Don’t leave Lavapiés (meaning “wash feet”) immediately after seeing Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sofía . The Inquisition-era Jewish barrio is now populated with a variety of multiethnic residents from Africa, Asia, and South America, all of whom are out and about in the Plaza de Lavapiés. Pick up a cortado (an espresso cut with a little milk) from one of the many cafes on Calle Argumosa and then people watch in the plaza. Learn to play the traditional card game of Tute from the neighborhood’s older residents, or listen to the upbeat Turkish and Bangladeshi rhythms played by newcomers. See the results of the Inquisition at Parroquia de San Lorenzo, a Catholic Church that stands on the grounds of razed medieval synagogue. At lunchtime, go to Melo’s (Calle Ave Maria 44, 915-275-054) and order the zapatilla a giant shoe-shaped loaf of bread stuffed with pork, ham, and melted cheese. Wash it down with some house Galician wine, served in a bowl. Get a view from above with a cocktail on the roof of the open-air Gaudeamus Café .
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Published on Jun 11, 2009 as a web exclusive.