This work has been inspired by the mountains where I lived, in a small village in the North of Madrid called Soto del Real. Naomi and I would spend every weekend walking and hiking in the mountains and woods and sometimes we go to this area in the rocky mountains called La Pedriza. This is a very popular place where lots of people go from all over the country for hiking.
In the 18th century, the mountains of La Pedriza used inhabited by famous bandits -bandoleros- who would escape from Madrid when in danger and have their hidden dens in the rocks. There are many the stories related to the bandits who lived in these mountains in those days. The most well-known ones were related to Luis Candelas, a famous bandit who ended his days in 1834 executed in the “garrote vil” -an Spanish invention to kill people-. The character of Luis Candelas is one of the most interesting ones I’ve read about because, apart from being a famous bandit, he managed to deal with people from the aristocracy in Madrid and he even had an affair with one of the lovers of the king Fernando VII and -just like the Mexican character El Zorro or Robin Hood- became a local hero.
Other popular bandits who lived in these mountains were Paco “El Sastre” and Mariano Balseiro. In the 1970’s, a very popular Spanish TV show about bandits called “Curro Jimenez” was shot in La Pedriza. In the picture, you can actually see Madrid in the background, as it would appear around 1840. Today this view is very different and what you can see is the three sky scrapers that have been built in these last few years.