Browsing All Posts filed under »madrid«

madrid: hanging out with the russian avantgarde

April 6, 2006


by almendro I haven’t quite figured out the relationship between the Thyssen Museum and the Fundación Caja Madrid, but whatever it is, I like it. They’ve been co-sponsoring shows for awhile now, spreading the goods between the new Thyssen space and the Fundacíon’s small gallery in front of the Convento de las Descalzas. Right now, […]

madrid: the hedonist guide to labor strikes

March 28, 2006


tren metro de madrid.3.jpg

by almendro

Given the Spanish propensity for coming together in large groups (to drink and chat, to protest educational reform, to run with the bulls), you'd think that labor actions would be more dramatic here. They happen alright--I barely made it to my GREs years ago because a rail strike kept all trains from leaving Córdoba for Madrid until midnight, and I nearly lost my hearing in one recent action by airport workers (the strike consisted largely of marching through Barajas blowing police whistles). But in general they don't have the massive impact you see in, say, France.

Aside from the fact that any strike in Spain is bound to feel festive simply because, well, there are people standing around together, the strikers themselves often tend not to seem particularly fired up.

madrid: super fiesta

March 20, 2006



Spanish jovenes have long gotten around drinking laws, parental supervision, and the high cost of clubs with the “botellon,” an open air gathering where participants bring their own booze and mixers, and just, well, hang out. (The word translates literally as “big bottle,” in reference to the liter-sized containers of beer often consumed.)

But the “macrobotellon” is a new invention, one that was supposed to bring the better part of Spain’s youth into the street last night to party. It started last month, when students in Sevilla used text messaging to spread the word about an outdoor party held to celebrate the end of exams. About 5000 kids showed up, and the celebration made the national news.

madrid: march 11

March 11, 2006


march 11.jpg

by almendro

Another March 11.

Like last year, I spent this one with a television crew, with all the stress and frenzy television crews seem to generate. But Madrid itself is calmer than a year ago, the media less rapacious, the commemorations smaller. Memory fades. My Madrid has changed, though, perhaps permanently. Calle Genova, which used to mean the Turner English Language Bookstore to me, is now the place where that dramatic nighttime protest took place outside PP headquarters, thousands calling for Aznar to take responsibility.

madrid: great new hotels

March 9, 2006


by almendro I spent my first night in Madrid, back in the early 1980s, in a small pension still thoroughly stuck in the Franco era. The rooms were dark, the owners severe, and the “private bath” turned out to be a raised platform with a drain, located right in the middle of the room. I […]

madrid: at least aguirre is consistent

February 24, 2006


by almendro You may remember that several weeks ago the president of the community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, suggested that the new anti-smoking law might be a little too strict. Yesterday, she did indeed sign into effect a ‘revision’ of the national ban that lets workers smoke on the balconies and in the cafeterias of […]

madrid: fear of flying

February 18, 2006



by almendro

A new terminal opened at Madrid's Barajas airport on February 5. Architecturally, it's supposed to be quite spectacular--it was designed by Richard Rogers, the same guy who did the Pompidou Center in Paris. But I've been avoiding it--flying through it, that is--because I already find airports and check ins and security searches trying enough, and I fear this new terminal will make them more so.

In the first week after it opened, the nightly news ran a regular segment on the delays, the lost baggage, the construction remains still in plain view, but those, I imagine, are just opening jitters.

madrid: smoking wars

February 11, 2006


by almendro  Every since Spain’s smoking ban went into effect on January 1, every bar small enough to legally escape the crackdown—and they are many—has posted a handmade sign on its door advertising the fact.  Which means that instead of actually preventing smoking in public, the law is simply shuffling the geography of where smoking […]

madrid: eating at juana la loca

February 3, 2006


by almendro  One of the chief pleasures of urban life is that you can have a neighborhood restaurant, a place where out of the whole sprawling metropolis, you know the food will be good, you know the waiter will greet you by name, you know the bartender will remember how you like your coffee. Technically, […]

madrid: how not to plan your next vacation

January 26, 2006


by almendro  FITUR opened in Madrid on Wednesday out at the IFEMA convention center. You could tell it was coming because suddenly, a ring of yellow sand materialized in the middle of the Plaza Mayor, the newborn site —as it is every year—for a performance by the famous dancing horses of Jerez. Out at the […]