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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Doors of Madrid

Whoa... I have been to Wales (which was great) and am soon to go to Switzerland (which I'm looking forward to) and I haven't told you about Madrid yet.    After that I'm hoping to have some "open" time here in London.    There are many things to do and many things I want to write. 

Today I did something that I found very interesting.  I interviewed the daughter of Ramses Wissa Wassef, since she happened to be visiting..  I didn't  write much about Ramses Wissa Wassef Centre in Egypt when I visited it earlier this year, even though it was one of the highlights of my visit.  At the centre, local villagers produce, among other things, large and amazing tapestries which they weave from their imaginations, without planning or preliminary sketches.   Here's a photo of just a part of one tapestry. The amount of detail and the subtle hand dyed colours and the sheer size of some of the tapestries, mean that I can spend hours just looking. 


. . 
 Ramses Wissa Wassef, who died in 1974,  had extraordinary creative gifts and original ideas, and so I was excited to talk to his daughter. I felt so glad that my work gives me the chance to talk to such interesting people from time to time and hope I get the chance to write the piece, which is at present half commissioned. That is, the editor has said she really wants it but needs to find a place in her schedule.  .If it doesn't work out, I will try to sell it elsewhere. 

Not that this has anything to do with Madrid.  

Anyway I had managed to visit Spain many times without ever making it to Madrid, and when I finally got there last month, I loved it.  One of the things I noticed was the great variety of doors and facades in the city.  It's always fun looking at different doors, windows and shop fronts in cities, but Madrid's little back streets seemed specially full of surprises. I liked how so many shop or restaurant owners had painted over the shutters that covered their facades when the premises were closed. 

Some of the images were very striking, though I'm not sure that this one would REALLY entice me to eat in this restaurant..... 


Although thei restaurant below has a tiled facade (tiles are popular in Spain), the decorations are in fact painted on and show famous Spanish buildings and landscapes. I think now that I should have gone in to try the place, even if only to see what the decor was like inside. But I wasn't hungry at the time. 


The door below, white with brass decoration and an intriguing interior, has the kind of bold, proud appearance I always associate with Spanish design.  You just would never find an exterior door like this in London, and and it looks like a palace - yet it was just in some side street. 

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This, by contrast, could be found in many a city. It's the door of a little theatre and I liked the poster, which seemed to bring it alive. 


Many of the old doors are covered in graffiti. You might not like graffiti, but I thought some of it was pretty striking, like this door covered in gold and silver. 


Sometimes beggars sit at the doors of churches.  Here is the door of an old church not far from the centre. If the figure in the foreground doesn't seem that realistic to you, that's because it's a bronze statue of a young woman. I have a soft spot for statues which look as if they are doing everyday things - sitting on benches, leaning over walls, or, as in this case, walking along the street. 


I thought Madrid had some  funky little bars,  and "Tupperware," in Malasañais is quite well known.   There's nothing like a bit of 1960s psychedelia for brightening up the street. 



My hotel was the Vincci Via 66 on Gran Via, right in the centre of things.  Its decor featured twisty mirrors on the shiny black doors, a bit like distorting mirrors in a fairground. And there were silver armchairs in the rooms... and other strange things.  The overall effect was attractive, though odd, and I always looked forward to coming back to the hotel. 

And one day I noticed I had accidentally worn clothes that matched the decor.  




47 comments:

  1. Would your clothing be considered urban camouflage?
    Heh. I think several of the doors are amazing!

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  2. What a wonderful collection of doors! I love seeing images of them from around the world. The photo of the statue on the street is striking, and a great composition.

    Thank you for sharing these. Very nice.

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  3. Madrid is becoming quite a trendy place. Very interesting photographs.

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  4. What an interesting opportunity to interview the daughter of Ramses Wissa Wassef! I'm sure your editor will find a place for this in her schedule.
    I've only been to Madrid once, but it's a fascinating city. Your photos are wonderful.

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  5. Oh so this is where you've been! Miss your posts. As for the bar, it's named after plastic ware sold in the USA in your own home :o)
    I found it sad that they had painted graffiti on the door. Mainly because someone is going to have to pay to have it covered....

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  6. I love doors and windows. But the hotel room would have been a tough go for me.

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  7. I had hoped to visit Madrid this year....but it didn't come off. Such a shame as Mr. Fly was there as a student in the Franco era and was keen to know what had become of the area in which he stayed.

    Still, your post has given him a lot of pleasure...while I am still hoping for a visit.

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  8. Hello Jenny

    I loved reading this post of Madrid. I was here two years ago and loved seeing your images and how you approached your visit to the city.
    The sculptures are beautiful.
    The tapestry is spectacular and I hope you post about it when published.

    Helenxx

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  9. Wow what great variety...so many super pictures. I missed you...I was busy and did not find you for these many days! Now..here you are. Thanks for the fun post.

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  10. Madrid, surprises me when I go, I have something far, about five hours by train or bus, but when I walk the city and live the street, your journey through the beautiful doors that Madrid, old .... I like your point of view. A hug my dear friend.

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  11. Hello Jenny:
    We, alas, have never visited Madrid but this post, so superbly and imaginatively illustrated, has certainly whetted our appetites. Oh dear, yet another place to be added to the 'must see' list, and never enough time for everywhere.

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  12. The Ramses Wissa Wassef Centre and more particularly the tapestries in it look absolutely wonderful. It's one of the beauties of blogging that one gets to see pictures of and hear about things of which one might otherwise remain completely ignorant.

    Like you I love doors and statues integrated with their surroundings. I spent a lot of time (most of a bowl of cereal) trying to work out what the young lady was thinking. Perhaps I'll never know.

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  13. Thank you for this very entertaining and interesting post! Since I love doors and doorways, these pictures were especially appealing to me.

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  14. Super tour, which I 'adored.'

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  15. I love the graffiti - sometimes it's just another way of people telling their stories - think of the wonderful walls in Northern Ireland, and the passion that went into some of those. And the Banksies in Bristol. So these are wonderful - thank you.

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  16. Unusual doors always interest me and it was fun to see your collection. I would definitely have to visit the Tupperware Bar our of curiosity.

    Darla

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  17. Such doors make you want to see what is on the other side! Enchanted worlds, at least to me, although perhaps very commonplace to those who live there. Thank you for the glimpse of a place i've longed to visit.

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  18. I also like statues of people doing everyday things. There are quite a few sculptures of ordinary working people dotted around Belfast. I much prefer them to those pompous statues of public figures doing nothing but staring into space.

    I went to Madrid many years ago, but have to say I thought Barcelona was more scenic and interesting.

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  19. Ha! You've beaten me to it! Would you believe I have 'Madrid blogpost' on my 'To do' list on the notepad next to my computer? It keeps getting pushed further down the list. Never mind all the stuff you've put on here I missed on my visit back in March!! I have a hunch you'll be posting some more - goody. I loved it, we went there to celebrate my 60th birthday, for just three days. Mostly we were in the galleries soaking up the culture, but I too couldn't resist snapping, shop doorways and statues (especially those 'doing things'). And would you credit it we also took a picture of our hotel doorway?

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  20. Another lot of interesting comments - thank you for all of them and they are all really welcome and appreciated. Sorry, Nell, to beat you to writing about Madrid, but you do not need me to tell you that you will put your own unique and original slant on the city - and I will look forward to reading it. I don't know about Barcelona, Nick. I last went about 15 years ago and it's probably improved a lot (like Cardiff, where I've just been - blimey! what a change!) I wouldn't mind seeing what Belfast is like now, come to think of it... Adullamite, that comment made me wince. If I now do a piece about windows I hope you will not "pane" me with anything similar.
    Yes, Helen, I will get round to posting about the tapestries. And good point, Cat. I didn't stand still quite long enough for anyone to actually assume I was part of the hotel! And, Mr and Mrs Fly, Mimi and others, I hope you get to Madrid before too long. GB, I have an idea that the statue girl was on her way to school with some books. But WHY this was considered worth commemorating with a statue, I don't know. Maybe your cereal time tomorrow can be devoted to reflecting on that :)


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  21. Great post and very interesting photos. I love the tapestry - endlessly fascinating! x

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  22. There are so many decorative features throughout this post that I enjoyed. However, the graffiti marking someone’s beautiful craftsmanship and work is sad. I found Italy, too, was marred with such scribbling. Far too close for comfort to ancient architecture and art.

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  23. i absoloutley fell in love with the bar 'tupperware' after reading your blog! it's so different and bold with a lovely retro mixed with urban-ish feel to it. please could you have a quick glance at my blog? it's about writing, fullled with short mini stories and poems-i'd love some feedback of an experienced professional writer!

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  24. I am attracted to decorated or otherwise unusual doors, too. The decorated shutters are cool but I do agree with your sentiment on the first one. It would turn me away from eating there.

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  25. A very interesting and informative blog Jenny. I enjoyed your many photos too - Dave

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  26. Oh I love your photos I placed myself at least in my imagination in the middle of these photos every time.
    I love the bronze statue of the woman and the doors I love doors.
    I love the way you describe the shot. Great post. B

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  27. So many travels . . . So much to see . . . I envy you just a bit!

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing bits and pieces of your world with me. It is gorgeous.

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  29. I loved this trip through Madrid's streets! That Taberna Pompeyana mural (?) was just too hilarious. And it's incredible how our subsconscious affects our little actions, like getting dressed in the morning to match our environment (happens to me all the time). Looking forward to Wales and Switzerland, as we travel vicariously through you.

    - Jenny

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  30. The restaurant with the tiled facade reminds me of a Spanish restaurant here in Tampa. It claims to be the oldest restaurant in Florida and features Spanish and Cuban cuisine.

    Very cool pictures of all the doors!

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  31. Hi Jenny,
    What a wonderful and informative posting, thank you so much. And your pics are just gorgeous. Have a great time in Madrid.
    Heidi

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  32. Wonderful photographs - as ever, and I also greatly admire the Pomeyana portrait....great marketing!
    Hope Switzerland is as photogenic, but with less graffiti, no doubt.

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  33. Hi Jenny, thanks for your note. It's been so long since I've last been to Venice (I was a poor teenager back then!) so I would love to see those strange and unsettling mask shops again.

    By the way, I added a video on my post and then thought you might get a kick out of it. It's a stop animation short by film maker, Spike Jonze (he did "Where the Wild Things Are," and more). Really delightful and off-beat Halloween story!

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  34. places like the villa rosa and the tupperwear would def be much more inviting to me than anything ornate....i like street art over tagging graffiti any day as well...some pretty cool doors though....happy saturday!

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  35. Oh that took me back, it was such a long time ago that I visited Madrid

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  36. What an amazing post! You really took us and made the places come alive, both with your writing and the images. I was especially struck by the graffiti covered door: I thought at first the door was photographed through a window or some such which had another image etched on it.

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  37. Hi Jenny,thanks for visiting my blog and I'm so glad that throught that I found yours. I love taking photos of doors too especially old worn doors. I read a blog post somewhere about a little town in Italy I think where there are statues everywhere of everyday people and children they were lovely.
    Nice to hear you lived near Ouludeniz and it was quite ,it was certainly busy busy when we were there.

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  38. Clothes matching the hotel...Wow, I am ver impressed. As for Madrid, well, I just hope that it was warmer than London. I am freezing here!

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  39. i love the pictures, and i love the place..you really have a great time in Madrid..what a wonderful place..wonderful doors, very elegant

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  40. I guess showing us an extremely fat person is supposed to make us think the food is really good? Actually, my first thought would be that the person pictured isn't very discriminating. She probably eats anything that isn't moving (and perhaps a few things that are!)

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  41. Fantastic pictures about the Spanish creativity.
    Cheers!

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  42. Tupperware-too funny, something I actually used to have more of! But it's good stuff! I just love this collection...I'm a door person, and it is after all a very important key usually to whatever it opens! Someday I will get my door post too! Although it may never compare to this wide assortment. Very awesome!

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  43. I love that taperstry you showed. Wish I can see them myself and get engrossed for hours with it. :)

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  44. I was very interested to learn about Ramses [I won't attempt to spell his other names] and to see the lovely Madrid pictures. It's a city I've never managed to get to.

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  45. Number two? NOT appetizing. All of them? Very compelling.

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  46. Jenny: I missed this post first time around. Fabulous!

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