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Madrid City in English
Thursday 25th of May 2017
Simon Hunter 1007 24th of July 2012 by admin 24th of July 2012
La Latina

explains all you need to know about the hedonistic and historic neighbourhood of La Latina

Of Madrid’s 21 districts, La Latina falls into Centro. Like many neighbourhoods, it’s known by the name of its Metro stop, but the area actually straddles the Palacio and Embajadores neighbourhoods. It is not to be confused with Latina, which is a different district altogether. This La Latina is the place to be on a sunny Sunday, with a mojito in your hand and surrounded by other like-minded hedonists.

Where is it?
The neighbourhood doesn’t have clearly demarcated borders, but is roughly enclosed by Calle de Segovia to the north, Calle de Embajadores to the east, Ronda and Puerta de Toledo to the south, and Calle de Bailén to the west. The easiest way to find it is to follow the hordes of tourists heading to the Rastro market on Sundays, which runs mostly down Calle de Ribera de Curtidores, or follow the fashionistas and the pijos, who are headed to the bars around Plaza Puerta de Moros or Plaza de la Paja for their Sunday shenanigans.

Taking it easy is important in La Latina What’s it like?
Depending on the street you’re standing on, and indeed the time of the week, there are a variety of atmospheres in La Latina. The Plaza de Cascorro is swiftly turning into Madrid’s Chinatown, thanks to a plethora of wholesale businesses, whose Chinese employees spend the day loading up trucks bound for Spanish or Portuguese cities with cheap and cheerful fashions. Wander down Ribera de Curtidores to check out the camping, climbing and skiing equipment on sale, or head down there on a Sunday to enjoy the Rastro flea market. The Mercado de la Cebada is a focal point of the neighbourhood, with many of its stallholders having sold their wares in there for longer than they’d care to remember. Foodies should wander Cava Baja, checking out the sights and smells of the myriad restos and tapas bars, while the neighbourhood’s squares are a must for hedonists come the weekend—provided the police aren’t out to spoil the drinking-in-the-sun fun.

History
While the Plaza de la Cebada now features an underground car park and the rear exit of the market, it was one of the city’s favourite places for a good hanging back in the 19th century. Nothing like a public execution to give a neighbourhood a bit of life... The Rastro market gets its name, which literally means “the trail”, from the slaughterhouse that once found its home on the Plaza Vara del Ray. The blood left behind from the carcasses being loaded on to wagons gave the market its rather grisly name. The brave warrior immortalised by the statue in Plaza de Cascorro is Eloy Gonzalo, a soldier who fought in Cuba in the late 19th century. He saved his regiment by setting fire to a Cuban stronghold, and did so with a rope tied around his chest so his wounded body could be pulled back and not fall to the enemy. He died from his injuries, but was hailed a hero back home.

House prices
Single rented room in a shared house: around €370 a month.
Two-bed flat to buy: €309,224.
A refurbished flat could cost as much as €420,000, while a rundown property para
reformar could be as cheap as €180,000.

Best bars
Great 'tapas' to be had If there’s one thing La Latina excels at, it’s watering holes. For some summer rooftop action, look no further than El Viajero (Plaza de la Cebada, 11). If you can get a seat, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a Madrid sunset. For Sunday mojitos, Delic (Costanilla de San Andrés, 14) is the favourite, but if its slightly pijo and packed-to-the-rafters vibe is not your thing, try the intimate Café Anglona (Calle del Príncipe Anglona, 3) instead. And for the last of the weekend, Barrio Alto (Calle del Humilladero, 16) is a must, a Portuguese-British venture that boasts Super Bock beers, super-strong cocktails and tasty snacks.

Best restaurants
If you book a week in advance, you might just be able to bag a table at Taquería del Alamillo (Plaza del Alamillo, 8), a tip-top Mexican restaurant that’s tucked away in a secluded corner of the barrio. For something a bit cheaper, and more castizo, there’s the Cervezería Cruz (esq Plaza de Cascorro/Calle de las Maldonadas), which serves up some amazing raciones of prawns, boquerones and pimientos de padrón. Don’t go to the Rastro without stopping here. And for some of the best tapas in the city, there’s Juana La Loca (Plaza de Puerta de Moros, 4), where those in the know grab the tortilla with caramelised onion.

Best shops
Rather than being a retail haven, La Latina is more of a home to quirky specialist shops. Fans of army surplus gear and/or smoking marijuana will love Calle de la Ruda, where A Pleno Pulmón, at number 19, can provide you with all your necessary paraphernalia, while Captain Morgan Surplus (also number 19) can supply you with all the camo gear you could need. Those in desperate need of a clown outfit will enjoy the selection at Fiestas Cerrada (Calle de Oriente, 3), while camera buffs looking for an ancient Nikon lens can check out Fotocasión (Calle Ribera de Curtidores, 22).

A local speaks...
Shiva Roofeh, 26
Occupation: Can we just say that I’m a pirate or do we have to say that I’m a teacher?
“Living in La Latina just makes life easier; everyone knows where it is, it’s so central that there’s no need for night buses, there’s great food around every corner and whenever you say you live in La Latina people automatically think you’re pretty awesome. You just can’t go wrong.”

Anything else?
The sweet shop Caramelos Paco (Calle de Toledo 55) was founded in 1934, and has been used as a backdrop for many a film thanks to its old-school shop front.

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