Sunday, July 31, 2011

De Madrid al Cielo

Our patch of sky

It may not be a beautiful view, but it's comfortable - our neighbourhood, as seen from our eyrie. It's very peaceful up here. And when we go down, this is a long-established barrio, with a mixture of traditional old brick casitas and mid-rise apartment buildings from every decade since, and more in progress. (Note cranes.)

There are parks and playgrounds, an indoor market, a Sunday market, a sports centre, cafe bars, a state-of-the-art library and theatre, a children's theatre, a busy church, schools and health facilities, and lots of family businesses rather than chainstores.

Up the steps and round the corner (also down the steps and round the corner) there are Chinese bazaars and restaurants, Arab butchers and grocers, Indian grocers, traditional bakeries, greengrocers, a deli, a bookshop, a newsagent, a tobacconist, an ironmonger, hairdressers, a vet, a seed and petfood shop, a florist, even a third generation basketweaver.

And beyond them, close enough to walk, but too far for traffic noise and crowded pavements, are calle Bravo Murillo, a main shopping street on main bus and Metro lines, and Plaza de Castilla, a strange clutter of interesting monuments and landmark buildings placed too close together to be appreciated - and a whopping great bus/train/Metro interchange from which you can get to pretty well anywhere in Spain, or get to Barajas Airport with just one change. Madrid is very good at public transport! Basically we've got the best of city life here: it's all at our feet if we want it, and when we don't, we hardly know it's there.

And when the sun goes down,
it's not bad at all.

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