Moving to Prosperidad

Oso y Madroño statue, Prosperidad metro stop

 One day into our new place, I had already had a meltdown. Highlights of the day that contributed to this:

  • I was exhausted from moving everything via metro the day before
  • I felt lost—I didn’t know where anything in the new neighborhood was
  • An attempt to copy a pair of keys took two (TWO!) hours
  • Procedures at the bank in this barrio were different than what I was used to at my old branch…even though they both belong to the exact same company
  • A new neighbor complained that our shower made too much noise. She informed me that she heard it at the ungodly hour of 8:30 a.m., and didn’t I know people were sleeping?!
  • Another neighbor heard me speak one sentence in Spanish and demanded (in what I perceive as a demeaning tone) to know where I am from

I grumbled about all this to Andres on our first night, when I was still overwhelmed by the newness of it all—“This neighborhood has no character!” He paused for a moment, then insisted, “It does have character, just not one you like.”

Wide-open streets, oh my!

Bouncing from lively Malasaña to muted Prosperidad was like night and day. In contrast to the youthful scene I was used to, at the bank, at the grocery store, at the frutería, I would be the youngest by not one, but two generations. At all of these same places, little old ladies would badger me, or, even worse, simply cut in line. I hated it when they plowed into me; this would never happen in Malasaña, where the only road risk was being run over by a hipster.

You know you live in an old-school barrio when….

We did our best to search out interesting places in the new neighborhood. When a friend told us he had lived in the barrio, I was immediately on the edge of my seat, breathlessly asking, “Where are some cool places to go?” I imagined he would offer up little-known gems tucked away on tiny streets. To my astonishment–and obvious disappointment–he proclaimed our own street was the place to be.

Uncomfortable with my crestfallen look, the friend quickly added, “Well, in the summer the street fills up with terrazas, and people are all outside eating, drinking, and enjoying the sun.” I made a mental note to check back and see if that was actually true.

Even though summery terraza weather is yet to hit, I am enjoying the positive aspects the barrio has to offer—wide-open streets, two parks within walking distance, cheap(er) restaurants, a relative quietness, and, above all, a cozy apartment with central heating.

It also brought something I didn’t realize I needed until I got it—change. Moving to a new neighborhood shakes up your routine, introduces you to new people and places, and transports you out of your comfort zone. It made me reevaluate my time in Madrid by making me think about the places and details I love about the city. I wouldn’t say I appreciate the center more, exactly, but it has given me another perspective. At the same time, I can be more honest with myself about the downsides of living in the center, and stop holding my breath about the things that drove me nuts.

The Torres Blancas

Equally as important, the move reminded me of how much there still is to explore. If we hadn’t moved here, I wouldn’t have discovered the Torres Blancas building with its funky architecture, the awesome Thai restaurant on our doorstep, or the personajillo who lays a blanket out on the sidewalk everyday and hawks a changing assortment of books. I can’t help but wonder–What else is waiting to be discovered?

Can you share an experience moving within your own city? Do you have any advice for moving to a new place? 

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18 Comments

  1. congrats on the new move! the summers in your hood sound like my paradise, so here’s to hoping summer comes quick for you! 😉

    • Cassandra

      Thanks, Annie! A few cafes are tugging tables outside as I type this 🙂

  2. No wonder it’s called Prosperidad!

    When I moved from Triana to Cerro de Aguila, I thought my life was over. It’s further out, but it’s a sevillano barrio where I’m the ONLY English speaker, and it’s humble. Plus, there’s parking, it’s not so noisy and we’re next to the Alcampo. It took a while, but I’m starting to see the good in it.

    • Cassandra

      Thanks for your insight, Cat. It is true that I don’t hear English NEARLY as much here, and I hadn’t even thought about that!

  3. Don’t worry, you’ll start adjusting. Over Christmas I moved from Barrio Salamanca to Chamberí. It’s not as big as an adjustment like a move from Malasaña to Prosperidad, but it’s still a change. I’d gotten used to being from walking distance to any shop I wanted, having TWO Holiday gyms nearby, and, of course, Retiro. I’m still adding things to my list of what I don’t like about Chamberí, but I’m also finding things I like…and so will you!

    • Cassandra

      Ha, I know what you mean about being in close proximity to familiar places. I’m sure I would also be miss Retiro like crazy if I used to live near there!!

  4. I know it might be a little far, depending on where your piso is, but there’s quite a lot of bars and restaurants on Corazon de Maria. I used to work in that area and really came to enjoy it. You’ll find your places…it just takes some time.

    And remember, if an old lady pushes into you, just push her right back! 🙂

    • Cassandra

      We are actually really close to Corazon de Maria, and so far we’ve discovered Market and Oam Thong. I’m hoping that when it’s full-blown terraza season we can get the ganas the explore more of the area!

  5. I lived on Calle Sanchez Pacheco if that gives you any point of reference, not too far from Parque de Berlin. I did not take advantage of that park enough, I think I went to it a grand total of 2 times. I only lived there because it was about a 15 minute walk to the NYU campus when I was doing my MA. It is true, there really isn’t a whole lot to DO there. It is very residential and lots of families and abuelas which is a completely different feel from Malasana, I bet! It is a good 30 minute metro ride to the center but then we discovered we were super close to Cruz del Rayo on line 9 and that made all the difference. There were a couple of restaurants my roommates and I liked to go to, including this one Asian restaurant called Kintaro that was really cheap but had decent food.

    It’s not the most exciting barrio, that’s for sure, but there are some pluses to it.

    • Cassandra

      Ahh, you understand it exactly, then!

      There are a surprising number of Asian eateries here; so far we’ve been to two Japanese restaurants, one Thai place, and a Chinese restaurant. I hadn’t heard of Kintaro but I will look it up.

  6. That’s not too far from where I lived my 2nd year (just across the A2, a bit closer to the center) and while a lot of times I wanted to live closer to the center because duh, I also loved how quiet and cheap it was! There was a place near my house that had cañas for 70c with tapas of El Tigre proportions. Can you believe that?

    • Cassandra

      Aw, that sounds great! I hope we can find a deal that good. Time to sleuth!

  7. Angelica

    How exciting! Change is always scary, but adventurous! 🙂

  8. Hola Casandra!

    I enjoyed reading your blog! I find it very informative, as I’m planning to move back to Madrid later this year. I hope to get more tips from you in the near future!

    Andrea

    • Cassandra

      Thanks so much, Andrea 🙂 If you have any specific questions feel free to e-mail me and I’ll see if I can help!

  9. Hi Cassandra,

    I found your blog while trying to learn more about housing in Madrid. I will be in Madrid for 10 months starting in September teaching English. My school placement is in Meco, so it was suggested to me that I live in Prosperidad (cheaper than Salamanca). Could you provide me with any information on transportation near Prosperidad? Especially, how much time did it take it via public transportation to younger, more nightlife neighborhoods like masalana, and how accessible is it? I don’t mind living in a quiet area, but want to be able to go out on the weekends with other young people. I appreciate any help you can offer! Thanks!

  10. Hi! I know this blog is 2 years old but I found it interesting and hoping some of you that commented previously are still active. I have a job at FEYE COLEGIO CORAZÓN INMACULADO C/ López de Hoyos, 59 Madrid (Madrid) 28002 for 10 months. I am moving from England and don’t know the area. Any suggestions on which areas to look for accomdation? and websites? Thank you!

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