Streets and walking, Madrid
Who would have thought? What is left of one of the most charming streets of Madrid could be found just 100 meters of the monumental (though a bit cold, imho) Las Ventas bullring. The beautiful houses of Roma Street and surroundings where conceived as residences for the Madrilian upper middle class of the beginning of the past century. All the building share a common "British" style, that I found most amazing, specially when you realize that the neighborhood is quickly loosing its classy style, as most of the old houses are disappearing, replaced by boring brick buildings. A pity. It could be a good idea to go there while there's still anything to be seeing...
Many other European capitals would had treasure a riverside such as the one that the Manzanares river provides to Madrid, as it has some of the most remarkable views that this city could offer. I'm sure that, under a different "management", this would have being a much more benign location, where local people and visitors could equally enjoy from the fantastic sunsets, the freshness of the presence of the river and the romantic environment that even the more mediocre riverside provide.
This is not the case with Madrid, as someone has the brilliant idea of putting M-30, the main circumvallation highway of the city right by the river, so instead of fancy cafes and couples walking by the sunset, what you get near Manzanares river is heavy traffic and loads of pollution. The situation might change, as the city council has promised to replace the M-30 fumes and cars by a subterranean tunnel.
Of course this is building which is belong to Spanish telecommunications company. From the Edificio Grassy you can already see the tower of the Telefonica. The building is built between 1926 and 1929 and with 88 meters high building was one of the largest in Madrid. It is built in American style by Luis S. Weeks who is also American.
Address: Gran Via 28
This beautiful building is one of Madrid's head of former insurance company. The Metropolis Building is an exquisite piece of architecture. The summit of building was originally crowned with phoenix but 1975 Metropolis bought the building and crested the apex with statue of victory in the place of the phoenix. The statue of victory – the roman goddess Victoria - was designed by Federico Valera.
at the corner of Calle Alcala and Gran Via
Originally conceived as a convenient connection between the two hills of Madrid historic downtown, the viaduct of Segovia Street was quickly adopted by the local suicides as just the perfect place in where to accomplish their ultimate goals, so it was not at all uncommon to see people falling into the precipice of Segovia Street some decades ago. Luckily, the city council protected the viaduct with glass barrier, and thus making Segovia Street a much safer place for walking ;-)
The viaduct could be found as the prolongation of Bailen Street, near the Royal palace.
Photographer Alfonso Stairway is a really "off the beaten path" place, altought is near everything. You can find this beautiful place at Calle Mayor and Bailén; the stairway leads you under Segovia Bridge.
La Escalinata del Fotógrafo Alfonso es realmente un lugar fuera de los paseos turísticos habituales, aunque está cerca de todo. Puedes encontrar este hermoso sitio en el curce de Calle Mayor y Bilén; la escalinata termina debajo del Puente de Segovia.
A neighboorhood with small streets. artists and yuppie-people live here. the cobblestone streets are embellished with small fountains. at night the streets get overcrowed by partypeople. In malasan the msut see's are Plaza San Idlefonso wit its fountain. Iglesia de San Ildefonso, Iglesia de Sant Antonio and Iglesia de st Martin.
I love to get up early on sundays to see Madrid EMPTY. It's when Madrid is at its best, no cars, no pollution, no noises... it only lasts till approx 10 o'clock, so U better hurry if you wanna see it.
Another chance is in august, when the city is empty of madrilians...
"Puente de Toledo" (Bridge of Toledo) is one of the several bridges that crosses river Manzanares; it was built at 18th century, and is a magnificent pedestrain bridge.
El Puente de Toledo es uno de los varios puentes que cruzan el Manzanares; fue construido en el siglo XVIII, y es un magnífico puente peatonal.
On friday and saturday nights there are some walking tours around old Madrid, organised by the Tourist Office. They take about 2 hours around the city centre, from Plaza Mayor, and include some disguised characters that play little representations of street scenes of Madrid of the XVII century.
To get the tickets go to the tourist office that is located at Plaza Mayor, 3.
If you want to see other things than the traditional Sol - Santa Ana - Plaza Mayor zone in terms of restaurants and nightlife, try the "Noviciado" area Calle de la Palma, Plaza de Comendadoras, Calle Cristo and Calle Conde Duque. You have quite a lot of places
The streets in this district are very lively, with a lot a little shops and an atmosphere similar to what it was 30 years ago. Calle Noviciado is full of little shops, very lively for example on saturdays morning.
- In Calle Palma: El Maño, Alacena de Paula as Restaurants, Bodegas Rivas for Beers and wine, Cafe Bar de la Palma for "Copas" and live music.
- In Plaza Comendadoras: La Taqueria de Birra, a mexican restaurant with a nice terrace, and Cafe Moderno for coffees and "copas", nice terrace too.
- In Calle Cristo, a lot of interesting places. This is a pedestrian street, quite short and charming.
Metro: Plaza de España and Noviciado.
I can't think of a better example of what Madrid exactly is than the avoided by the tourist district of Malasaña. By day, its little streets didn't bring to your mind the idea of a bustling metropolis, but the placid tranquility of a small village where everybody knows your name. The small and old shops, the animated chats of lifetime neighbors in the middle of the streets, the "feeling" that nothing really important happen outside the limits of the district.
But during the weekends, when the night falls and the neighbors go to bed, the streets suddenly becomes the kingdom of hordes of teens or post-teens (depending of the hour), in the constant pursuit of squeezing out Madrid night life. One could expend years in Madrid touristy areas and never learn anything about the city. A single night in Malasaña is usually much more illustrative ;-)
My favourite place for sunsets in Madrid is the square between tha Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral. From that terrace you can see the whole west of Madrid, towards the Casa de Campo and it makes a quiet wonderful palce for a sunset...
As you wander the old and charming district of La Latina, you might want to consider a rest in the peaceful and romantic garden of the Anglona Palace. I would definitely recommend it!
At the bottom of La Plaza de La Paja (Calle de Segovia, 13) you will find the door which gives you access to a hanging, intimate and withdrawn garden, which belongs to the Palacio de Anglona. The garden is only open during the daytime and offers you a peaceful and well-deserved rest.
Another curious street name: "Calle del Codo" (Elbow's Street). This narrow street at ancient Madrid bends like an elbow, as we suspect from the begining.
Otro nombre curioso para una calle: "Calle del codo". Esta callejuela en el Madrid antiguo se acoda, como lo sospechamos desde un principio.