Browsing All Posts filed under »madrid«

Madrid: Spadrille Eseason

May 25, 2006


125004-345784-thumbnail.jpgby almendro 

It's espadrille season again (or as a sign I passed today, clearing shooting—if perhaps not very effectively—for the English-speaking market says:  "Time for Spadrilles from Spain."  Not far from our apartment, the crowds are again gathering around what I think must be Madrid's most popular footwear store, Casa Hernanz.  I wrote about the shop about a year ago, but what were in my opinion the best parts got cut out.  So I thought I'd print the original here:

Madrid: Marx, Hegel and el Taxista

May 11, 2006


125004-332517-thumbnail.jpg by almendro 

Taxi drivers the world over are a curious group, and Spanish cabbies are no exception. I learned many years ago that most taxistas are more than happy to engage you on virtually any topic, and generally they are friendly, even if they disagree with you.

Madrid: Behold the Power of Me

May 3, 2006



by almendro 

Spaniards have a talent for groups. They are delightfully social creatures--able to talk to anyone about anything, and never happier than when surrounded by crowds of other Spaniards all jabbering away. They learn this skill at a young age--a British acquaintance of mine describes with mild amusement watching his children's daycare teachers chastise them for spending too much time on their own.

But they are also inveterate rule-breakers. They may enjoy spending time with other people, but Spaniards never think that the those same people's rules apply to them.

Madrid: Another Day, Another Protest

April 25, 2006


zapatero_rocks_050204.jpg by almendro 

Actually there were six last Saturday, and that's just in Madrid. The biggest was in the Plaza Mayor where thousands (5,000? 12,000? The process of counting demonstration participants is an art in Spain that, despite its clearly stated formulae, produces wildly divergent results) of Guardia Civil called on Zapatero to fulfill his campaign promise and de-militarize their organization.

Madrid: A Guide to Paellas

April 19, 2006


paella festival.jpg 

by almendro 

There are a few basic rules for finding a decent paella that, if you are a foreigner, you learn only through harsh experience (I suspect that for many Spaniards, these rules are innate, like their ability to keep all the soccer leagues straight).

Rule #1:  No matter what its bearer may call it, nothing that anyone ever brought to a potluck in Boston, or Ann Arbor, or, say, Oberlin, Ohio, was remotely close to real paella.

Rule #2:  Never eat paella on a menu del dia --it's been made ahead.  Same goes for those massive paellas on display at tourist restaurants along Echegaray and most every paseo maritimo on the Costa del Sol.  You only want paellas that are made to order. And for that, you usually need to eat in an arroceria

Madrid: No Foot Kissing

April 12, 2006


semana santa2 008.jpg by almendro 

That, roughly translated, is the note attached in boldface capital letters to the Good Friday procession schedule issued by the Archdiocese of Madrid: NO HAY BESAPIES. Semana Santa has its serious side (see below), but there are also, at least to this outsider, some thoroughly comic moments. The image of anyone attempting to prevent hordes of se~noras from kissing the feet of a Jesus statue is just one of them.

My first introduction to Semana Santa came, properly, in Andalusia, home to all forms of religious excess. There, I experienced the peculiar shock that Americans feel when they first witness the cofrades in their modified KKK garb. I giggled as the crowds shouted piropos at passing statues of the Virgin: ay, que guapa estas!. And, I have to admit, I felt something strange and mysterious at night, when drums fill the air, the streets glow with candlelight, and a single voice pierced the dark with a saeta.


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 Fundaci√≥n 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 Fundac√≠on’s small gallery in front of the Convento de las Descalzas. Right now, […]