I met Ángel (not his real name) waiting in the dinner queue of Vecinas de Lavapies food bank last summer. It would cost him at least one hour’s work to feed himself, and another job to get the metro back to his sister’s house where he was staying.
Now that the last remaining piles of snow have finally melted away, let’s reflect on a fortnight of Filomena’s presence in this city. With zero Council preparations and unprecedented snowfall, how did Filomena’s force unfold and take Madrid from its most beautiful to a disaster zone?
Over 75,000 Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) have been installed across Europe, marking where victims of Nazi war camps last lived by choice. Each small golden stone bears the name of the victim, their date of birth, the date of their camp deportation and when their lives ended – there are so far 12 in Madrid.
The Regularización Ya movement which fights for the legalisation of migrants in Spain is closely linked with the CIEs No movement. They believe a world without migration detention centres is possible.
When Mario talks about the snow, he can’t help but smile. He’s from Romania, and has been living in Madrid for the past eight years, but on the streets of Fuencarral for the past two after losing his job as a truck driver.
I’m proud to say that I grew up frequenting the neighbourhood bars of La Latina with my dad, and I have fond memories of their no-frills charm. But it took me many years living abroad in Denmark to appreciate the cultural richness of my barrio, and it came mixed with nostalgia and grief at the places that had closed.
As Madrid plunges to -11°C this week and sees historic snowfall that is predicted to be the most snow this century will ever have, children of the Cañada Real Sector 6 forget their traumas for a moment and enjoy the magic of their world in white.
Let’s take a look at Colonia de los Olivos (Colony of Olive Trees), which was built hastily in 1947 to accommodate a post-war migration boom in Madrid. Around 1,000 people have called these temporary blocks their home until their phased demolition more than half a century later, which is still not complete.
Instagram account Visit Spain 1970 arose from an accidental discovery of tourist materials from the 1960s and 1970s found in a Rastro bookstore earlier this year.
“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.