My nostalgic Madrid!!!

Again, this is my black and white series as I like to call them, revising and updating old posts in my blog for a new life. The pictures are in the individual posts on the things to see. I feel attach to them and need to bring them to the light. What better to do so than on my huge Madrid!!!

Yes, something I need to write about. I lived in Madrid from 1970-1974, there other times other periods, harder times for all. However, my love for the city has not waned in all these years. I am an appreciative person , and remember kindly all the good times of my life. Madrid is a big part of it.

When a young boy I had the inmense luck of playing for the Real Madrid organisation, first in baseball then in football/soccer. Real Madrid has remained my team of my life, Hala Madrid to all!!!  I used to lived at Calle de Alcalà ,331; 2do A, Buzon 67 Madrid 28027, right by the exit of metro line 5 Quintana corner with Calle de la Argentina. Many memories too intense to write all about it. I came from one dictatorship to another, and it was tough. We were dissidents in both right or left, they are not good.

This street or calle de Alcala has 10,5 km long from the Puerta del Sol to the Ave de la Hispanidad,passing by the best of Madrid. Yes, it was and always will be MY street. For those who knows,  I lived in working class Madrid away from tourist center, right in with the locals, and the experience was great, and is each time on the city. Thanks God it has been often after I left it in 1974. Who has not heard of this song Los Nardos from the movie Las Leandras with Rocio Durcal in 1969 “Por la calle de Alcalá…….”

While there, one of my anecdotes tells all was to go play baseball, we went to the field at the Parque de la Elipa, no metro then, just by bus, the P13, it was a glorious ride of youth chasing the girls going to the park as a means of entertainement in those days. (see post). I left Madrid for New Jersey, USA , and then Florida USA, where I spent most of my life. After many years, I try to remember the bus line and had in my mind the P13. However, Madrid and Spain had change since the 70’s , overall for the better. When I got back in 1990 , the bus line was no longer there,and could not find it. Then; one day trying to find information on the general strike in the city I stumbled into a wiki page that talk about a bus line 113. Well to my surprise this bus line 113 is the new number for the P13 after the creation of the Madrid bus system EMT!!! Amazing that I found it, after so many years, now that I know the numbers change, maybe I can have some fun looking up old bus lines while I was living there lol!! The P13 was nice, now the service of the 113 is even larger, and there is even a metro Elipa now there on line 2.  So glad Elipa is advancing, and glad the old P13 is still alive in the 113!

Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! Hala Madrid!! We win most often the best football club in history with 13 Champions titles and 34 national titles most than anybody else. Club of the 20C by FIFA and European club of the 20C by IFFHS!!!

But wait a minute, not just my story! Calle de Alcalà has a long history and wonderful things to see along its long way. I love history, so will like to tell you a bit of history I like. Hope you enjoy it.

The street began in the early 15C on the old road to Alcalá de Henares ,and reaching to Aragón,and was call then calle de los  Olivares  (olive trees street) ,the street was started by masons, horseshoe artists, and carriage rentals with mules, and was the beginning of the diligences or people mover in the whole of Spain!! When Madrid became the capital of Spain in 1561, more luxurious mansions and palaces were built on it.

Given way to the Puerta del Sol, until 1856  was the site of the Church and Hospital of  Buen Suceso, founded by king  Carlos I ;later it was the Hotel París, the most elegant of Madrid at that time, and on the bottom floor it was the venerable Café de la Montaña, now all gone. At the corner with the calle de Sevilla, it was La Equitativa insurance company building built between 1882-1891  you see the facade with heads of elephants under the balcony of the first floor  crown with a small tower and clock; in 1920 the Banco Español de Crédito purchase the building.

Continue on and see the old Customs or Aduanas building, and continue to see the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, built in 1724-1725; follow this up with the Casino de Madrid built in 1905-1910  in the old building of the palacio de Villarroel.  See the emblematic building of Madrid, in the corner with Caballero de Gracia,and beginning of the Gran Vía, see the French style palace of Union and Fénix, finished in 1910 . Its cupola a city landmark today ,used to be crowned with a ave fénix  symbolising the old company ,but in 1975, when the new company took over was change to a victoria style statue, this is the company or building  Metrópolis.

Moving right alont on old Madrid, as you crossed the Gran Vía and calle del Marqués de Valdeiglesias, you found the  Casa del Párroco, first building done between 1910-1912,as part of the public works to do the Gran Vía.  Just after you have the old theater or Teatro Apolo,considered a cathedral of the small art, capacity for 2,500 persons and built in 1873. Here was first played the greatest zarzuelas in history such as La verbena de la Paloma (1894), La Revoltosa (1898), and Doña Francisquita (1923). It closed in 1929, after being purchased by the bank Banco de Vizcaya for its headquarters in Madrid.  Going on the sidewalk to the right crossing the calle de Sevilla,you first see a building for the Banco de Bilbao built between 1920-1923.

You follow wandering the street and see the old Education ministry building or Ministerio de Educación, built in  1929 ,and it has a beautiful room or salon de Goya, and a completer gallery of pictures of all its ministries.  Another emblematic building and great for snack and coffee, is the El Círculo de Bellas Artes done in Calle de Alcalà by 1921-1926 You are about to reach Cibeles, and on the right you see the Banco de España built between  1882-1891. Right by the angle to  calle del Barquillo,in a former palace now you find the Instituto Cervantes. Right after at the old palace of Buenavista you now see the Cuartel General del Ejército de Tierra (headquarters of the Army).

You then reach the plaza de Cibeles, done under king Carlos III, with a nice perpective of the Puerta de Alcala. You have here the old Palacio de Linares built in 1873, today the wonderful Casa de América, to the left, and the palacio de Comunicaciones ,(old post office of Spain) today is the seat of the Mayor’s office to the right, built in 1905-1918. On the left sidewalk you see the reopen by 1994 and a different business there (El Secreto del Lobo resto) at the old  Cervecería de Correos, that have the peña or gathering group of  Federico García Lorca, and the Café Lión, with its famous crypt of La Ballena Alegre (happy whale) that have frequent visits by many  great names of Spain such as  Valle-Inclán, Penagos, Bergamín and Francisco Ayala;as well as politicals such as Azaña, Calvo Sotelo , José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and after the Civil War, such as  Dámaso Alonso and Vicente Aleixandre…It closed in 1993. And to the right you see the wonderful gardens Parque del Buen Retiro.

The Puerta de Alcalá, yes we arrive at the grand daddy for me, need to be here always visit by, the Church of San Manuel y San Benito, built in 1911.  The Puerta de Alcala was done under king Carlos III in 1778 by Sabatini. At the entrance to what today is calle de Serrano, an old execution site of the Holy Seat, was the old primitive first bullfight arena of Madrid done in 1799. The current plaza Monumental de Las Ventas,was built in neomudéjar style in 1931. Around it many wonderful bars such as La Tienta, La Divisa, La Monumental, Los Timbales(my all time favorite in the area), El Albero, and Los Tarantos. Awesome and more local away from the Centro!!!

A bit after by metro Quintana you have my hangout when in Madrid at Docamar, since 1963 ,the best patatas bravas in Madrid !!! And the calle de Alcalá continues it crosses the beltway road M-30, and goes across the districts of Ciudad Lineal (Quintana is one neighborhood) and San Blas ,finally ends running parallel to the avenida de América,in the interchange Eisenhower,where the road A-2 (carretera de Barcelona) and road  M-14 (avenida de la Hispanidad to the Aeropuerto Adolfo Suàrez Madrid-Barajas  crossed. And yes, you can link up to the airport or even to France from here. Awesome!!!!

The long link of the city of Madrid on transports:traffic in Spanish:

The much shorter tourist office of Madrid in English:

The tourist office of the Community of Madrid regional govt in Spanish:

You have the idea, Madrid is awesome and worth every centime/penny to come and see and see it again as there is a world there To Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! Yes!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: