Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Heroics in the Suburbs, with a View

Museum of Firefighters / Museo de Bomberos
12/27/11 – Calle Boada, 4
The weather this week, between Navidad and the holiday of Reyes, has been glorious.  On Tuesday morning, three generations (Grandpa, Dulcinea, Sons 1 & 2) set off by metro and emerged fourteen stations later at Buenos Aires.  I sense that few tourists make it out to see the free Museum of Firefighters, and that’s a shame.   

Fire truck, Museum of Firefighters
The location southeast of the city center is one of the attractions, we later learned.  As you walk north from the metro station, beyond a suburban superstore, a ramshackle courtyard on Calle Boada contains two old fire trucks and an unassuming entry door of corrugated tin.

Street view of the museum

Inside the dimly-lit but cavernous space, it smelled of gasoline and old machinery.  We were surprised to be greeted warmly by a fireman, who shook our hands in welcome.  He said that if we had any questions we should not hesitate to ask.  Another fireman was leading around a group of children and their parents. 

From a brochure I learned that the city of Madrid hired the first 24 firemen, then called “matafuegos,” way back in 1618.  The museum chronicles the history of firefighting in Madrid: old photos, vehicles, uniforms, communications equipment, extinguishers, ladders, helmets, nozzles and hoses of every shape and size.  Signage is minimal.


A chronology of nozzles
Practical, sculptural

The venerable FDNY, 1940s.
Red fire engines are the stars, with models from 1884 to 1949.  Several sported the distinctive, peaked "M" for Madrid on their front grills.

"M" for Madrid

Early vehicle, English-made, 1812

    The "Merry Weather," London, 1915
After our visit, the boys made a beeline for the steep, grassy hill across the street.  It turned out to be part of a vast park, the Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío. They quickly returned for the camera, and entreated us to follow.  

Grandfather and S1, ascending hill

S2, ascending lamp post
At the top, a spectacular view of Madrid awaited:

Skyline, sierra and smog
The Museum of Firefighters led us to this place, and we felt lucky to see both.

1 comment:

  1. Again, totally awesome! We'll try to make this...as least on the grandkiddos' behalf.