04.07.21 — Journal

Between Times

With the rush to get out my posts on both my trip up to the north of Spain with Jhosef and my visit to Murcia to visit my auntie and uncle, I wound up leaving out a few bits and bats that I got up to between times whilst in Madrid. No fear, however, for I’m here today to put right this oversight and also share some more recent updates.

We kick things off in Madrid’s best neighbourhood, Delicias (where I live, naturally). Me and Luis had decided to brave the threatening weather forecast for a trip up to Lavapiés, another of the city’s barrios, and enjoy some pizza before heading to an exhibition and bookshop that Luis had heard about.

The walk up to the pizzeria was quite the experience, with a torrential downpour threatening to soak us to the skin should my umbrella give way. At one point, we’d to take a respite stop along with a throng of others in the entrance to a supermarket whilst the worst of the storm passed over. From there, we skirted around huge puddles in our already damp trousers and managed to make it to NAP Pizza without – thankfully – any further meteorological incidents.

After some delicious pizza, we strolled down to the bookshop in question, where I picked up a couple of gifts and we ventured into their basement exhibition space, where there was a fun series of paintings on display. We didn’t stay too long, but I did enjoy the neon colours and smiley faces.

From there we then headed across the road to the Tabacalera, another exhibition space run by the city council. Here – I’m not going to lie – I didn’t really understand the art on offer, but I was fascinated by the space itself. I took lots of photos of lots of things, but I’ll leave you with a little teaser of what I saw – piece of art included because I found a lightbulb hidden away in it.

I also engaged in a spot of redecoration before grabbing my train down to Murcia, which involved rearranging my flat in order to better reflect my new routine which involves much more time spent in the office than working from home. I pulled my lovely marble dining table out of storage and reinstated it in the living room, and bought myself a lovely, slightly less overbearing new desk which I have installed in my rearranged bedroom.

My return to Madrid after Murcia did not, however, mark the end of my traveling during the month of June. I had one last place to visit, and that was Cuenca. This was actually a super quick one-day work trip to visit a client in the lovely old city famous for its casas colgadas, houses which hang perilously over the edge of a series of cliffs.

The trip was made extra special by the opportunity to, albeit briefly, enter some of the most famous examples of these “hanging houses”, from which absolutely spectacular views over the surrounding hillsides could be seen.

Once back in Madrid, another weekend signaled another round of drinks to be had with Sara in the centre. Heading back up to El barrio de las letras, Madrid’s literary quarter, the two of us stopped for some delicious cocktails in a pretty little square along one of the side streets.

With a clear head the day after, I spent the Sunday rewiring and reprogramming the lighting in my flat – something which is no small feat – before starting another week at work. With our move to jornada intensiva (literally “intensive working hours”) for summer, I now leave work at 3pm every day, and so one evening I arranged to meet up with Bogar, Hugo, Sergei, and Jhosef to enjoy some tasty dishes at a local Italian restaurant.

An evening of great company and lovely food served by the hilarious owner.

The following weekend was spent, as ever, out and about in the city. On Saturday I met up with Soyoung – who I hadn’t seen since we last had brunch together just before lockdown last year – and we headed to a spot to once again enjoy a breakfast-cum-lunch on a terrace in the north of the city. It was lovely to see her again and finally get around to catching up on all the events of the last fourteen months or so – how time flies!

The Puerta de Alcalá looks resplendent as I cycled past on my way home.

On the Sunday I met up with Jhosef for a wander around the neighbourhood, and before long his sister, Ximena, had joined us. The three of us then decided to have a drink in the Matadero, a cultural centre a stone’s throw from our houses, and this then turned into ordering some food for lunch too. We had great weather, great company, and a great terrace to sit at – the perfect combination for the best impromptu plans to develop on the fly!

With this chaotic series of updates I bring you all more or less up to date on all the shenanigans from the past few weeks in between my trips north and then south. I say more or less because, as the summer months of July and August arrive, I’ve a little more time to explore and head out more, and so you can be sure that there’ll be plenty of nonsense to come…