It was not yet seven in the morning and the Rastro was already up and running. The first stalls began their assembly in the place where it has grown and developed into what it is today, in the vicinity of La Recova de Santa Cruz. Yesterday, the street market returned to its origins, after the restrictions of the pandemic forced it to move to the Avenida de la Constitución. A first day of doubts, of nerves, of confusion for not knowing what space was for each stall, but at ten in the morning everyone was ready to start a day that will remain in the memory of the market.
The morning, radiant, with a heat that is not typical of this month of October that is already saying goodbye, encouraged the buyers who, also, early, approached the usual Rastro. It was a morning of reunions, emotions, congratulations, and even some tears. Of the more than 600 positions that the ordinance that regulates its operation includes, just over 400 are those that have obtained the approval of the Commerce area to settle again in the original location, which are the ones that have presented all the documentation according to said ordinance. The location map develops the Rastro in the usual streets, with the exception of Bravo Murillo, which is cleared, and the occupation of the avenue of Buenos Aires, at the height of the Ministry of Education, and the Plaza of the Presidency of the Government .
The president of the Rastro Association, Carmen Tejera, congratulated herself yesterday on the return, finally, to normality. “It has been an immense joy that we have experienced today (yesterday). Everything was packed with people, as if it were an Exposaldo or a Full Moon. We have had everything, from tourists, to people from the neighborhoods who have wanted to come and welcome us”, Tejera pointed out.
And it is that the influx to the Rastro was such that not only the vendors who finally set up their stalls benefited, but also the Mercado Nuestra Señora de África itself, which was full to the brim, or the cafeterias and terraces in the area. Users valued the return of the Rastro to its original location, highlighting the organization and ease of moving between stalls.
However, as Tejera pointed out, “today was a first contact, because we cannot forget that we are starting from scratch. There are things to improve and the City Council, through the Commerce area that reports to Alfonso Cabello, is willing to reach agreements.”
And it is that, as explained by the president of the Rastro Association, “it is true that there are some vendors who are unhappy about the location on the avenue of Buenos Aires, which is further away, but Alfonso Cabello has already promised to find space for place these posts. “Others – Tejera continued – complained that they had been at one point for more than 30 years and now they had changed them. He had to explain that we started from scratch and that from now on we will adjust as best we can”.
There were also many vendors who did not dare to set up their stall yesterday, waiting to see how everything would work, “a pity because they could have taken advantage of the magnificent day of sales we have had,” added Tejera.
a way of life
The president of the vendors recalled that they have the law on their side to be back in their location, and regretted that at many times in the history of the Rastro, what it means for the families who come every Sunday has not been taken into account to set up their stalls. “For many it is their way of life, of subsistence, and you cannot play with so many families, and more so at a time when we are in such great need,” Tejera defended.
From the City Council, the Councilor for Commerce, Alfonso Cabello, valued the development of the first day of the return to normality. “It is time to make some adjustments to the streets to improve safety and traffic, and also improve the assembly to make less noise, reducing the inconvenience to the neighbors.”
This week a meeting is already scheduled at the Town Hall with the vendors who have requested a change of location to organize possible transfers to the free spaces.