Five years and a half – that’s how long I’ve been living in Madrid, most of it in Guadarrama. My life has changed a lot during this time. That’s the way I see this new land where I live in, through the viewfinder of my cameras.
I left a lot of things behind when I came from Pineda de Mar (Barcelona), some of my hobbies among them, but many other things came with me like my first “special” camera. It was a four-lens camera, a type of “Actionsampler”, a present of a tobacco brand that my brother Alberto gave me as a gift. Once I got here, and after a long period of hard work and many occupations, a few more cameras arrived, making up my little collection. First is the Diana F+ with her Deluxe kit , Sprocket Rocket after, and the last one is a forty-year-old but perfectly preserved, beautiful Lubitel 2. And now these cute girls are going to help me show you the place where I now live in, its people, and customs.
I knew before coming to Madrid that Guadarrama could be the perfect place to live in. It’s a relatively small town, regardless of huge estates and the big forests, it’s a very quiet place, surrounded by nature and settled on the Imperial Madrid route. It is the place of inspiration for Juan Ruiz, an archpriest of Hita, which is not only mentioned in ‘Libro del Buen Amor’ (The Book of the Good Love), but Cervantes also mentioned it in Don Quixote. It’s not strange that Guadarrama was frequented by such distinguished writers because it was a forced way between Madrid and Segovia by the ‘Alto del Leon’ (also known as ‘puerto de los leones’), being the road of A Coruña, whose construction was ordered by Fernando VI, one of the most busy roads between the two castillas.
But not everything in Guadarrama history can be considered as grand since the Arabs named the river, the mountain range, and the town as Uad-er-ramel (river of the sandy area or river of the stones). One of the saddest episodes of Spanish history involved Guadarrama in a horrific way, and had to be rebuilt almost completely after the Spanish Civil War. A line of trenches and bunkers still show how Guadarrama and its people resisted and suffered the attack of the fascists until the last breath. The civil war resulted to a deserved rest and a shameful prize, the ‘Valle de los Caídos’, which is an immense cross visible from all over the region. Although it’s hard to find really old buildings, there are still a few (I lived in a late XIX century building), but the restoration efforts still respected the architectonic-style, which is typical of the shire, except that the estates surrounding it make for a very good representation of the modern mountain architecture. Some of the prominent buildings are the town hall, ‘La Torre’ (an old church that works as a cultural center), the church, and ‘El Aralar’ (an old house which is used as a youth activity center).
There are a lot of interesting things that you can find in Guadarrama. Places like Reciclaje, with magic performances, live music, and many other cultural offers. Good restaurants like the ‘sidreria’ El Llagaron, where you can enjoy very good cuisine at a very good price, or the famous restaurant, Sala and its shrimps. If you need hosting, you got ‘Hostal Piquio’, known for good services at a good price. It’s essential to enjoy nature-walking through Jarosa reservoir, or have a meal in one of the two recreation areas, or going to the ‘Alto del Leon’ on foot or by bicycle. In the summer don’t forget to enjoy the medieval market that brings back the town to its rich past!
Choose your way, but come to Guadarrama, you’ll like it!