A photographer chronicles the transformation of a city.
After the end of dictatorship, Madrid became the true capital of Spain?s cultural and musical life. Nightlife was a mission, and the movida madrile?a was at its peak. It was the only town in the world where you could find yourself in the middle of a traffic jam at 4 in the morning.
Everybody was hangin’ out, and the musical scene was like never before, and never would be again, with musicians like “Radio Futura,” “Alaska y los Pegamoides,” “Golpes Bajos,” and “Loquillo y los Trogloditas.”
Nowadays, Madrid has become the financial capital of Spain, with a more “usual” kind of nightlife. Let’s say more European.
But life and socializing is still very intergenerational: everybody hangs out with everybody, regardless of age or sex. A 16-year-old will drink a bottle of wine with a 70-year-old. This is typical all over Spain. Every town or village has its party week, usually devoted to the local saint or virgin. During those days, the whole population lives in the streets.
Madrid is an old world place; it?s also a city of the future. Being the capital city, it’s where the economic, political and media businesses are located. All the big decisions for the future of the country are made here. At the same time, it has an old spirit, made of old habits and old memories.
This city is all about timing. Lunch is at 3 p.m., dinner at 10. If you go to hang out in a bar at 11, you won’t find that many people. But if you go around 1 a.m., you’ll find it crowded.
One of the places I like to hang out most is La Cava Baja especially on Sunday mornings. If you go there for the aperitivo, at around 1 p.m., you’ll find families, couples and all the survivors of a Saturday night.
It’s hard to say what?s next for Madrid, because of its strange economic situation.
For 20 years, Spain had the fastest growth in Europe. But over the last two years it has stopped, since growth was pushed, apart from tourism, by the overexploited construction/real estate business.
One thing?s for sure, Spaniards, like Italians, always find a way out of the mess.
Escapista is the pseudonym of a Trieste, Italy-based photographer of Italian-Spanish heritage, who believes every Italian could live well in Spain ? and vice versa.
Walking in Madrid
La Cava Baja is a gastronomic heaven on a historic Madrid street. Visitors eat tapas either standing up, or sitting side-by-side, in tiny tiled restaurants. Some of the tapas bars have sublime wine lists, the Madrid wine tour company Cellar Tastings reports. The company finds “Tempranillo,” where wine bottles are stacked to the15-foot ceiling, the best, and also recommends Casa Lucio, Casa Victor, La Cava de Yllan and La Chata.
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