La Latina can feel like a maze of twisty turny streets lined with terraces, offering up those infamous Spanish tapas. While no one can dispute La Latina’s bumping night life, it is also one of the most historic barrios of madrid. Contained within the original city walls established by the muslims, La Latina is often ignored, but worth a walk through one of Madrid’s oldest barrios.
Located behind the muslim wall, La Latina is within the original city limits established by the muslims in the 9th century. The Royal Palace and the Aqueduct of Segovia border the barrio on the west. In its center is Plaza Cebada, a centuries old market that provided wholesale good since the 16th century. Now it serves as the barrio mercado, as well as a community space where with a couple of cañas in hand you can hang out with friends or enjoy a normally free performance. El Rastro is a must see if you are in Madrid on a Sunday afternoon. The whole barrio turns into a street side flea market where you can find anything from cheap tourist stuff to kitchen knives, jewelry, or second hand clothing. Plaza de Paja is littered with a wide range of delicious restaurants serving up everything from typical Spanish fare to vegan deliciousness. All of which can be enjoyed on the terrace like a true madridleño. Finally hit up both calles Cava baja and Cava Alta, for even more tapas and shops. No matter where you go you will be surrounded by, what I believe to be the most beautiful architecture Madrid has to offer.
My tour starts randomly just east of San Francisco el Grande Basilica on calle de Bailen, then up calle Cava Alta to plaza de Puerta Cerrada. Finally, I hike it up calle de cuchilleros entering Plaza Mayor through my favorite gate, finishing up in Sol.
If social media has done anything for me, it has made my life look way better than yours. The only problem is I know this to not be true. In between the depressing photos of me absolutely enjoying my new life in Spain, are the times when my life is less than glorious and downright miserable. Obviously I am not sharing these little gems, they are left for my repressed memory banks. Here are some ways my life is no better than yours.
1. I am embarrassed on the regular. Every time I form my mouth to speak a word in Spanish. I am met with a confused look, as if the person to whom I am speaking already knows that everything coming out of my mouth is gibberish.
2. I teach English to children (enough said).
3. I am most always broke. Yup. Broke. But what about all those pictures of me all over the globe? Well, my answer to that is, I live in Europe. I can hop on a 5 euro bus from Madrid to some of the coolest places I’ve ever seen. For a 50 euro flight I could be in Italy, Paris, or bloody England for that matter. With deals like this, destinations that once seemed impossible to reach are now in my grasp.
4. Loneliness is real. It just is. Yes I am surrounded by people, but they ain’t my people (Chitown Stand UP!). I am constantly surrounded by people who don’t truly love me yet. And I yearn for my loved ones, wishing they could be where I am.
5. I really don’t have a fifth one, but I think the reason my life looks so much better than yours is because despite the above downsides, I am doing exactly what I want to do with myself at this moment. Maybe you’ve thought of doing something, but have talked yourself out of it, as we all have. You’ve convinced yourself you’re too old, too busy, too attached to that shitty job you hate, or just not good enough. This is where my life IS truly better than yours. I’ve told myself the same things, but what I did instead was not listen to it and believed that I can be fulfilled in this life, and you can too.