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Postings 166 to 170

Log #170. Coldplay in Madrid

Sunday night at the Palacio de Deportes in central Madrid Chris Martin and the gang came to play. The previous night (Saturday) the band had also played in Barcelona.

Both concerts were in aid of Oxfam and to publicise its campaign "Comercio con Justicia" (Fair Trade). Several lucky volunteers for this organisation got given free tickets.

Before the Madrid leg the band did a TV interview and Chris Martin was cheekily asked which city he preferred. He told the interviewer that this was a forbidden question. "There are two prohibited questions in this interview, yeah? You don't ask about our relationships and you don't ask about the Barcelona versus Madrid thing." lol.

The majority of the concert was taken up with tracks from the Viva la Vida album but of course they bunged in a few of the classics from previous albums as well. It wasn't the full-on concert and lightshow spectacular but it was as professional as always and everyone had a good sing-a-long and got sent home happy.

Log #169. Nightlife is Terrace Life

It's August, Madrid is melting and those still left in this half-emptied city have to develop strategies to cope - and continue having fun. Siestas are in, so is shopping in big department stores with decent air-conditioning, and of course the ever popular 'drinking-heavily-late-into-the-night' option.

In this month, the usual nightlife location patterns alter slightly. When some nights can reach 35 C. degrees, those bars, clubs and restaurants that offer open-air terraces become extra sought-after. Those situated in areas with prevailing breezes, advanced-cooling fans or simply very, very high (like on the top of towers) are super sought-after. So, with this in mind I want quickly run through my 3 favourite terraces (or terrazas in the local idiom) for escaping the heat.

Real Café Bernabeu | Set high-up in the eaves of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the home of our heroes Real Madrid, you don’t really notice the super-plush surroundings at first 'cos your eye keeps being drawn either to the interior of the stadium or the huge TV screen showing Real’s best moments. This place is popular with the posh and bourgeois. Girls, you will need to be casual but chic - Boys, put on your best shirt. Some nights they will have a live band, there’s a mini-casino, and the DJs play classic Ibiza-style house. Free entry (before 1.00am), expensive, but you're paying for the brand aren't you? So never mind the quality, feel the width.

The Irish Corner | In the north-eastern part of the city, opposite where the metro station Ciudad Lineal opens on to, you will find this very large pub which has 2 terraces. It’s not a ’spectacular’ place, like some terraces you can find in the city. There are no commanding views, no special cocktails. But it does benefit from being located in a large open space with few buildings and so it catches all the cooling breezes that pass through. It's also usually less crowded than some other spots. Service is at table and food is available until 0100hrs. No music outside and it closes at 02.00hrs weekdays (later at weekends).

Parque de Atenas | Probably Madrid-Uno’s most favourite terrace, it’s situated down below the Royal Palace at the bottom of the Campo del Moro. There’s so much I like about this spot: groovy music, but not too loud to interrupt conversation - the way the bar is set out with a mix of stools, large tables and benches, or the option to just sit on the grass - the just right breeze that comes down the hill behind you. This place also benefits from being close to La Riviera, one of Madrid's prime spots for live concerts which has it's own tropical garden terrace that can hold over 1,000 people.

OK, there you go, 3 top places (IMHO) to go to on a hot night in central Spain.

Log #168. More Madrid Graffiti

Graffiti in Pacifico barrio, Madrid.

This picture was taken down in the Pacifico part of town, where there are some apartments that can legitimately be called ‘real hidden treasures’ - private, secluded, modern, lots of greenery. I like graffiti too.

Log #167. Immigrants

The latest official population statistics for Madrid have been released. They show some interesting immigration patterns throughout the city.

The largest group of foreigners in the city is the Romanian one. Officially, there are now 195,000 of them, and they are concentrated in three eastern districts (Barajas, Vicalvaro and Villa de Vallecas). But remember this is the ‘official’ figure, so only counts the registered ones. There are at least a couple of thousand living rough in the outskirts (including an enterprising bunch who have taken over the waste land by the 4 Torres building development and turned it into an encampment), and many more bunking on beds or operating in the black economy.

Next most numerous, and far more widely spread, are the Ecuadorians, who number 145,000. They are the largest immigrant group in 16 of Madrid’s 21 districts. Third up are the Bolivians, who are the largest immigrant group in the central district of Usera. Compare this tidal wave of human-kind to the trickle of an estimated 2,000 Brits and 3,000 Irish. It seems us Anglo-saxons and celts prefer to huddle on the costas, closer to the cheaper beer.

Immigrants account for 14.1% of the total population of Madrid, 3% higher than three years ago and 4% more than the national average of 9.9%.

Log #166. Photo Exhibition in Retiro

Photo exhibition on one of the main avenues through Retiro Park, central Madrid.

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