Spain is one of the countries hardest hit by the European economic crisis. Due to a toxic combination of billions of euros worth of bad loans held by Spanish banks and a real estate bubble that burst in spectacular style in 2007, Spain's economy now faces multiple simultaneous challenges which it is struggling to deal with within the monetary strictures of the Eurozone.
An estimated 1.5 million empty houses, built in a dizzying rush by developers to make the most of cheap loans and favourable government regulation, litter the landscape. Football stadia, railway stations and airports lie abandoned or half-finished and whole towns, planned and half built, are being squatted or pilfered for raw materials.
In parallel, unemployment figures have shot up to such an extent that in some areas, especially in the south, cities are experiencing unemployment rates as high as 40%. Youth unemployment in the country as a whole surged over the 50% mark in June 2012.
Even in this corner of the developed world, the impact of Europe's economic crisis is playing out in often surreal situations where people are surviving hand to mouth while living amongst the ruins of failed urban utopias.