El Rastro

El Capricho Extremeño, originally uploaded by jhoko.

Another ridiculous meal, consumed entirely by me. These lovely tostas come from El Capricho Extremeño, which you will find smack in the middle of the Rastro chaos any Sunday morning. One is covered in a generous heap of pulpo, or octopus, the other is gulas, or baby eels (imitation of course), topped with a few little shrimp. There’s always a line, but it moves fast, and it’s the perfect snack (I guess ENORMOUS MEAL would be more appropriate for this serving size) for a day at the market.

I’ve repeatedly heard El Rastro described as the largest flea market in Europe. “El Rastro” means “the trail,” as in the trails of blood that the animal carcasses left as they were being dragged down the street when this was the old meat market…or so I hear. Honestly, I don’t know if it really is the largest flea market in Europe, but what I do know is that I am not the person to ask because I have never fully explored the depths of its enormousness. I usually go to pick up something small like a pair of cheap sunglasses or a pashmina for 2 euros, but you can get literally ANYTHING here. Underwear? Got it. Swords? Yep. Old motorcycles? Random ass junk? Check and check. An entire booth of rubber hoses? Got that too.

There are also an insane number of tourists, all of whom seem to be American girls between the ages of 18 and 24. Can’t really point any fingers with that one, but where you find those, you also find pickpockets, so be careful here. I’ve seen more than one altercation in the incredibly densely packed crowd. Definitely worth a visit though, especially if you need to buy, well, anything. It always makes me sad because there are such incredibly awesome antiques there and I can never buy any furniture because it is stupid enough that I buy things like books and shoes here considering the budget and suitcase space I have. Speaking of suitcases, back to packing! 😦 Waa.

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