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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #1
eklips
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Eklips' central Madrid thread

When I take pictures for a photo thread, I normally try to present a diverse look at cities, to show their heterogeneity.

I stayed in Madrid for more than two months this winter and I initially planned to do something like this. However, although I stayed for a whole month in the Mostoles/Alcorcon area, I never had time to take pictures outside of the center. Which is why I never really bothered to open this thread until now, I figured that there were already plenty of central Madrid pictures around here. Nonetheless, I now think it's better to upload them, then make them go to waste. All of these pictures where taken in february when I was staying in the "Lavapies" area in central Madrid.

Also, since it's been six month now, there might be some errors in the places or events that I will describe (I like to explain the pictures, I think it makes a picture thread more interesting), please forgive me in advance and anyone is of course invited to correct me where I am wrong.

To start, here are some pictures taken around the Principe Pio metro station in the Moncloa district, at the western tip of the city center :



01 - The Principe Pio station itself. Generally I found the Madrid metro much cleaner than Paris'. This is of course normal since it's much more recent, I also found the "renfe" (suburban metro) much more efficient than it's Parisian equivalent that I have to take everyday : the RER. Nonetheless, it's an overall smaller network and a bit overpriced given the situation in Spain right now.



02 - Around Principe Pio, don't remember much about this area except that it seemed centric without actually being in the center, therefore probably much quieter :


03 - Same thing


04 -


05 - We now leave the Principe Pio area to go outside of the Lavapies metro station. In the south of the center, this is the area I stayed in for a month, it's probably the only remaining working class area in the center that hasn't been completely gentrified. A bizarre mix of hippish leftist spanish people who have a lot of self-managed institutions in the area and immigrants. The ladder are pretty diverse, but south asians (Bengladesh), west Africans (Senegalese) and Moroccans seem to be the majority. But there are also a lot of latin-Americans and chineses as well as a few Europeans too. Kind of reminded me of the Barbès area in Paris. It used to be a very Moroccan area in the 90s but it got diversified since then.


06 - One of Lavapies' small, hilly streets. The area also seems to be the spanish police's favorite place in the center to do some random raids against random black people (from what I have seen), even if a few streets next to here in la Latina area or Gran Via you can have Europeans erasmus students or even some native Spaniards being completely drunk and acting like imbeciles.


07 - Guys like these two on the right generally tend to mean that gentrification is coming , hopefully for Lavapies, it seems that the crisis has slowed things down.


08 - This little hole in the wall shop sells products from : Latin-America, Africa, Asia and "Arab". What a mix.


09 - A random "bazar" in Lavapies:


10 - If I recall, this is at the south of Lavapies, close to the Embajadores Renfe station.





The next ten pictures are coming soon.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #2
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Eklips, first of all thanks for your pictures.



Second I´d like to comment that Lavapiés is one of the most interesting and authentic places of Madrid that tourists usually don´t visit even when it´s five minutes away from Reina Sofía Museum.


Around the square it´s more dirty because there´s a lot of people there, but a bit further all the houses are restaured with brilliant colours (a bit like Mexico) and there´re interesting places like alternative theatres, rock and ethnic bars, an alternative gay area (not like Chueca) , bookshops, art galleries...There´s also a street of cheap and chic restaurants (Argumosa)...

I have thogught some times to prepare a thread of that area, but I haven´t done it, so it´s fantastic to see your pictures now.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #3
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Less Bengalis and Africans and more spanish



Lol nice pics though!!
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Old October 18th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #4
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Okay second round of pictures.

11 - We're now going to leave Lavapies little by little and go north to the center of the center, the Sol-Gran Via area (more on that later). Right now, this is still Lavapies, just going up, a nice mural where it's pretty easy to score some weed by the way. There are cameras everywhere though (didn't have to buy it in the street when I wanted some then) :


12 - Looking down. That vehicle is blocking the whole road but it doesn't seem to matter . Nonetheless, I found Madrid to have much calmer and respectful drivers than in Paris, something that never stopped surprising my local friends (spanish or not) who had never been to France before.


13 - Going up, this is still Lavapies' small streets. It used to be Madrid's medieval jewish area.


14 - This is the end of Lavapies officialy, the Tirso de Molina plaza where I had a few drunken nights staying there with friends until early morning. A five minutes walk from where I used to stay, I made friends with a few random Moroccans here (they initially wanted to give me flyers for some party but when they learned I was from France, they instantly switched to French and talked about their experiences in Paris etc. We hanged out a few times afterwards:


15 - We're now getting closer to the Sol-Gran Via area now. At the end of this street is another square called "plaza de Jacinto Benavente". At the end of this street on the right is a pizza place open 24/24 giving for the hordes of drunk and hungry party-goers who want to eat something at 5am : loads of people go there and they manage it by making their workers work at 200% speed, it was quite impressive.


16 - In the Plaza now, looking at the avenue to the east.


17 - The Jacinto Benavente square itself


18 - We now left the square and are headed to the Sol Plaza itself... I have no memory of these dorks with the balloons though, what the fuck was that about


19 - Some advertisments on the wall, bad quality photo though.


20 - At last, the centric Sol plaza, but what the fuck is happening?


You'll get your answers on the following post

Last edited by eklips; October 19th, 2012 at 12:18 AM.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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By the way, did you stay in Madrid or did you visit any nearby cities like Segovia or Alcala de Henares?
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:09 AM   #6
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Nice thread eklips!


I like the street life that you are mostly showing

I love the description and how you take shots of things that people in this forum always tries to avoid

Nice!
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:17 AM   #7
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Thanks. I also did a thread on Medellin a few years ago if you're interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musiccity View Post
By the way, did you stay in Madrid or did you visit any nearby cities like Segovia or Alcala de Henares?
I moved all around the Madrid region (didn't go outside to places like Segovia though), the furthest away from Madrid I've been too was around Torrelaguna. Which is why it's such a shame that I only took pictures of central Madrid that everybody already knows.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
Thanks. I also did a thread on Medellin a few years ago if you're interested.
Really?

I didn't know that you visited my shitty city! of course i'm interested can you send me the link please?
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:46 AM   #9
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I don't think Medellin is "shitty", here's the link http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...302&highlight=
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
I don't think Medellin is "shitty", here's the link http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...302&highlight=
Err.. Medellin looks kinda shitty in those pics... but anyways lets see more pictures of Madrid
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Old October 19th, 2012, 12:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
I don't think Medellin is "shitty"
Of course you don't I'm talking about me

Quote:
Originally Posted by musiccity View Post
Err.. Medellin looks kinda shitty in those pics...
Of course he just concentrated in the poor side of the city which sadly the city center is part of

but yeah let's keep talking about Madrid!
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Old October 19th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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I have fond memories of Madrid, staying in the Arguilles district which had a cool city feel to it. One night I remember meeting someone in a bar and going with them to an 'ethnic club' where we danced with very warm and happy south american girls. Could possibly have been in the district you're showing, but not sure as it was night and I was just a visitor....not to mention it was quite a few years ago.

Anyway, enjoyable and engaging presentation. Please continue.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 04:18 PM   #13
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Great too see an area not depicted on here......Thanx..
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Old October 20th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #14
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21 - Here's what was happening, there was a protest by some spanish conservative political organizations about abortion in the tourist heart of the city. Madrid is a very popular city (even today with the crisis) amongst the European youth and "in" people who go there to party or study. A lot of these people forget that it's a real city with real issues and heterogenous populations. Madrid is not only drunk students, it is also conversatives protesting about abortion, impoverished Morocans in Lavapies, hundreds of thousands of blue collar people living in areas such as Vallecas or Mostoles and so on.



22 - Notice the people with the yellow jackets amongst the crowd? These are latin-american street workers, "wage slaves", trying to get people to buy gold if I remember well. Although everything differentiate them from these conservative and upper class spaniards in this protest, I recall hearing these immigrant workers voicing out their opposition to abortion too when I passed by.



23 - OKay we are now leaving Sol Plaza to go up the Gran via avenue, through the "Montera street". Keep in mind that Sol and Gran Via are the touristic heart of Madrid, both by day and by night. Many of the people in these photos are probably not spaniards (or even long term immigrants/ethnic minorities).


24 - Looking back at the protest on Sol


25 - A tattoo parlor on Montera street. Back then, you could see a lot of closed or closing shops right in the middle of central Madrid. A reality reminder of the crisis. The most impressive however being the ghost towns in the suburbs (built during the construction boom but almost nobody lives there) and the empty malls.


26 - We are now at the end of Montera street and arriving to the Gran Via avenue. Aside from the grandeur of the buildings you see here, Montera street is a very strange place : there are street prostitutes all along, in the middle of Madrid's touristic heart. This is something that is unheard of in Paris nowadays where, although there is of course a lot of prostitution, it tends to be much more hidden. Here it goes on in the open and in the most centric of places. There also seems to be a racial hierarchy amongst prostitutes : at the bottom, near the Sol plaza, a lot of these women seem to be African. As you go up towards gran Via, they become Eastern European girls....
What I wondered though is where they get it on with their clients, in the over-priced hotels around? Anyways, what a contrast between the "grandeur" of the architecture and this human misery...


27 - A side street at the end of Montera.


28 - And here we are, the Gran Via, a sort of Manhantanesque grand avenue in the middle of this southern European capital. There is really nothing comparable in Paris : huge advertisement everywhere, theaters, small neons here and there, and of course, monumental early XX century buildings.


29 - A huge billboard on the Gran Via. Incredible to think that such display of wealth is just a few metres away from the Montera prostitutes and a 10 minutes walk away from Lavapies and it's police raids, it's drug consumption and immigrant living in shit conditions.


30 - A small, tobacco fixed street vendors. He probably is here everyday so the most probable is that he doesn't give a fuck about the monumentality of the Gran Via.


That's all for now.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 01:20 PM   #15
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Madrid is very underrated.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #16
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I really like this thread and I especially love the descriptions.

Which are the main differences between Madrid and Paris? And between "Madrileños" and Parisians?
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Old October 20th, 2012, 01:40 PM   #17
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hmm hard question since in both Paris and Madrid the populations are very heterogenous, some things that I noted though was that :

- Parisians pretend to be more worldly while in Madrid most people I met didn't seem to care much about what happens outside Spain : this is not necessarily a bad thing, it's annoying to always meet people who pretend they have seen every movie, been everywhere, read every book and know about the real reasons as to why things are happening around the globe when they don't really have a clue. In Madrid this didn't struck me as much, people either didn't care or were curious, but they never tried to tell me who I was or make grand speeches about Libya or China.

- Also Parisians are a bit quieter IMO, except for the ghetto guys . Madrileños (but also many spaniards) shout a lot.

- "Pijo" (upper class rich) madrileños are much more discreet than the flamboyant "bourgeois" parisians (by the way they dress, they talk etc.).

- I think there are a lot of generation issues amongst young people in Madrid to try and be the opposite of what former generations have been. After Franco you had the drugs and filthiness of the 80's, then in the 90's and early 2000s I heard that the young people became much more "modest", and now it seemed that the younger than 20 years old are acting like crazy too : drugs, sex, filthiness (for example a few times while going back to Lavapies, I saw teenage spanish girls pissing in the steets), very much against marriage, religion and so on. Of course I don't judge them, but it seemed to me that in France -although we do have a lot of class and race issues - I don't think that this that the "youth" always tries to go against their parents that much.

- Race and class issues actually : as far as Romanian, Latin-American and Moroccan minorities are concerned, I felt that the situation in Madrid was a bit like in the 70s and 80s in Paris.

- I recall that a lot of Madrileños that I have met see themselves as separated from the rest of Europe. I recall hearing a lot of times that the rest of Europe was richer, greener, more civilized etc. (which is why a lot of them were really surprised when I for example told them that Madrileños are much more respectful drivers than parisians), but at the same time people seemed proud of this insularity.
Although Parisians and french people always complain about "the french" : there is IMO a "civilizational arrogance" amongst Parisians that I didn't see that much in Madrid.

All of these are of course just impressions and I could be completely wrong.

Last edited by eklips; October 24th, 2012 at 12:25 PM.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 02:01 PM   #18
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I agree with you in many things.
Talking about the comments about the richer and more civilized Europe (I don't agree with "greener", northern Spain is one of the greenest areas in the continent) I think it was something that Spaniards were forgetting during 90s and 2000s when the American Dream turned into "Spanish Dream" and Spain was seen like one of the most promising countries, but now it has changed a lot due to crisis and we hear those comments like in 70s and 80s. And I don't think Spaniards don't care about what happen outside their country, it's one of the few things that I do not agree with.

Greetings and thank you
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Old October 20th, 2012, 02:08 PM   #19
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Yes you are right. I remember now about the greenery thing. I was wrong about the greener part : it's because I was housed by some peruvians friends, immigrants. They are from Lima the capital of Peru, which is located in a desert. Therefore when I talked about France and Spain with them, "greenery" was a big subject.

As for what happens outside of their country, I of course don't mean that spaniards are completely oblivious, just that they don't pretend to know everything like some parisians do : in my specific case, I am of jewish origins. A lot of the Spaniards I have met generally know nothing about jews but don't pretend that they do. Here in Paris it's the opposite, people always try to tell me and explain to me who I am. But you are right that nuances should be made, not everything is black and white.

Anyways, you're welcome, it's always nice to discuss one's impressions of a place with locals.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #20
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Your case has probably gave you a wrong view of reality, the Jewish religion and culture is not very known in Spain, there are very few Jewish population and we are not in contact with many Jewish people, maybe for that reason nobody tried to tell you and explain nothing about your origins and way of life.

But you're probably right and Spaniards are not especially smartass on international issues, if we speak about the national reality it can be different.
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