09.11.17 — Journal

Amber in Madrid

So today is a national holiday here in Madrid, and that meant that I managed to oversleep and miss a trip to the very north of the community of Madrid to go for a hike. Oops! But that at least means I have an hour to sit and update you all on the latest bit of gallivanting around the big city – this time with Amber!

As mentioned before, Amber booked flights and a hostel to spend almost a week here, and so on Thursday evening I left work and went to go and pick her up from the airport. It was lovely to see her again, but as we were both tired and pressed for time that evening, we shared a jug of sangria and headed off for a relatively early night.

On Friday though, and after a morning of exploring the west of the city including the Egyptian Temple, she came along to the office to say hello to everyone once again (last year she visited with Jess whilst I was an intern). Once more we had a spread of snacks or aperitivos laid out, and I finally got round to fulfilling Mario’s request for a round of coronation chicken sandwiches – they went down an absolute storm!

As we finish early on Friday at work, from there we headed down to the lake for a relaxed ice cream. During a wander around the lake we wound up taking a different path than usual, and stumbled upon an old viaduct, before heading deep into the city centre once more for some relaxed drinks in Malasaña and then Lavapiés. We covered a lot of ground and drank a lot of the local cocktail, tinto de verano!

A viaduct in Casa de Campo
Us two in a bar in Lavapiés

Sunglasses, apparently, are even needed at night in Madrid.

Exploring the city

On Saturday morning, and after a decent lie in, we met up down in the south of the city at the cultural centre called Matadero. We had a good look through a photography exhibition, sat down for some pintchos, pastries and coffee for breakfast, then explored an outdoor exhibition of design from around Spain and Latin America.

The architecture of the Matadero
Amber getting into brand design

After this we crossed the river and had a snoop around the new Madrid Río 2 shopping centre, before heading back up northwards to continue or snack fest and check out views down Gran Vía, the main artery which runs through the centre of the city.

Crossing the river
Looking down Gran Vía

Once we got a little tired, we both headed our separate ways and had a proper Spanish siesta before reuniting in the city centre and heading down to the cute little are of La Latina, where we traversed a well known street which is buzzing with little bars and restaurants. There we began our evening drinking gin and tonics, eating an array of toasted bread with delicious toppings, and eventually taking the Metro up north to Chueca to continue our night on the town.

The contrasting colours of my local Metro stop
A car sits abandoned at night

Up in the district of Chueca we visited more bars and eventually wound up in a club, meeting some friends along the way and dancing to all the latest reggaetón and Spanish hits. Here’s an example of some reggaetón if you fancy a taste!

Needless to say that the next day we didn’t rush out of bed, eventually meeting up just to leisurely wander around the city and eat and graze as usual. As the day wore on, we decided to pay an impromptu visit to the top of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, a building from which you can enjoy great pretty much 360° views over the city. The last time I went was over a year ago when my dad visited Madrid, but we decided to have a coffee and watch the sun as it began to set over the skyline.

Bruschetta style toasts in La Latina
The sun begins to set
A view over the city's east

Monday came around too fast and it was our last proper evening together, so after work we met up and went once again to chill out in the city. We had traditional Madrid food at an old-school bar in the centre, where I chowed down on a delicious plate of huevos rotos – which seems to be becoming my favourite right now.

After this we went once again to have a few glasses of tinto de verano, but I couldn’t stay out late as I’d to work on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday though we managed to meet up during my lunch break, and headed to have some food in a shopping centre near the office. From there we said our goodbyes, as that evening Amber was heading to the airport to catch her flight back home before I left work.

¡Que buena pinta!
A light in a bar in Malasaña

It was a pleasure having Bam around in the city with me, and I can only hope she enjoyed being here as much as I enjoyed just lazying around every evening eating and drinking the hours away. Usually I’d be a bit down once a friend leaves the city, but next weekend I’m off to see Kevin and visit the beautiful city of Oviedo once again. I’ll also be back in England for a week over Christmas, which will be lovely.

I just have to end this post with a quote from my grandma, who always reminds us when we’re a little down after something lovely finishes: “it’ll soon be Christmas, and we’ll have some nuts!”