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.
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.
Salud 13 (4a Planta)
Phone: +34 915 31 19 45|
Fax: +34 915 32 23 29
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:
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.
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
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).
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.