25.10.20 — Journal

Autumn in Madrid

I point-blank refuse to believe that it’s just been two weeks since I last posted on here, as it seems like I’ve crammed enough errands and outings into the past fortnight to bring me up to the end of the year! Be it a quick visit to the Erretres office or a leisurely stroll around the city centre, I’ve been making the most of the last days of mild weather before winter hits, so let’s get stuck right in…

An event dominating my escapades recently has been Erretres’ move to our new office space! After hauling my iMac down the road as an intern four years ago and then playing around on the dry pool bed of our last office, this marks the third change of office that I’ve been part of. This move sees us head back into the city centre, and a space near Argüelles in the north of the city.

To prepare for the move, I made one last visit to our old office in order to pack up my desk and other belongings, and also bring my iMac back to my flat. This was because I wanted to buy myself a monitor, and didn’t know what size to go for, and so off I popped with my 27″ iMac in an IKEA bag that I’d found in a cupboard in order to make a comparison at home. It must have looked odd, as I bundled the huge computer – wrapped in a towel and shoved into a plastic bag – into the back of a taxi after having waltzed out of a huge house in the outskirts of Madrid.

After having decided on the screen that I wanted and placed the order, it was time to celebrate Jhosef starting his new job. This was marked with a shopping trip to pick him up a new suit, and then a huge plate of tacos to share!

My next trip out was with Sara, who took me to a fabulous Italian restaurant near her house – which is also handily in Argüelles – where we tucked into some delicious stone-fired pizza. We headed back to her place after our meal, where I met her housemates and polished off a decent part a bottle of vermouth, before heading home and spending the morning after with a bit of a heavy head…

Said heavy head wasn’t about to hold me back, however, as I had dessert to prepare. Me and a couple of colleagues had arranged to meet for lunch in one of their houses, where she’d prepared a huge helping of cocido madrileño, a traditional Madrid chickpea-based strew. I’d been left in charge of dessert, for which I prepared a huge batch of torrijas, a cinnamon-flavoured sweet which I first made as an intern at Erretres after having first tried one back in 2016, and which always go down a treat!

Once I had my torrijas made, I headed off and enjoyed a lovely meal, all washed down with a lovely few glasses of red wine. We spent a good while chatting away into the evening, helped on our way by a selection of cheeses and a glass of gin and tonic.

One back in my flat, and with my new screen unboxed, I headed into the next working week with my new desk all set up and in place. It’s certainly given my poor old neck some relief and made my working days a lot easier, even as we prepare to begin working in the new office.

After a lazy Saturday messing around on my new setup, I decided to get out of my flat and wander around the city to see what I could see before the cold winter begins to bite. This little walk took me to the Barrio de las Letras, Madrid’s literary quarter, where I stopped for some coffee and cake before mooching around some of the independent shops which line it’s pretty little side streets.

After my solitary wander, I headed back to the city centre and up to the Chueca district, where I met Hugo and Sergei for a drink and some snacks. Whilst on a quest to find some old lightbulbs to start a collection here at home (an old obsession of mine), I found a few little interior design shops that I’d never seen before, and managed to hunt down some old coloured incandescents.

A wander around the north of Chueca led me to find some quirky little shops.

That weekend ended with a lovely Sunday evening spent in Retiro, Madrid’s main park, with Jhosef. The two of us headed up to the idyllic spot on a bus, before wandering around the artificial lake, stopping by the Crystal Palace, and taking a leisurely stroll around the outside of the park. As darkness fell on Madrid, we left the park for home, stopping off at a churrería (churro stand) for some freshly-fried churros and a thick chocolate dip – bliss!

It’s churro time.

The next week began and saw me headed off to Argüelles for my first two days working from the new office. The new space is absolutely lovely, with balconies over the street below and a plethora of spacious rooms to work in. Although I was working alone in a room due to the limited capacity, it was nice to be in a different environment, and heading out for lunch with my colleagues was a lovely return to some kind of normality.

This, however, doesn’t constitute a full return to the office, and so I’ll still be working from home frequently for a good while yet. To keep up the good feeling of being out of the house, I’ve been heading out in mornings and evenings around my local area, snapping the odd photo of the dawn or evening light.

This weekend has kicked off with quite a busy Saturday, as I heeded up to the Chamberí Market with Jhosef, Sara, and my colleague Blanca. There, we met with another colleague, Jesús, who owns a burger restaurant on the market. Both me and Sara had heard talk about the place, El Toril Gourmet, and we certainly weren’t disappointed – we had some of the best tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks) and burgers (ranging from pulled pork to ribs) in Madrid!

After this, Sara, Jhosef, and I wandered back through the streets of Madrid, stopping off at a terrace in Cheuca for another drink. I then dragged the two of them into a shop to buy myself a dressing gown, before the three of us headed off for a quiet Saturday evening at home.

Now at home and lovely and cosy in my big fluffy bata (dressing gown), it’s time to bring this blog post to an end. I hope to have some new news over these coming weeks, as we’ve got two much needed three-day weekends in November!