While there are lots of different *mercadillos *all over the city, plus traditional Christmas markets (including the mother of them all in Plaza Mayor), I’m going to make my case for two places that have become near and dear to my heart. In this first installment, I’m going to give you a small taste of the coolest pop-up market in Chamberí inside a townhouse:
Run by Better Pop-Ups (which organizes special pop-up events around the city, including The Table, which brings in chefs from all-around Spain for pop-up restaurants), The Hovse is a pop-up shop in the heart of the Almagro neighborhood of the Chamberí district on Calle General Arrando. The street is a typical residential one, characterized by the beautiful houses built in Chamberí as the city continued to expand. While in my own neighborhood, I must admit that I had to GoogleMaps the address and jumped for joy that it was around the corner from my apartment. For convenience,* The Hovse* definitely won some major Brownie points. Inside the Hovse you’ll find three floors with a variety of homegrown brands with everything you could possibly need for people on your list. While I still have at least one more weekend and maybe a free afternoon or two to keep exploring the Hovse, here are the things that have really caught my eye:
Mr. Wonderful is famous for lots of different products with motivational sayings. while the majority of their stock is in Spanish, you can also get things with text in English, French, and Catalan. I have a Mr. Wonderful poster on my bedroom wall, agenda, passport envelope, and that’s not even half of it. The Mr. Wonderful website also stocks items from other brands, and those items can be found at The Hovse. I got some gift bags to compensate for my complete gift wrapping ineptitude (plus having to get these things through customs without losing my GlobalEntry privileges when entering US Customs) and a small wallet to take out with me late at night.
Helena Rohner is a jewelry designer originally from the Canary Islands who bases her work on the pureness of lines, the simplicity of shape, and original combinations of silver with other materials like wood and porcelain. With a workshop in the La Latina neighborhood as well as another boutique in the heart of Barcelona’s trendy El Born district (as well as being stocked in a number of stores around the world including NAC here in Madrid), Helena Rohner’s jewelry has a whole range of choices with plenty of room for any type of budget. She’s also collaborated on collections for home products with other design brands, showing that her range is incredible! There are small bracelets on beautiful strings starting at €19 with necklaces and rings with big stones going over €100. I won’t give anything else away (since many of my loved ones will be receiving something from her line), but I’m admiring my new bracelet as I sit typing out this blog post.
While I initially discovered this line of made-in-Madrid sustainable notebooks at November’s Mercado de Motores (which I’ll break down in a future post), these notebooks make a great gift for the budding creative personalities in your life. With a variety of fillings (with ruled lines for journalists/lawyers/etc., blank pages for the more creative types, and graph paper for scientists) and an even cooler variety of covers (ranging from traditional *azulejos *to Fruit Loops, pizza, and french fries), these notebooks are great stocking stuffers and a little something to have in your list of essentials. They also sell special belts that allow you store writing tools right on your notebook, allowing you take advantage of seizing on that inspiration right when it strikes! I’m going to have to go back and get some in order to begin creating albums to preserve all of my moments sitting around my drawers! (Quick disclaimer: the link is to the website, which is in Spanish!)
Walk With Me
If you’re looking for a map or travel guide, but are looking for something beyond the conventional Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, or Frommer’s, then look no further than Walk With Me. This team of writers, illustrators, and graphic designers makes the cities come alive with their maps and guides. You can get a map detailing all of the goods produced throughout Spain, a set of neighborhood guides in some of Madrid’s most trendy neighborhoods (Chueca, Malasaña, El Barrio de las Letras, and Lavapiés), as well as maps. Get some for your favorite neighborhoods in Madrid and in Barcelona!
On the second and third floors, there are also pop-up restaurant and bar spaces from Elite Gourmet, Ma Petite Creperie, Huerto de Lucas, and La Vermuteria. In addition, there’s also a special room where S Moda, the fashion magazine from El País, hosts special events.
Want to join in on the fun at the Hovse? It’s open every day until Christmas Eve from 11 AM- 9 PM
Calle del General Arrando, 40
Metro: Gregorio Marañón (Lines 7 and 10), Iglesia (Line 1), Rubén Darío (Line 5), Buses 40 and 147
More useful guides to make your life easier in Spain:
What about housing?
If you’re looking for a new home in Spain, we can help! Spotahome offers hundreds of spacious and personally-checked rooms, studios and apartments all over Spain, so you can book your perfect home online before you even arrive in the city. Click on the following links to find your new home in: Madrid, Barcelona,Valencia, Seville or Granada!