One Street in Madrid

Swing dancers, San Fernando Mercado

We’ve been in Madrid for two weeks now and in that time we’ve become intimately acquainted with our street… and not much else. In our defence, our street has a small supermarket, a grocery, a churros factory (!), an alimentacion which is open late (for sneaky late night tinnies of cold beer) and several bars – one of which is called ‘Galadriel’ and is decorated with stills from the Lord of the Rings films. Why should we leave?

But it turns out that Madrid is one of those cities where you can be the world’s uncoolest traveller (like me!) and still find something awesome. Last Sunday we took a stroll up towards an area called Lavapies (we pronounce this as Lava Pies, which I love!) and we popped into San Fernando market. There were a few stalls open, selling fruit and vegies, fish, eggs, fish eggs (possibly) – and right in the middle of it all, in the very centre of the market, were dozens of people swing dancing!

Swing dancing in San Fernando Mercado, Madrid

Well, we did what any self-respecting lazy tourist would do – we bought ourselves a couple of beers and stood around to watch. It was a stinking hot day – 35 degrees – and the men’s shirts were soaked through with sweat. This was the middle of the market; there was no air-conditioning, not even a fan. Just a PA pumping out swing hits from the 1950s and a bit of bare ground. That’s all anyone needs to get on the dancefloor and show off their moves.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself stumbling across a cool gig, an unexpected party or a crazy street fair? Did you join in?

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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