Madrid, Spain’s capital, deserves respect having struggled hard to establish itself over the years throughout the troubled history of Spain.
Madrid is fascinating, highly intriguing with wonderfully interesting people. There are those who sarcastically referred to Madrid as Spain’s second city after Barcelona by and large those are the people that have never really got to know Madrid. Now I know Barcelona has the Cathedral, the Nou Camp Stadium and was the venue for the most recent Olympic Games to be held in Spain but to write Madrid off as Spains second city seems to miss the point completely.
Yes the Catalans may praise Barcelona for the creativity and elegance of the city but to regard to Madrid is any less important purely because parts of it might need the old lick of paint is extremely superficial.
Madrid has very much the archetypal continental climate in that it has very cold winters and hot summers which means for those who don’t like extremes in temperatures the spring and autumn are the best times to visit.
Madrid has a great many attractions of which a royal palace, many grand public squares, three internationally renowned art galleries, and a great many museums filled with the treasures of the long and glorious history of Spain.
Madrid like many international cities and probably more than most reflects in sections its historical past. Now we have to remember here that this was a major European city that for 400 years lay under the rule of North African influence, namely that of the Moors. This is reflected in the area of La Latina.
This is an area of Madrid often overlooked by visitors and tourists alike but is rich in historical heritage and indeed during medieval times the Plaza la Paja was Madrid’s main square.
When the influence of the Moors declined in Spain, this area of Madrid became know as a moreria which actually means an enclosed ghetto where the Muslims live. Memories of a former age can still be found when you consider some off the place names such as Plaza de la Puerta de Moros and/or the historic architecture.Nowadays as in most cases things have changed and this part of Madrid becomes a party centre for the madrilenos, the people of Madrid later on in the day, every day.
Perhaps one of the most overriding aspects of Madrid would lie with the juxtaposition off the modern international capital city and the apparent down at heel and slightly grubby appearance. Mention this to the madrilenos and all they will likely do is shrug, sigh and suggest that there are more important things in life worth bothering about?
Who is to say they are wrong?
Elsewhere in Madrid you will find Malasana, a quaint cobble stones area stretching north from the city centre.Wonderfully described as possibly being like the boyfriend or girlfriend you couldnt bring home to your mother all human life in Madrid can be found here. With graffiti, posters and street art on virtually every conceivable surface Malasana has an anarchic feel and atmosphere that tells you this is the place to be at the right time of day.
The trouble is as far as perennial party goers will tell you, in this part of Madrid it is sometimes party time all of the day.
There is an awful lot more to Madrid that initial impressions would indicate. Peel back the flaking paint and go beyond the many tourists spots and you will find a city that you will fall in love with for many a year.
Miss Madrid and it will be your loss.