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The Prado's star court painter

Madrid for it

While we Brits might resign ourselves to the terrible reality that is Monday morning with little more than a deep sense of foreboding. Sunday in Madrid announces itself like a call to arms. From almost as soon as you get up it becomes quite obvious that Madrilenos are definitely not going to give up the weekend without a fight.

The Rastro. Madrid‘s vibrant street market. is an important part of the city‘s Sunday ritual. It is also a place where traditional Madrid coexists with its modern counterpart in some of the most surreal ways you are likely to see. From the Plaza Cascorro down the Calle de Curtidores are stalls selling everything you might want to buy and plenty you wouldn't. Genuine shepherds‘ crooks. religious relics. the latest bondage gear. old car parts. and such seemingly useless items as half empty bottles of shampoo.

Where London has its Cockneys. Madrid has Castizos. The Rastro is one of the areas most steeped in the traditions of this uppity lot. known for their sarcastic wit. slang and sense of humour. Among Madrid‘s young and hip are the traditional Barquilleros who are found throughout the market selling waffles. To call the attention of passers by they vigorously turn roulette wheels that have been in the family for

120 THE “ST 15 Feb—l Mar 2001

.L‘ s n s o a A ~ . s s g u s . s u . g o a . . n u a ;.

Madrilenos are definitely not going to give up the weekend without a fight

generations. testimony to a time when the Rastro was the site for many a clandestine gambling session. Further down the hill. competing with the music of Britney Spears. you can often find an old woman with her ancient organ used to accompany the (‘astizo

dance. the (‘hotis Around two o‘clock the Rastro starts winding down and the throng heads west to Madrid de los Austrias. hunting for available space in the local tavernas. While you are struggling to build up the courage to try the Madrid delicacies of tripe and pigs ear. this is the ideal opportunity to

Madrid. At its core is the Plaza Mayor built by Phillip ll and his Habsburg descendants. To the West is the Palacio Real commissioned by the Bourbon King Philip V. Between them is the site of the old Muslim town and most of medieval Madrid. As much as the surrounding scenery. the local bars and restaurants chart Madrid‘s historical development. Beautifully tiled tavernas are now interspersed with more modern restaurants fusing traditional tapas with more international culinary trends. East towards Tirso de Molina Lebanese restaurants

have sprung up and taking a mint tea can be as

much a part of a Sunday afternoon as the traditional canas.

Everything from shepherd's crooks to used shampoo for sale

explore the oldest part of


Alejandro Martinez Casale is a resident of Madrid.


Taberna Alberto C/Argumosa 29 Good quality traditional food, cheap, very large glasses of Wine, great atmosphere.

La Taberna De Los Cien Vinos C/del NunCio Metro La Latina. Can choose from many different Wines and very good food, traditional reCipes prepared in a new style.

La Bardemcilla Chueca. Run by the famous acting family you can often see the actor JaVier Bardem dining there. A bit expenSive but great croquets (a tapas very pOpular in Madrid).

El Bonar Calle Cruz Verde (next to Calle de San Bernardo). All the lovely offal food Madrid is famous for, Los callos (tripe) and Coodo, offal With chickpeas.

La Recoba Calle Magdalena (next to AntOn Martin). Great caraiillos; whisky and coffee, With good live mUSIC and the Argentinian owner often Sings, You can eat up until five in the morning.