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A Trip to Madrid

In late May 2001, a small group of Salseros from the North West of England were flown to Madrid to gather information. All they were allowed to take with them were massive suitcases full of skimpy clothes and several pairs of dance shoes. This is their story.

Roll Call

     

Lodgings

Thanks must go to Nicky for finding a great place to stay. We stayed at Hostal Acapulco, which is in a great location (between Sol and Gran Via), clean and very cheap. Rooms come with air conditioning (which was great considering it was 44 degrees on some days), minibar, en-suite bathroom and a TV. I think I paid around 20 quid a night for a room by myself. Other people shared and paid even less.

Hostal Acapulco
Salud 13 (4a Planta)
28013 Madrid
Phone: +34 915 31 19 45
Fax: +34 915 32 23 29
E-mail: hostal.acapulco@yahoo.es

Dancing

The clubs in Madrid were really friendly, with people coming up to us and talking, giving us free drinks and free entry to other clubs.

Everything starts much later in Madrid. When we got into the swing of things, we'd go to a bar around 11pm, stay for an hour or so and then make our way to a club. The clubs were often open until 6am or later.

Prepare for hefty bar bills though. Typically, a coke cost around 800 pesetas (3-4 quid). Alcohol was a lot cheaper, with a rum and coke coming in around 1000 pesetas (which contained 3-4 times the usual UK pub measure of rum).

Also watch out for a strictly-enforced (if somewhat bizarre) dress code. You can get in wearing jeans and t-shirt, but you can't wear trainers. Also, your shirt needs to have sleeves (so blokes can't wear shirts cut off at the shoulders, although women can). So, if you want to wear dance trainers (as some people did in our group), you need to take them in with you and change once inside. Strangely, people seemed to be able to get in wearing various types of sandals; it was only trainers which people objected to. As always, these are just my observations, so don't rely on them and don't blame me if the bouncers don't let you in.

The dancers are mainly into Cuban-style Salsa, so if you're a confirmed LA/NY Salsero, best to get a couple of Cuban lessons in. Of course, to the few LA-style dancers (or Puerto Rican style as they called it), you're an interesting visitor so you'll be in demand there. For example, one woman I asked to dance, almost as soon as I started dancing with her, asked me to switch from Cuban to Puerto Rican, since she didn't get much chance to dance that way. I only saw two people dancing on 2 (Eddie Torres style), the whole time I was in Madrid, so expect to be on 1 while you're there.

Here's a quick summary of the clubs we visited:

Randall
Ferraz 38
Metro Ventura Rodríguez

Randall was the first club we went to and was also my favourite. It had a large dance floor (although at the weekend it got so crowded people were dancing on the carpets). The music would come in chunks, with a load of Salsa, some Merengue, some Bachata and then back to Salsa. Later in the evening (or morning, actually) they started to play R&B.

Tropical House
Martín de los Heros, 14
Tel: 915 415 937
Metro Plaza de España

Tropical House got very hot every time I was there. It is a very nice venue, with loads of marble (including a marble dance floor). They seemed to play more merengue than the other places. It seems that this was a bit of an earlier venue at the weekends. People started off there and then went on to Randall.

Empire
Paseo de Recoletos, 16

This was the nicest looking club, in my mind, since it was in a converted Art Deco theatre (of course, if that's not your thing, then you won't like it). There was a good-sized, wooden dance floor, good music and a decent amount of Salsa (again with Merengue and Bachata too).

Daytime

There are lots of things things to do in Madrid during the day, some world famous museums, for example. Part of our group went on a day trip to Toledo and said that it was really great. However, most of us spent our days shopping and relaxing in parks.

The parks we went to which were nice were The Retiro Park (take the Metro to Retiro) and a swimming pool complex by Largo Metro. Retiro was free to get into and had lots of greenery, a lake with boats for hire and various cafés scattered around. The outdoor swimming pools at Largo had an incredible number of people around them, sunbathing and swimming. There are also places to by food and drink, which were staffed by the most haphazard barstaff I have ever met.

Photographic Evidence

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