Madrid Characters #1 – The Gas Man!

by Ben Curtis


…and I thought that these days it was only country folk that ordered their gas by the bottle. Apparently not, as the Butanero can still be seen driving his lorry around Madrid. These men are herculean super-machos, capable of hoisting two full gas bottles onto their shoulders and climbing six flights of stairs (I imagine early retirement from crippled backs is common in this game…) One thing that always worries me though is the constant smell of gas that surrounds the lorries, especially with all the smokers out on the streets of Madrid these days. What the hell would happen to our block of flats if one of these things went BANG outside?!


About Katie

Katie is an English teaching assistant working at a bilingual public school in the center of Madrid.
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5 Responses to Madrid Characters #1 – The Gas Man!

  1. Graeme says:

    I’m still a customer of el butanero, although these days it’s getting harder to find him as more people switch to Gas Natural. Even with price increases we still get our hot water and cooking gas at about 12 euros a month. The real downside is that freezing January morning when you are in the shower covered in soap….and you realize the gas is finishing! El butanero is one of the people in life that you have to treat well, a decent tip for hauling those bottles up the stairs is almost obligatory.

  2. Skip says:

    This is interesting, so you madridians (?) have gas or butane? delivered to the home, and you have to hook it up like a gas grill. Is this common, or do modern flats have pre-plummed gas in pipes?

    just a curiousity

  3. Graeme says:

    It used to be almost everyone, but now piped gas is rapidly displacing butane. The bottle gets delivered and you have to hook it up to the tube. I think probably all new buildings have piped gas installed, the problem in older buildings is to get enough owners to agree to install the mains gas connection. In Madrid, getting neighbours to agree on anything can be difficult.

  4. Pingback: Madrid Characters #2 - The Coal Man! - Notes from Madrid

  5. Gary says:

    Exactly the same in Barcelona – at least in Paral-lel/Poble Sec where we stay. The difference seems to be that the Butanero de Barça announces his arrival by hitting the cylinders with a spanner – always at the time you are taking a nap!

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