Madrid secrets by bike - Masonic mysteries, an assassination, pelota & fishy streets - Episode 73

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

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Hop on and ride with me as I cycle Madrid's streets to uncover some curious secrets and hidden gems of the Spanish capital.

BiciMadrid public bike scheme

In this episode of the When in Spain podcast I sign-up to Madrid's BiciMadrid public cycle scheme and dodge the traffic to check out some fascinating locations which hide some surprising stories in the Spanish capital.

I puzzle at the Masonic symbolism on the Ministry of Agriculture building next to Atocha Station, visit the scene of the audacious assassination of Spanish prime minister Admiral Luis Carrero - whose car was catapulted over a five-floor apartment, visit Madrid's oldest sports venue, a hidden pelota court (known in Basque as Jai Alai) on a leafy city street and uncover a fishy story in the Malasaña neighbourhood.

Masonic Architechture...

Listen to the episode to find what these giant bronze statues on top of the Ministry of Agriculture symbolise.

In fact the whole façade of the Ministerio de Agricultura is littered with Masonic references. Find out what they mean in the episode.

Ministry of Agriculture

Next stop...The scene of the audacious assassination of Spanish prime minister Admiral Luis Carrero on a quiet street in the upmarket Salamanca district in 1973. Find out who was behind the murder of Franco's would-be successor and the incredible lengths they went to plant a bomb which sent his car and him flying over a five floor building where the scars can still be seen today.

Bomb attack on Calle Claudio Coello, Madrid , December 1973

On a lighter note, I scoot over to the other side of the Castellana into the handsome neighbourhood of Almagro, home to a hidden 4000-square metre Pelota Court, otherwise known as Beti-Jai or Jai Alai in Basque, which is where the ball game originates from. The huge open air court was left to ruin for decades after it closed in 1919. It had several reincarnations over the years including a practice ground for Falangist bands. In 2018 it was brought back to its former Neo-Mudejar glory after a long renovation project.

Beti-Jai Court in Madrid

See more of the Beti-Jai (Jai Alai) court before, during and after its renovation in this video.

Last stop, a fishy tale on Malasaña's Fish Street, Calle del Pez. Hear the sombre story of how the street got its name.

For all the details, sights and sounds plus extra bits and pieces about Madrid on my bike ride, listen to the full episode!

Oh, and here´s Palentino, the legendry dive bar in Malasaña I mentioned.

Palentino bar Malasaña, Madrid
Palentino pre-gentrification

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