Spain’s capital, a city of over 3 million people, is situated close to the geographical centre of the country.
It is a wonderful city with highly fascinating people. The paradox with Madrid is that quite often it is viewed as being second to Barcelona in terms of appeal. Given all that Barcelona has to offer and despite all this to write off the Madrid completely misses the point and at the end of the day it is Madrid that is at the centre of both the road and rail networks in Spain.
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.
Because of its distance from the sea and its altitude, the city in deal is cold winters and hot summers, making spring and autumn the best times to visit.
Madrid’s attractions include three internationally famous art galleries, a royal palace, grand public squares and many museums filled with the treasures of Spain’s history.
Madrid as you see is very much a combination and manifestation of 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.
La Latina is an area of Madrid quite often overlooked by the majority of tourists and visitors but it is home to the Plaza la Paja which was Madrids main square during medieval times.
The decline of the Moorish influence in Spain meant that this part of Madrid became known as a moreria otherwise known as an enclosed ghetto where Muslims live. Memories of days gone by can still be found in some of the rich place names found here.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.
Don’t let the slightly grubby appearance from time to time and the general down at heel atmosphere confuse you this is an international capital city with all that that entails. 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?
North of the city you will find Masalena, a wonderful cobble stoned area stretching from the city centre. This is a fabulous part of Madrid once described as being like the girlfriend or boyfriend you couldn’t bring home to your mother. 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.
As in most capital cities that have this sort of history there is a lot more to Madrid that initially meets the eye. Dig slightly deeper, look underneath the stones and beyond the flaking paint and you will embark upon a love affair with a city that will last for many a year.
Miss Madrid and it will be your loss.