"The itinerary designed by Almudena has the virtue of combining her knowledge as a doctor in History of Art and her role as President of the Association of Friends of the international Brigades (Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales), which make it possible to observe places such as the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor or the Telefónica building from a historical and aesthetic point of view. But perhaps what makes this walking tour so precious is the way in which this knowledge develops into a tactile, emotional, and ultimately experiential value.
As soon as we start the itinerary, Almudena opens a folder from which she pulls, as we stroll, large-scale reproductions of photographs from the period or newspaper covers that show the very places we are looking at thorugh the city centre, taking us back to those years when these images were captured. It is a way of reclaiming the recent memory of this city in a visual way, through a kind of photographic archaeology: we revisit the sites where bombs hit right in the heart of the city, the now disappeared Hotel Florida, or the profusion of banners encouraging the madrileños to resist the fascist attack.
The visit continues, and Almudena stops every now and then to share a series of objects she treasures as as collector and which, in a very powerful and effective way, provide us with a new degree of immersion: a field piece of cutlery, bits from a mortar shell and shrapnel, a commemorative medal, etc. These are objects I can handle and touch while Almudena invites me to look at (and feel with my hands) the wounds caused by bombs on the facade of a building, or while she encourages me to identify the Republican military equipment.
This sensorial immersion is completed with the living memory that Almudena herself embodies, as the grandaughter of Republicans from whom she miraculously preserves a series of treasures which will accompany us in this precious travel of a few hours, which is not merely a topographical itinerary but also an experience of travelling back in time. This is not just an invitation to expand our knowledge, but also our empathy and emotion, and because of this, it shall be treasured in our memory as an authentic experience."
Dr. Sonia García López, Lecturer in the Journalism and Audiovisual Departament at Universidad Carlos III and author of Spain is US. La guerra civil española en el cine del Popular Front (1936-1939)
Spanish Civil War Tour Endorsements
Reconstructing Republican Madrid