During my weekend in Madrid, I enjoyed listening to, and watching the various musicians, playing on the streets of Madrid.
Three of my favourites were the trio in my 1st picture, who played near El Corte Ingles off Sol - it was bitterly cold, but they soon warmed up the gathered crowd, with some recognisable tunes, I recorded some of their music, and enjoy listening to it now I'm back home - They had a cd for sale - I didn't have enough money on me at the time, and was hoping to catch them later to buy one, but I'm afraid that I didn't. I'm trying to download my mini video onto here.
The young small girl playing her violin,(pic 2) was also very memorable - I'd just left Bar La Ideal, near Pz Mayor, after enjoying the speciality of a boccadillo calamares - battered squid in a bread roll, before heading back to my hotel, then the airport.
The 3rd group, I came across in Sol as it started to get dark - Great music, which contributed to the atmosphere of bustling Sol - they looked like great characters too. (pics 3-5)
I really enjoy coming across street musicians, and always put a few coins their way - I'm a big fan of Live Music, and am always envious, wishing that I had a musical talent.
After the death of Franco in 1975 a peroiod of personal and artistic freedom started. By the youth this got translated into experimenting with drugs, drinking and going out late. This phenomen is called la movida. the movement brought a lot of culture and one of the icons of the movement was film maker Pedro Almodovar, known for his satirical art movies such as tode sobre mi madre.
bullfighting is a national passion in spain.
it's hated worldwide and i find it a bit of an odd hobby myself, but it's very popular in spain and the fights are almost always sold out.
i went to a bullfight myself in spain and i must say it was an interesting if a bit add spectacle.
i grew up on the countryside myself and i'm used to seeing animals being butcherd, so it wasn't that bad for me to watch, but i would not recommend that you bring your children to a bullfight.
the bullfighting arena in madrid is a very impressive arena and worth seeing even if you have no intentions of going to watch a bullfight.
The night after coming back from the "working" the week at the English immersion program, the Anglos and some Spaniards meet at Plaza Santa Ana at Naturbier bar for some tapas and homebrewed cervezas.
*** For more pictures, click on the link pages 1, 2, 3, and 4 which should be towards the bottom of the page. ***
This is something every tourist who comes to Madrid wants to see once!! I am not very fond of it, but will try to give you an idea of what is it all about...
Where to see it?
Madrid arena called "Las Ventas" (http://www.las-ventas.com/). This web is interesting, but is in spanish. To get there, take the Metro, line 2 (red) till the end, stop "Ventas"
When to see it?
The corridas take place every sunday (from march to october) and in certain festivities. There are special corridas in San Isidro festivities, in may, with shows every day of the week.
The prices go from 2 euros (at the very top under the sun) to 100 (first row on the shade). Why different prices for sun and shade? Because all the corridas start at 5pm, and the sun is high normally at that time...
Where to buy the tickets? The best way is in the Plaza, the fridays (10-2, 5-8) or in certain "agencies" (Victoria street, near Sol), but there is more expensive (20% more).
There is a website too, for tickets all over Spain:
How does it go?
There are normally 6 bulls, played by 6 different toreros (though some may play several, depends). Each bull has to be "played" and then killed with a sword and the corrida ends when the 6 bulls are killed.
It might be a disgusting show for some animal lovers and sensible souls, but beside the bull itself, there are many colourful and ethnically interesting aspects that make a bullfight an interesting experience while in Madrid...
Many, many centuries ago, before the humankind could even think about Air Conditioning systems, the witty Spaniard people found the perfect method for fighting the summer heat: terraces. Well, actually terraces and cold beer is the solution. You just sit in your favorite one, with your friends or relatives and you enjoy your evening/night in that extension of your home that the street is during summer.
As you may appreciate on the picture, we start at a very early age with our terraces explorations. But don’t worry... this young gentleman wasn’t drinking anything else than milk. ;-)
Ahh... bullfighting, Spain's very controversial past time. I was going to put this under "must see" but then I thought, well, it's really just a matter of opinion on this one. I had to go, because I wanted to see what it was all about (I'm really interested in the culture) Well, it's gory, let me tell you. My mom was a little worried about me at first, because I wasn't sure what to expect, and I just turned white during the first fight. And we were way up top in the cheapest seats!! First of all, there are 6 bullfights. (I stayed for four) The first thing that happens is, of course, they let the bull loose. There are men with pink capes who work the bull, so the matador can see how the bull is, and also to wear it out a little. Then, out comes two men on horses. (The horses have protection) The bull then attacks the horse, so that the man on the horse can stab the bull to weaken it. After this, the men run at the bull, and put two things (I really can't think of the name right now, brain freeze) in it. This is done three times, and to me, is so daring. Anyways, finally, the matador comes out with the red cape and works the bull, each time, bringing it closer and closer past him. Finally, he kills it with one stab (hopefully)! Afterwards, horses come out and pull the bull away.
During the bullfight we went to, a couple of times, the guys had to jump over the wall, because the bull was chasing them. It gets very exciting. Also, one time, the horse the bull was attacking actually fell. So, with the bull still attacking the fallen horse, they had to try and get the man, who was on the horse, out from underneath. It was so scary to me. It's definitely a one of a kind experience to go to a bullfight. I do have a favorite thing about it, even though it's so gory, I love how confident the matadors can be. To turn your back on a raging bull, that takes guts. It's amazing.
In Madrid, even if you don't go to the bullfight, at least check out the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, it's a really impressive place.
Whenever I have the chance I like to buy the sunday press and sit under the sun in the Retiro Park. It is like an oasis of calm in busy Madrid. I like to separate the different sections in the newspaper, and start reading each one till the very last page. That's my idea of a lazy sunday morning.
For the colour supplement I go to the nearest terrace and order a cold beer and some olives :-))))))))
Madrid is pretty famous for its marcha: going out is usually referred to as 'salir de marcha' (going out marching is the best litteral translation I can come up with) because Madrileños typically prefer to have a single drink in a bar before moving on to the next (and the next, and the next...).
Add to the nearly unlimited possibilities of bars, terraces and clubs, the fact that there are thousands of people in the streets, that it is possible to witness a traffic jam at 4am, and that there is ALWAYS a next place to go to no matter the time, and it's easy to see why Madrid is the undisputed champion of European nightlife! There seems to be an unwritten law that forbids you to go to sleep before dawn...
What are called 'Minis' are actually everything but small in size: they are 1L big plastic glasses filled with beer, rhum and coke or any type of alcoholic drink. Minis are usually shared within the group, and tend to be very popular mostly among teenagers.
Maybe some of you already knew about this, but I'm pretty sure that lots of you will be as amazed as me about this: in Spain most companies give you food tickets when you work for them. They are like checks allready written with an amount, that you can pay with at most of the restaurants. The company gives you a fixed daily amount, usually approximately 6 euros, so if you come to work from abroad don't forget to ask for them!
A brilliant and economic idea!
Plaza Mayor is one of the many places in Madid where you're likely to see lots of people gathered and enjoying their beautiful city. These guys were performing another "local custom," flamenco. Actually, Sevilla is more well-known for Flamenco, but these street performers were pretty talented.