Picture of the Week

26 April 2015

Week 18: meeting Henning in Madrid

Filed under: — Administrator @ 21:50

Most of the week’s pictures were taken during just one day, Thursday, when I went to Madrid to meet up with a visiting fellow member of the Leica Users Group, Henning and his wife Tanya from Vancouver. They were ending a holiday in Spain, and I wanted to spend a day with them walking around the city and seeing a big Winogrand retrospective exhibition at the Fundación Mapfre.

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But I start with four pictures taken while cycling. This is a spot I pass several times a week, while descending into the village of Busot. The light changes all the time, and on this particular day it produced particularly nice pastel colours:
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At the entrance to another village, Aigües, there is this funny mural; recently, it has been embellished with a billboard advertising a new real estate development. Aigües and similar inland villages are becoming popular among the group of foreigners who want to be reasonably close to the beach (it is about 10 km) but enjoy the peace and quiet of a small Spanish town:
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On the square in front of the church in Busot there is a natural spring which is very popular among the locals and among cyclists who stop there to refill their water bottles. This is exactly what I was going to do, but there was someone else looking for water:
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The remaining pictures are from the day trip to Madrid.

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On Thursday morning I took the high-speed train AVE which covers the 440 km between Alicante and Madrid in just over 2 hours. I arrived at the impressive Atocha station, ornate and modern at the same time. It was the site of the terrorist attack on local trains that killed 191 people in March 2004:
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Spanish government buildings tend to be big and imposing, like this Ministry of Agriculture building:
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I walked to the hotel where Henning and Tanya were staying, and we set out to explore Madrid. The first point on the agenda was to replenish the caffeine levels in our bodies:
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We took the metro to the Colón station and walked to the Fundación Mapfre. Along the way, we came across a piece of strange urban art:
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Madrid statues get no respect:
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Henning takes a closer look at a Winogrand contact sheet:
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After enjoying the Winogrand exhibition, we took the metro to the La Latina station to walk around El Rastro, an interesting immigrant/working class neighbourhood that hosts a famous open air market on weekends. Here, we are in a kind of community centre created by the grassroots:
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I have no idea what is the function of this structure but it is certainly colourful:
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As I often do in such places, I focused on the wall art:
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Sometimes, it is enough just to look for visually interesting advertising posters:
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Anti-Coca Cola and anti-government graffiti. The text says something like “Coca Cola decides, the government carries out those decisions”:
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“Heart of the city”:
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The friendly face of Madrid police, in several languages:
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The owner of this car has apparently suffered several break-ins, so he has felt the need to put a note on the dashboard assuring potential thieves that there is nothing of value in the car. What I found truly amusing, though, is the final sentence in which the writer assures us that despite having Valencia license plates on his car, he is totally madrileño:
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The way this man is dressed is certainly not typical for El Rastro:
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We then walked to Plaza Mayor, a pretty square in the centre of Madrid. On the way, we passed this statue of a young fiddler and a dog:
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Plaza Mayor is a grand old square, albeit a bit faded in places:
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The square is full of people looking to squeeze some Euros out of the many tourists, including various people in costumes who appoach families with children, hoping that the parents will want a photo. This little boy is very uncertain about the whole deal:
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The circular benches on Plaza Mayor are popular among a wide range of visitors:
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While walking from Plaza Mayor towards the other big square, Plaza Puerta del Sol, I photographed this extremely typical Madrid scene:
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These guys evidently lost something:
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Urban fauna:
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In the Museo de Jamón. Despite the name, it is not a museum, just a local restaurant with tapas on the ground floor and fairly good food upstairs:
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Henning is an architect, so he kept pointing out interesting features of the buildings we passed as we walked around:
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We finished the day enjoying a beer at an outdoor bar near Henning and Tanya’s hotel. I then walked back to Atocha and the train back to Alicante, satisfied with a very pleasant day in Madrid.

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