Madrid Street Art Old And New

Madrid is filled with art. From world-famous museums to cutting-edge indie galleries, this city has it all.

You don’t have to go to a museum or gallery to see art, though. The streets are filled with it. This photo shows a mural at the intersection of Calle de San Andrés and Calle de Espiritu Santo, just south of the popular Plaza Dos de Mayo. The mural stretches across an entire building and is slowly being defaced by taggers. That charming sentiment about the police wasn’t part of the original design.

There seems to be a war going on between the muralists and the taggers. This mural replaced an earlier one that graced the building for several years until some idiot spray-painted a blue line across its entire length. The muralists haven’t given up, though, and their work can be found on buildings and the shutters of shops. They’re often paid by shop owners to put something on the shutters to attract attention to their business even when it’s closed.

Madrid has a long tradition of decorated shops. Some of the older businesses in town have painted tiles, either in abstract designs inspired by Arab art or showing pictures related to the business. These, too, are being defaced by taggers. Unlike the murals, the older decorations are generally not being replaced.

Not all Spanish taggers deface other people’s art. Some respect an existing work and find another place to put their tags. Not surprisingly, their tags tend to be more artistic and show creativity and thought.

Check out the gallery for some Madrid street art spanning from a century ago and last month. For more images, check out the excellent blog Madrid Street Art.


Photo of the day: East Austin graffiti

Austin is my new home. I moved to Austin’s East Side in October and while the differences between New York City and Austin are ever-apparent to me, one common denominator helps to keep it real: graffiti. I’ve always been fascinated with graffiti art. When tastefully done, this art form, one that dates back to 30,000 BCE, adds personality to a city–and I like that.

This photo was snapped by local photographer, Chris Owens. Take a look at his Flickr photos and see Austin in a way you’ve never seen it before.

Interested in submitting your photos for Photo of The Day? Hop on the Gadling Flickr and start uploading.

Use return address labels when traveling – Packing tip

Who mails letters anymore? With the ease of email, social networking and banking, I had a drawer full of return address labels that were not being used. For a quick way to personalize my travel gear I put the time-saving stickers on everything from my camera, iPod, reading materials, umbrella, inside my jackets and nearly everything I pack.

It’s easy to think you won’t lose anything or leave an item behind, but oh-so-hard to replace them when you do!

Nio – using the power of Bluetooth to protect your belongings

On a weekly basis I probably read about 100 new product announcements, but every now and then I run into something that grabs my attention. Nio is such a product.

Nio is a Bluetooth enabled, motion sensing alarm tag.

The device attaches to your belongings, and when combined with the included software, can trigger an alarm if it moves outside a predetermined radius (up to 20 meters).

The Nio tag has an internal rechargeable battery capable of powering the device for several weeks.

To use the tag, you simply install the Nio software on your mobile device, versions are available for most Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices as well as most phones that can run Java applications.

Once installed, your phone will be in constant contact with the tag, and an audible alert will sound on your phone and on the tag if it moves out of range.

The software is pretty smart – you can setup specific times of day you want to enable (or disable) the alarm, which is perfect if you only want protection during your commute. In addition to this, the software can keep track of multiple tags, and can activate a “find me” function on the tag – which is a heck of a lot more advanced than those old “whistle to find” key tags.

Nio should start shipping in April, no price has been released yet but I’ll be sure to bring you a full review of the product as soon as it become available.

The World’s Craziest Sports

Forbes Traveler is running an interesting story on what they’re calling the world’s craziest sports, including chess boxing, typewriter tossing, cheese chasing, camel wrestling, and something called kabaddi, an Asian sport that’s a mix between the popular children’s game of tag, and swimming — without the water. The game “involves trying to ‘tag’ members of an opposing team and making it back to your side of the court,” explains Forbes Traveler. “all while holding your breath.”

Or how about the World Series of Elephant Polo? “… this sport can look freakish. Elephants move surprisingly fast (remember that on your next walking safari), but they’re not exactly maneuverable.”

For even more bizarre sports from around the world, visit Forbes Traveler.