10th October 2016
In between the rising pressures and final year lectures of university, I managed to somehow find a three-day lapse, and then through some divine intervention a couple of cheap Ryanair flights to go with it – and so booked a spontaneous 48 hour trip to Madrid a couple of weeks back!
The trip began with a grueling 2:30 wake-up, followed by a groggy drive down a barely nevagble M60 to Manchester Airport, upon which every single exit specified by Google Maps (which had also rather helpfully decided to give all voice commands in Spanish) was closed for roadworks. My frazzled brain somehow parsed the Spanish and I made it to the airport, whereupon I proceeded to get myself completely lost trying to find my car park.
Once I had realized that I’d booked my car out for 2am rather than 2pm, I made my apologies in the car park reception and waddled over to the terminal building, where inside I then proceeded to panic as I couldn’t find my passport and boarding card – of all the things to misplace. They were indeed eventually found and I made my way through security, on to the plane and southward over the plains of España.
Once I touched down I began my familiar wander through the airport, onto the trusty Metro and into the belly of the city, where I stopped for a bite to eat before heading straight for the Erretres studio before I had even found my place for the night! I wandered in and said hello to everyone, before eventually settling down and having a laugh with the guys I used to work with plus their new designer. We decided then to head out for lunch together the next day, and eventually I had to head off out to find my apartment for the two nights.
After a much-needed nap I then headed out to meet up with Thuy, with whom I used to work with in my earlier days at Erretres, and we headed off into the city to grab some steamed buns and tinto de verano – and we wound up spending hours and hours chatting and catching up! Before we knew where we were we found ourselves in a cocktail bar, and then we wound up in a classic Madrid institution, San Ginés, where we finished our night with a plate of churros and chocolate.
The next day I woke up and spent a while meandering around the city, where I visited the Jardines del Recuerdo, a large cemetery and public gardens in the east of the city. It was peaceful and solemn and felt a million miles from the hectic university life back in Leeds! I was soon rushing off again though, as it was time to grab the Metro to meet the Erretres team back at our old favorite Thursday afternoon haunt, the Café del Rey.
Lunch with the team was as lovely as ever, and as everything was all over too soon as they had to get back to work and I had some more strolling around I wanted to do. I headed from the studio back up to the Debod Temple, down through the Plaza de España and approached the Royal Palace through Sabatini Gardens, snapping photos and basking in the sunny ambience as I went.
As the evening drew on I met up with Alejandro for a burger dinner at my favorite burger bar, Bacoa, after which we headed up to a bar I hadn’t visited before which sits atop the huge El Corte Inglés department store right in the center of the city. Up there I grabbed myself a huge gin and tonic and admired the view, which looked right down Madrid’s Main Street Gran Vía, past the infamous Schweppes neon that sits on its corner.
The night was still young, however, and clutching a bag full of jamón and wine I headed to one of the flats I used to stay in to meet up with my old flatmaes and the new arrivals there. We wound up cooking pizza (which went unbelievably disastrously wrong), having a glass of wine and chatting well into the wee hours of the morning – it was a lovely chance to catch up and have a laugh as we always did!
Four hours later though I had to wake up and head to the airport, and so my late night had me cursing myself on the flight back home. Once I landed the trip back to Leeds was much smoother than my outward journey, and I arrived back at my place to be greeted by an empty and peaceful house and a bed to collapse on. A whirlwind visit it definitely was, but every moment was a joy, and I shall undoubtably be back soon for another few days of vagueando…*
* Being super lazy