¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. A survey of Spain’s most exclusive shopping streets (by a company called Cushman & Wakefield) has ranked Calle Serrano third most expensive street as measured by price per square metre to rent. Most expensive was Calle Preciados which is also in Madrid and suitably this translates as ‘Esteemed Street’ or ‘Valuable Road’ in English. Filling out the top five were three streets in Barcelona (Portal de Ángel, Paseo de Gracia and Portaferrissa). Serrano’s most expensive retail space costs Euro2,100 per sq metre per year, up 5.4% year on year, whilst Preciados (located between Sol and Gran Via) costs Euro2,580 (2006 prices). Serrano is choc full of top name fashion stores (Valentino, YSL, Donna Karan, Versace, Gucci, Pedro del Hierro, Adolfo Domínguez etc.), jewellery shops, art galleries and expensive restaurants. Preciados is pedestrianised, always full of shoppers and boasts the largest El Corte Ingles department store in the city plus FNAC, which is famous in Madrid for books, music and as a place to buy all your concert and special event tickets.
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¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. While I look for a suitable flat to stay I’m staying at Z-man‘s place in Diego de Leon which is Salamanca barrio (I think). It’s a family-oriented and very middle-class area with lovely apartment buildings, lots of little specialist shops, tiny bars, cafeterias and restaurants. He has an exterior flat, i.e. he has a balcony that looks out on to the street, and these are traditionally more sought after (and therefore more expensive) than the interior flats. Most apartment buildings in Madrid are divided up this way.