Living in Carabanchel, Puerta Bonita

The district of Carabanchel is one of the 21 districts of Madrid.

This district is divided to neighbourhoods such as Comillas, Opañel, San Isidro, Vista Alegre, Puerta Bonita, Buenavista y Abrantes.

My Airbnb flat is in the barrio (neighbourhood) of Puerta Bonita. El barrio de Opañel starts just few meters away.

Puerta Bonita is a very basic barrio with its coffee shops, supermarkets, plazas and such. Weirdly it has a lot of casinos and car shops as well.

The closest metro lines are 5 and 6.

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Some facts about the area:

  • It was built between 1718 and 1727
  • It has around 244.000 habitants
  • They call themselves “carabanceheleros”
  • It used to have a very famous prison that was constructed by political prisoners (held captive by dictator Francisco Franco). It was closed in 1998 and demolished in 2008.
  • The area has 14 metro stations and plenty of bus routes
  • It has its own public library in Luis Rosales
  • It has a few hermitages, one of them is Ermita de San Isidro that was built in 1528
  • Barrio de Puerta Bonita has one of the best public schools of Madrid (Colegio Eugenia de Montijo)
  • El Puente de Toledo bridge combines the two sides of river (rio) Manzanares
  • It was an outdoor/picnic area for the rich back in the day when they had their farms and estates here
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Puente de Toledo

I have found out that we have our own cultural and sports centres. They are part of Madrid’s town hall (Ayuntamiento de Madrid), so they are public services and I’m going to check what these palaces offer!

Want to know more and you can read Spanish? Visit page: https://www.pongamosquehablodemadrid.com/2016/07/16/los-7-barrios-del-distrito-de-carabanchel-de-madrid/

In my own experience

It has only been a few days, but I find myself feeling safe in the area. I have found a good supermarket Mercadona and a smaller one, Dia. I managed to get my prepaid card from Orange, so now I have a Spanish mobile phone number. I got my stamps from a kiosk that says “Tabacos” which means smokes. They sell all kinds of stuff but from there you can get stamps, just remember to say they are from Europe. Ten stamps are around 13,00 euros.

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Home street in the evening

I have visited a few coffee shops for my breakfast and my café con leche. I find that the area is quite cheap compared to the city centre, where I visited a few days back taking the line 5 to Callao. I think living in the suburbs but close to the centre is a good choice to see regular life and living doesn’t cost that much.

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Breakfast smoothie, coffee and a croissant 5€

The reason I rented an Airbnb was that it has all the necessities already like fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi that’s in the rent and a washing machine. I’m living here around 2,5 months and I am paying less than 1000,00 euros for my stay.

In my room I have a squeaky double bed, pillows and blankets, heater, a cabinet for clothes, chair, night stand and a small dresser. The first thing I noticed what I need to buy was a cheap night lamp that I bought for 8 euros, so I can read in bed. I think the room is more than enough for me and I can decorate it with postcards to cheer me up.

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Backyard, the view from my window

We share the kitchen, bathroom and living room. We also have a very small balcony where you go from the kitchen. This is very typical as well, since the water heater is there. Like all Spanish apartments it is freezing cold so if you are planning to live in Madrid you need indoor shoes and warm things. Spain is the land of heaters. At least during the winter-time.

My roommate seems nice, we speak only Spanish with each other. In my experience even madrileños do not speak English well, if at all.

As a vegetarian I haven’t had any problems eating out or buying food but I will write more about this later.

Feast on my groceries!

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That’s all for now. Tomorrow I’m off to Bilbao!

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