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By Emily Tall. October 24, 2011 - 6:41 pm
It is the beginning of October, and 78 degrees in Spain. This is not normal.
According to the Spanish weather channels, all of Spain has been experiencing oddly warm temperatures. I thank you, global warming.
It should be raining, the skies should be gray, and I should be starting to hate the fact that jackets and overcoats are a must.
Instead I am happily parading through the streets of Madrid with shorts and flip-flops, as if it were a day in Honolulu.
While most Spaniards are baffled at the warm temperatures, I have decided to take advantage of this more than generous weather by becoming a true tourist.
For my latest escapade, I snatched one of my Spanish friends for the day because he had never truly experienced the tourist aspects of the city, although he has lived in Madrid his whole life. And, most importantly, because he had easy access to a car and dragged him to my favorite sites. Out of all of the places we ventured, I realized that there is one place that I will miss above all.
The famous La Latina barrio in the south of the city with its overflowing glasses, general laughter and song in the air has captured my heart. You could spend a lifetime in the city and never visit each and every tapas place in the neighborhood. The sun was shinning, the people were singing, and the streets were as packed as ever.
La Latina is one of the oldest parts of the city, and one of the liveliest. It even boasts one of the world’s oldest flea markets, El Rastro, which dates back to the 15th century.
Though I have strolled through the area several times in the past 10 months, it still amazes me to see just how crammed the streets become on a Sunday afternoon.
There is one street in La Latina that fascinates me in particular — Calle Cava Baja.
Imagine a narrow, winding street where every door leads to a bar or restaurant. No clothing shops, no grocery stores, just food and drink — the key to any Spaniard’s heart.
Every terrace is packed with people; some are even sprawled out on the steps of the street just to have a drink and to share the weekly catch-up with friends.
You would think that the regulars of La Latina might want to change it up a bit every once in awhile, but in the barrio of La Latina it is exactly the opposite. Once your heart is captured, you return again and again.