Giant pink sheep in the Puerta de Alcalá

I think the only thing the Puerta de Alcalá is missing is a giant pink sheep. Here’s why. Around November 20th every year, shepherds bring their flocks of sheep directly through the center of Madrid, in between these two stone markers (mojones) on the eastern side of Plaza Alcalá. This is supposed to be quiteContinue reading “Giant pink sheep in the Puerta de Alcalá”

Ornate street signs that I have to finally post about

I’ve been secretly wanting to post about the street signs in Madrid ever since I moved here. Each street in Madrid has a sign intricately painted on nine white tiles that commemorates its history, and some of the illustrations have dark stories to tell. This one tells the story of a miracle, and you canContinue reading “Ornate street signs that I have to finally post about”

Unusual architecture, a ghost story, and an assassination

I’m working on a signage project in Madrid, in the very historical neighborhood of Chueca and to get to the building sometimes I take the metro to Tribunal and walk over to Hortaleza. I was walking there one day and looked up at this super narrow building and thought, no, could it be? Then IContinue reading “Unusual architecture, a ghost story, and an assassination”

Fallen angels, gigantic monuments and an open-air sculpture museum

Madrid is home to the only statue in the world dedicated to Lucifer, the fallen angel who is believed to become the devil. It’s well worth a detour to see, especially since it’s in beautiful Retiro Park. Sculpted by Ricardo Bellver, a Madrid sculptor living in Rome in 1877, it caused a great deal ofContinue reading “Fallen angels, gigantic monuments and an open-air sculpture museum”

Saint’s blood, nun’s pastries, and Arab walls

Every July 27th in Madrid there is an event where a vial of blood is taken out of it’s preserved case, liquefied in front of masses of devotees, and then once the day is over, taken back to coagulate and preserve itself for many years to come. Image from The legend is that thisContinue reading “Saint’s blood, nun’s pastries, and Arab walls”

More things you didn’t know about Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor has a much darker past than you would imagine from the fun and festivities that fill the square these days. In the 17th and 18th Centuries it was the regular location for autos-de-fé, public condemnations for crimes against religion during the Inquisition. Prisoners sentenced to blasphemy, adultery, witchcraft and other crimes were burned,Continue reading “More things you didn’t know about Plaza Mayor”

Things you probably don’t know about Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor is the busiest place in Madrid, maybe with the exception of Plaza del Sol. There are a million tourists, street performers, Spaniards with their children, and of course the ever present pick-pockets. I was overwhelmed by this area when we first visited because places like this remind me of Times Square in NewContinue reading “Things you probably don’t know about Plaza Mayor”

Creepy dollhouse and even creepier story

In the North-east corner of the Plaza de Cibeles, which I wrote about earlier, there is an imposing building, the Palacio de Linares, which was restored in the 1990’s to its current incarnation as the Casa de América. During construction in 1990, there were many odd occurrences in the house. Doors were opening by themselves,Continue reading “Creepy dollhouse and even creepier story”

Barrio de las Letras

Ok, here’s a little anecdote about my neighborhood, Barrio de las Letras. A bit north of me, in the Plaza de las Cortes, is the Palace Hotel and every day at noon and 8pm on the corner of the hotel, you’ll see an odd little show with figures and loud chiming bells. The figures wereContinue reading “Barrio de las Letras”

Cibeles and the Cathedral of Communications

On Saturday, I decided to explore the area of Madrid surrounding the Cibeles fountain. Here she is, in all her glory. The statue is not fully accessible because it’s at the center of one of the busiest roundabouts in Madrid, so the best spot to get a photo is from the bus stop on theContinue reading “Cibeles and the Cathedral of Communications”