Two Madrid icons close in a week.

I was saddened to read about the closure of two Madrid icons over the course of a weekend.

Last Saturday, the Mercado de Fuencarral closed its doors after 17 years. Located between Bohemian barrio Malasaña and gay barrio Chueca, this shopping centre had many unique shops full of trendy and crazy clothes and goods. I don’t believe I actually ever purchased anything here, but I would often go here to look around and wish I had money to buy things. I would often pick up fliers to the gay club that was in that week or just to sneak on their wifi when I was travelling through Madrid. It seems hard to believe that the next time I travel through Madrid, I won’t be able to stop here and look around.

Then on Monday, Café Comercial said “adiós”. Located down the Fuencarral street a few blocks in the Glorieta de Bilbao (The Bilbaínos would say Madrid is so jealous of Bilbao that they had to name a Glorieta after the “capital of the world”.) , Madrid’s oldest café closed its doors after over 100 years of service. I only had two cafés con leche there, as it was super expensive, but the atmosphere and history of this place alone should have kept it open. Antonio Machado never wrote at a Starbucks.

Everything is change, but I always feel a bit of sadness when iconic locales shut their doors. History is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t remember our past. I think both closures are related to financial issues (the family that runs Café Comercial just posted a message saying

Después de tantos años de actividad del Café Comercial nos dirigimos a vosotros para comunicaros el cierre con fecha del día 27 de julio de 2015. Es una lástima tener que escribir un mensaje como este, pero ha llegado el día del cierre y, por ello, queremos agradecer de todo corazón la confianza que nos habéis brindado durante estos muchos años llenos de maravillosas experiencias.

which means “After so many years of Café Comercial activity we regret to inform you of its closure July 27, 2015. It’s a shame to have to write a message like this one, but the day of closure has arrived, and for this reason, we would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the trust that you have given us during so many years of wonderful experiences.

The café opened in 1887, and the Mercado de Fuencarral in 1997.

I think this afternoon I may frequent Café Iruña in Bilbao and thank heavens that Bilbao’s oldest café isn’t closing. I hope it, nor the Café Iruña in Pamplona where Hemingway wrote, aren’t faced with similar closures in the future. ¡Viva la historia!


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