in the area to serve homemade, traditional Spanish dishes, with a menu that has been the same for half a century.
“Is it busy out there?” asks Isabelle, owner of La Casa de Maletas in El Rastro. That day was the first day of the Rastro for eight months, since the pandemic shut Europe’s largest open-air flea market down in the second week of March.
Madrid No Frills is finally selling prints! Orders processed within one day, prints available to collect within three days or posted to your home within one week!
“The best pastelería in Madrid” is a bold claim, with the potential to spark messy cream fights. But a good argument can be made that El Artesano, a small pastry shop in Ventas serving the local community for over 50 years, is an honest contender.
During lockdown, the nightly applause for healthcare workers here must have been epic. Thousands of people opened their windows onto their wide, windy boulevards and, for a few minutes, clapped as one giant entity within Spain’s biggest human beehive.
These stubborn little tin huts that churn out churros hold the torch of Madrid’s street food culture. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and our new desire for outdoor eating, they’re a way of life that may well return!
Welcome to the golden age of ceramic art that took Madrid by storm, until the dictatorship and renovation works meant that all these beautiful old works of art were covered, sealed up and entombed for a future accidental renaissance which is happening right now.