An incursion in a wealthy neighborhood of Madrid

@topffer (33797)
France
May 22, 2018 11:03am CST
Friday morning I went in the Salamanca district, the richest neighborhood of Madrid, to visit the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, opened to the public for the International Day of Museums. The top left photo shows on the left the neo-classical building of the Academy, from the mid 18th C. On its right the building with a French neo-baroque architecture is the Casino de Madrid, which is not a gambling club but one of these snobbish gentlemen clubs for rich people. The admission fee is 7500 Euros+100 Euros/month, a bargain. The top of the building has a restaurant (2 stars on the Michelin guide) opened to the general public, although a blazer is mandatory for men. I could not test it, I was wearing only a sport jacket. On this special day, several academicians were presenting the collections of the Academy. I chose to hear the comments of an urban planner, Fernando de Teran Troyano, about a mid 19th C map of Barcelona. Less sexy than a comment on a painting by Goya, but more interesting for me. And it was the first time that I was listening to a Spanish academician. This one contributed to the new design of the Paseo del Prado in the early 2000’s, and I am now a lot more erudite about Barcelona. For example I learned that the same town planning was applied to Buenos-Aires ; this is not easy to place in every day’s conversation, so I take the unique opportunity of this discussion to place it. I was very happy to see among the public a tourist with a rucksack, or I would have been the only man not wearing a tie among the attendees. He avoided me to be the blot in the landscape. Or at least I was not the only intruder. Well, with time anybody can adapt to any neighborhood. The proof with the homeless on the right which was in a neighboring street, not far from an embassy. The sign in front of him tells «For a Ferrari», it is a perfect example of adaptation to the environment.
10 people like this
11 responses
@LadyDuck (152117)
• Switzerland
22 May
At least he has the sense of humor. There are those snobbish area in every big city, I try to avoid.
5 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
And he will perhaps get a check for a Ferrari, who knows? He would not stay long on the Champs-Elysées before being asked by the police to leave, but in Madrid there are fewer homeless than in Paris and they are authorized everywhere. I also avoid these kind of neighborhoods, people often do not realize it, but they are not safe places. There are 300 policemen working only on the "gold triangle" of Paris, it is the neighborhood having the more important number of crimes : rich people and tourists are attracting thieves.
5 people like this
@LadyDuck (152117)
• Switzerland
22 May
@topffer Exactly the reason why I avoid those areas, safety is not the best there. I avoid tourist places when I go to Milan, but recently we are obliged to take the metro to Piazza Duomo do go to the Mairie of Milan. We had a coffee at a bar nearby while waiting for our documents and we were charged €10 for 2 espresso. I asked them if they thought we were tourists.
3 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
@LadyDuck You entered in the wrong place. Something interesting in Madrid is that cafés and restaurants are very cheap. Even in these wealthy neighborhoods you can find restaurants with menus at 10/12 Euros (probably not in this club). A coffee is usually 1 Euro, a price that does not exist anymore in France. A subway ticket is more expensive than a coffee, at 1.50.
3 people like this
@much2say (38813)
• United States
23 May
This reminds me of when we went to that fancy schmancy hotel where my daughter went to a luncheon. It was a glamourous structure back in the day, historical and still expensive now . . . but it's in the middle of scary downtown. At the time we went, inside there were companies holding their formal holiday parties in the elegant ballrooms . . . and stepping outside it's doors one can find a homeless person or two or more in the streets or just hanging out along a quiet side of the building. For a Ferrari . Hey, that's pretty creative. He actually looks nice and neat at least - he doesn't look too sunbeaten and falling apart like many of the homeless here. And I will say the homeless situation has gotten much worse here in the past year. Perhaps they are adapting, but the residents and businesses around them are not. It must've been a treat to be in on these academic discussions. With niche interests, you're right that it's not something you can have discussions about with many people. It's good to be in company with like minded folks!
3 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
23 May
I remember that you spoke me of this hotel. There are not a lot of homeless in the streets of Madrid, but they are in any neighborhood. In Paris or London they would not be authorized to beg in rich districts. Some mayors have taken bylaws to forbid to beg in the main streets. There is nothing in Paris but on the Champs-Elysées and Montaigne avenues the state police ask them to leave. The discussions were announced by the media and I was surprised to see so few people there. And they were seeming to come from the neighboring club of millionaires. It is the same here, there are more snobs than really interested people in historical societies and societies of friends of museums. They join just to show off. I lunched today with the president of one of these societies who told me the pleasure he had to expunge a rich castle owner who had not paid the (small) membership fee during two years. I had a digest of the "nice" remarks exchanged between them. The president is retired and was a teacher in a snobbish private high school, he knows perfectly how to be together nasty and very polite. I digressed, sorry. Yes, I was very pleased to hear this academician. He was interesting and I savored the moment despite of the ties around.
3 people like this
@much2say (38813)
• United States
28 May
@topffer I'm not sure of any restrictions here . . . homeless folks are everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. They can be asked to leave, but where can they go? Shelters, jails, all overcrowded. They set up camp where they can - we see tents and RV campers - some with nothing and sleeping on bare sidewalk. Some are even squatting in empty homes (has happened in the better neighborhoods where there are foreclosed homes). And then are those who are not exactly homeless . . . they are just panhandlers - people who'd rather beg than work. Here, begging in the richer areas apparently has it's perks. Oh yes, for the snobs, it's all a status thing. Reminds me of my well off sister in law who treated the whole family to a museum trip here . . . it was nice to go, but as she was leading the pack, I was kind of miffed how quickly she was having us walk through everything - there was barely any time to observe any room or piece in length. She and her partner did not even bother to stop to look at the art - it was more of a light passing through the museum. We took a break outdoors on one level of a building - and instead of soaking in the beautiful scenery, she was more involved in her phone with social media and taking selfies . She could say she took the family to this lovely museum . I guess we just have to pity the snobs.
2 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
28 May
@much2say It is because of people like your sister-in-law that I rarely go to opening of exhibitions. Many people go there not to see an exhibition but to be seen.
1 person likes this
@kepweng (13389)
22 May
i love to go in madrid but i prefer barcelona cause thier are Near is SEAside Beach
3 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
Not the same. Madrid is at a high altitude. In winter you can do winter sports on the mountains around.
3 people like this
@kepweng (13389)
26 May
@topffer i love that u showed a photo of Beggar with a BRAND NEW SHOES
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
26 May
@kepweng It is why he begs for a car now.
• India
22 May
Why the admission fee is so high?
3 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
It is not that high compared to a few other clubs, including in Madrid. The goal is to be sure to have only rich people among members.
3 people like this
@RubyHawk (23339)
• Atlanta, Georgia
26 May
Looks like there are homeless everywhere. That's a sad thing.
2 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
26 May
They were not a lot in Madrid compared to Paris. There is a right to a home inscribed in our constitution, but due to the mass influx of foreigners, homes are actually given only to homeless with children. It may be the same in Spain, I have not seen a homeless with a child.
2 people like this
@RubyHawk (23339)
• Atlanta, Georgia
27 May
@topffer Everyone deserves a home but I wasn't aware the government provided homes for citizens in any country.
2 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
27 May
@RubyHawk It is not a big home, it can be an apartment or a room in a hotel paid by the state, and it is not supposed to be paid for life by the state : a homeless has to accept to be followed by social workers who will help him to find a job and reintegrate the society. It can take a few months or a few years... Besides we have also homeless shelters, kind of dorms opened only during the night. Homeless are encouraged by social workers to sleep there during the cold season, but not forced. There are 150000 beds in these shelters for about 141000 homeless (the number is increasing because of migrants). And they have free healthcare.
2 people like this
@mnglsp (1211)
• Philippines
22 May
Why is it like that?
2 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
Some rich people do not like to mix with others. You can find the same kind of neighborhoods and clubs in Paris or London.
2 people like this
@mnglsp (1211)
• Philippines
22 May
@topffer That is not fair.
2 people like this
@YrNemo (11747)
23 May
I do like his pair of sports shoes. Look new to me.
2 people like this
@topffer (33797)
• France
23 May
He should have bought red shoes to drive his Ferrari. It is one of the rare homeless that I noticed in this ghetto for rich people. In France and UK they have been encouraged by the police to leave these kinds of neighborhoods, the presence of homeless is not good for the luxury business.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
1 Jun
All in all I can see that you had an interesting time. Beggars are not actually allowed but they get through. Loved reading this and you are right in the description of Madrid also. Sorry things are so expensive in Paris but even so I do love that City. I also love Milan and always have done.
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
1 Jun
I enjoyed my little holidays in Madrid. People are nice and restaurants are cheap. I saw several beggars and the police was letting them beg. I am reading in a blog from 2017 : "En Madrid está prohibido mendigar si llevas perro, si no lo llevas es legal." It is no more forbidden. The bus was the good method to go there, although I was a bit afraid to miss the return bus, the station being very large and my ticket not precising where I should wait, but it turned well. The strikes are continuing here : I wanted today to buy a train ticket for Sunday and I cannot do it online.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
1 Jun
@topffer Crikey. Are those strikes still going on then? They seem to go on forever. In Navarra the local Government will fine anyone caught giving the beggars money and they are moved on by the Police here with or without dogs. I know each City has its rules. Anyway I am really glad you had a good time getting around and enjoying yourself there. Where do you go to on Sunday then another place over here?
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
1 Jun
@lovinangelsinstead21 I am not going far, I am invited to lunch in Bordeaux by a goddaughter, the one who was in Scotland with her boyfriend last month. The problem is that I will have only 1 train in the morning arriving at 11 am and 1 in the afternoon leaving at 7 pm to come back, and I need to go to the railway station to buy the tickets. The strikes in the railway company are scheduled until the end of June, and the situation does not improve really, 1/4 trains only will be running on Sunday. Here also the cities have their rules for begging. It depends mainly of the political side of the mayor : the ones on the right side tend to forbid to beg in the center of cities, while the lefty mayors are authorizing it. Fining people giving to beggars! There are days where I wonder where the Christian charity is gone. My city fines people feeding birds. I was feeding a couple of turtledoves when they decided that, I plunged into clandestinity to continue. Quite exciting.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (24028)
• Aurora, Missouri
4 Jun
You never know, someone might feel they have too much money, so give him the Ferrari! (grinning at you) It sounds like you had a very good time on your trip.
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
5 Jun
He will perhaps get his Ferrari, but not from me. I loved my holidays in Madrid, it is a vibrant city with a lot of things to see and do
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@DaddyEvil (24028)
• Aurora, Missouri
5 Jun
@topffer Whether you feel you have too much money or not, Top, I hope you wouldn't spend it buying a Ferrari for a homeless person! Especially when you could spend your millions on cars for everyone on myLot instead! (laughing and teasing you!)
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
5 Jun
@DaddyEvil Many would leave myLot if somebody was distributing Ferraris.
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@Susan2015 (20413)
• United States
26 May
I do hope that someone helped him out. He looks better than some others do.
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
26 May
They are helped. I have not seen any child, I think they give a roof to any homeless or couple with children like we do in France. Those begging in not very touristic places are nice people, he has probably made a clientele of official donors giving him a few coins on a regular basis. Maybe not enough for a Ferrari though.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (66071)
• Roseburg, Oregon
22 May
I ope everyone helped the homeless man. They need help more than anyone else.
1 person likes this
@topffer (33797)
• France
22 May
I saw fewer homeless in Madrid than in Paris. Quite all homeless in Paris are foreigners most of the time undocumented. We give a roof to all women and families with children, but we cannot help everybody...