Sunday mornings and a trawl around the Rastro go hand in hand in Madrid.
The Rastro is a real institution and has been going for more than 400 years. The Ribera de Curtidores is the main drag, starting from Plaza de Cascorro, but the surrounding streets, particularly around Plaza General Vara de Rey, are more interesting. The streets are lined with stalls and shops selling clothes, bags, rusty old keys, sunglasses, furniture, shoes, books, kitchen stuff, paintings and all manner of old junk. The name Rastro comes from the fact that there used to be an abattoir here, where animals were slaughtered in the early hours of the morning, then distributed to the butchers' shops around the city. Rastro means 'trail', and refers to the trail of blood that used to be left down the street. There are lots of little bars for tapas and beers along the way, and it is customary to go for a long, late lunch afterwards.