estación de chamberí

When we lived in Madrid, we took the metro almost every day.  We walked to the grocery store or to a few other places in our neighborhood, but to most places, we took the metro - work, parks, museums, the airport, train stations, etc.  We had monthly abonos that allowed us to ride the public transportation in the city as much as we wanted, and we used the metro the most - it doesn't run late or get caught in traffic like buses, and is overall just very dependable and convenient.

One of the reasons we liked it so much was probably because the Madrid Metro is the 8th longest in the world, even though Madrid is only the 50th most populous metropolitan area in the world.  It runs from 6am - 1:30am every day of the week, and we have used it during almost every one of those hours.  If there's one thing we miss about Madrid living, it's got to be quality (and cheap!) public transportation.  Most of the U.S. is just missing out on what most of Europe has gotten so right...

Our friend Sam told us about his visit to Estación de Chamberí, the first station of the Madrid Metro, and it convinced us to go too.  The station was built in 1919, and it was one of eight others that were on the first line of the metro - the current line 1 (or light blue line, if you're like me and haven't learned the lines by their numbers but still call them by their colors).  Once the trains became too long to stop at the Chamberí station, it shut down in 1966, and it stopped appearing on metro maps (for those of you with experience with the Madrid metro, it's located in between Iglesia and Bilbao).  

For 40 years the station was abandoned and unused, until 2006 when restoration of the stop began and it was turned into a museum.  Two years later, it was opened to visitors, who can go down a flight of steps and enter into what feels like a time capsule of life in Madrid years ago: the original turnstiles, advertisements (made of tile!), maps, and more remain.  Take a look...

(Sorry all the photos are a little...yellow, but the lighting wasn't stellar underground in the old metro station!)  

We had a good visit to the Chamberí station.  There honestly isn't a ton to see there (30 minutes is probably more than enough), but if you're living in Madrid and are a regular metro rider, you'll likely find it interesting.  My current favorite metro fact(s)?  There are over 590 million riders on the Madrid metro each year, as well as 1,698 escalators - the most escalators of any metro system in the world!  And with that, here's hoping we find ourselves living in another city with superb public transit like Madrid (or maybe again in Madrid?!) real soon!