Madrid has many sights to offer, many places of interest that you can find in any travel guide of the city. They are certainly worth seeing. I personally love to just stroll around in Madrid's quarters, discovering hidden parks, small shops where artisans make and sell their wares, or colourful decorations on walls. One such neighbourhood is La Latina. Although Madrid's neighbourhoods are not easy to define precisely, La Latina runs roughly South-West of Plaza Mayor and extends south towards Puerta de Toledo.
Here, Madrid shows a genuine face. You can see original architecture, have a drink and something to eat in typical bars, meet ordinary Madrileños, visit covered permanent markets selling mostly fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and such. You can find truly specialized handicraft shops, invariably small, all with their distinct smell, often a friendly, old Madrileño or Madrileña in charge. I often can't help but think that they inherited their shop from their parents. Indeed, while I was once looking for a ceramics shop, it turned out that the owner had died, and therefore, the shop had had to close.
Probably the best attraction of Latina is to just stroll around, letting the neighbourhood get at you. Just walking the narrow streets and alleys, go with the flow, as if you were a boat on a river, always being pushed forward by the current. The streets are narrow, the houses high, and you often walk in the shade, and you can't really look ahead because most streets are not straight. It only adds to the surprise when you find yet another small square, a rope shop, a bar on a corner. You might as well run into a conversation of two women talking to each other, each one on a balcony on one side of the street.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Latina (Spain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Latina. Read more about this site.