In search of espadrilles or alpargatas while in Madrid? Make sure to drop by Casa Hernanz, Toledo 18-20, near Plaza Mayor. It comes highly recommended. This is no secret, mentioned in nearly every guidebook and the subject of numerous articles, this 60+ year old shop looks like it hasn’t been refurbished in as many years. Get there midday and you will probably have to deal with a MASSIVE line out front, and the seemingly trademark brusque service offered by locals, but you can’t go wrong with their footwear starting at 4 Euro ($5.00 or P230)!
The recent Spain/Morroco trip was taken at a much more “relaxed” pace than usual for the MM family. A broken foot meant we tried to avoid long walks and we used taxis far more often than usual. The Teen opted out of some excursions, but she was a real trooper nonetheless. Every morning she suited up with this space age aircast and used a small air pump to adjust the pressure and fit. We were lightly cracking jokes about the whole situation, particularly when she announced that she really wanted to shop for espadrilles for herself and friends and I had visions of her trying on only the left espadrille while the salesperson looked on at the massive aircast with amusement.
With her shopping genes coming to full maturity, she quietly stood in line for some 20-25 minutes and we just eeked into the store just before they truncated the line and closed for a two hour lunch/siesta period. Thank goodness Mrs. MM is fairly fluent in Spanish and the Teen has taken several years of classes so they blabbed away as espadrille after espadrille emerged from the shelves and back stock rooms.
Most folks stood at the wooden counter several deep and tried their alpargatas on while standing up, but I found a little bit of bench space and just waited while the shopping was done. At such reasonable prices (almost half what we paid in a similar store in Barcelona a couple of years ago), the issue was really just about the lack of luggage space. The selection of footwear in the windows was mind-boggling. The colors, heel heights, ribbons, etc. made for a seemingly endless choice of shoes…
Indoors, many of the options were actually not available, but they had more than enough to choose from.
We ended up with six pairs of shoes (one pair mine), and emerged to the bright warm sun at 1:30pm, and tried to figure out where to have lunch. Of course I felt it was more than serendipity that the reputed oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botin, well-known for its roast pork and lamb, was literally around the corner… :)