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Andrew Ferren

The closest Madrid may ever come to a citizen rebellion in the 21st century occurred last December, when city hall shut down the wildly popular vintage and gastronomic market known as the Mercado de Motores

The name comes from the market’s location in the city’s Railroad Museum, where the indoor-outdoor market held the second weekend of each month brings fresh attention to the museum’s vast displays of nostalgia-inspiring vintage trains. With its hipster cachet, the market also brought throngs to the museum—but the city suddenly decided their permits needed reviewing. 

On the eve of the December holiday edition in 2014, the market was abruptly cancelled, and thousands of impressively bearded and mustachioed, flannel-shirt-wearing antiques dealers and craft olive oil vendors nearly took to the streets. But all that was all sorted out last spring.

Now, the market—with more than 300 vendors selling everything from raffia hats and hand-knit baby clothes to biodynamic wine, gourmet brownies and vintage jeans—will be back on the rails for several weekends for the rest of the year: September 12 and 13; October 10 and 11; November 7 and 8; and December 12 and 13. Visitors heading to Madrid soon should take note for any shopping excursions. And, of course, those fabulous vintage locomotives and other bits of railroad history are worth visiting year-round.

Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.

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