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Trip Report A hidden gem in Madrid: The Mercado de Maravillas

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The Mercado de San Miguel is a hip deli not valid for the daily catering, the Mercado de La Paz is a great market selling excellent stuff in a posh district but the Mercado de Maravillas --the Market of Marvels-- (Calle Bravo Murillo 122) is my favorite among the rest of the markets. This market is just a sensual delight of colours, smells, tastes and people.
Situated between the northwesterly districts of Cuatro Caminos and Tetuan, this is the biggest of the Madrid's old-style covered markets. Part of its success must be its location: the Calle Bravo Murillo runs right through the densely populated and traditional neighborhoods of Estrecho and Tetuan. But its prosperity can largely be attributed to an economy of scale: it's enormous. A half a kilometer around, to be precise, with 260 different stalls. The market conserves its status as a public market, the stalls are still small family businesses, and the inventory they stock is dazzling.
The sheer size of the market permits it to accommodate all tastes and all price ranges. There are mark-down discount stalls and there are stalls which, as one shopkeeper boasted, retain generations of clients.
Many of the shopkeepers specialize in products from their home regions: there are different stalls for beef from Asturias and beef from Extremadura, suckling lamb from Ávila and from Burgos. There are stalls entirely devoted to mollusks, and others consecrated to legumes of every color and shape. You can find quails, pheasants, partridges, and ducks, as well as their respective eggs. Cheeses run from oozy, ashy, family-made cabrales to mass-produced gouda.
There's an old Madrileño saying, "Si buscas algo, vete a Maravillas. Si no lo encuentras, es que no hay." (If you're looking for something, go to Maravillas. If you don't find it, it's because it doesn't exist.).
Opening in Winter Time: Mon-Fri from 9am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm. Saturday: 9am to 2pm.
Opening in Summer Time: Mon-Fri from 9am to 2pm and 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Saturday: 9am to 2pm.
Getting there: Metro Cuatro Caminos --only a short stroll away-- or EMT bus #3, the bus journey itself can be a pleasure as it passes through the centre of Madrid and you get a free tourist trail thrown in. Bus route:
http://www.emtmadrid.es/web_emt_babel/files/d6/d63a19fd-6901-4450-93df-8740a5a0f706.pdf

building exterior
http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/photos/original/40874757.jpg

a market for the common people
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Ldd8I5WoPXE/R7V5RncqYHI/AAAAAAAAAHo/qvj-Nekh_Ao/s1600-h/DSC06904.JPG
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_tpF2_7rzFMU/TFxGtAWolPI/AAAAAAAAD_Y/Nj2fG-z33rU/s1600/maravillas01blog.jpg

fruit stalls
http://www.madrimasd.org/blogs/salud_publica/files/2010/10/maravillas.jpg
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2769777980034685450OFcgug

jamones, cheeses, chorizos, morcillas
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2590934710034685450aQOcXv
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2427393630034685450rettaG
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/serrana/se2.jpg

butcher's and game
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2684853240034685450nShyZi
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2771345440034685450ENoDyh

seafood
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2062469670034685450CxUKuV

its choice of fish is the largest and most varied in the capital
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/boutique/bo2.jpg

"taking off the hook"
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4003/4389566921_4acdcc6a25.jpg

pimentón and spices
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/serrano/serra4.jpg

olives and pickles
http://community.webshots.com/photo/fullsize/2681622750034685450uYmVZB

ready-cooked dishes
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/narcea/na3.jpg

espadrilles, shoes and shoe repairs
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/morales/mo6.jpg
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/morales/mo.jpg
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/varios/repa1.jpg

bar serving rolls and some tapas
http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/images/asociados/bares/kiosko1.jpg

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