Vallecas might feel like the Madrid of long-ago, but for Constantino Carral Sánchez, it’s changed a lot.
The sun pours through the smokey windows of this upstairs diner and is intercepted by half a dozen coconut palms, casting exotic shadows on the terrazzo floor. Everything – and I mean everything – is a shade of brown, as it has been since its last refurb a few decades ago.
In this volume of no-frills finds, we reveal the location of two classic bodegas, one no-frills microbrewery, and a bustling seafoodie gem. We also document two separate sightings of Madrid’s past, which had been lying dormant beneath our feet this whole time. It paid to go little off-grid too, leading us to a burnt-out train driver’s cabin and the quirkiest museum we’ve found yet.
Vallecas is a working-class neighbourhood with an unstoppable fire in its belly. It emerged out of a slum, only to be beaten back to the bones again by the most brutal pummelling the Spanish Civil War could give. Since then, this hard-left barrio has become a close-knit community and home to thousands of immigrants from all around the world, making it one of the most mesmerising corners of Madrid.
All eyes are on a little shrapnel-strewn bungalow in Vallecas this week after its owner gave residents a shock two-week eviction notice before demolition of their historic home was to begin.