07.05.16 — Journal

Briggs & Son in Madrid

Somehow I have miraculously managed to wind up with another bout of fever in the past week, and so my blog has once again been left feeling a little stale for a few more days than I’d have hoped – but fear not for I am here, and for a few fleeting days, so was my dad, and for his first time in Madrid I had been sure to line up a non-stop schedule of round-the-clock activities for the four days he was here.

Viva España

Having spent the day before my dad arrived rather sick, I approached the airport with caution, taking the most direct journey and ebbing along the path to the terminal on foot, and as slowly as possible. Eventually, though, I gave up and caught a free bus to the terminal, where I waited at arrivals and was soon reunited with someone from England for the first time in nearly 3 months!

Once we’d gotten into the city, we headed to buy some aperitivos (small portions of food to share around) and then straight to the Erretres Studio to meet the amazing bunch of people I work with and enjoy some jamón with the team. Once full of bread and cheese we marched down to the local café where we have lunch, and we enjoyed a very traditional three-course Spanish lunch.

Once done we were once again on the move, headed up Gran Vía and towards Sol, where my dad was staying. Once he’d checked into his hostel and we’d had another wander around the centre, we rocked up at Plaza Mayor, where we found a bunch of retirees had assembled to do some waltzing in the square…

Dancing in Plaza Mayor

After a little more wandering we rocked up at the Royal Palace, where my dad finally got the chance to take a glimpse at the royal quarter of the city.

A view towards the centre
Us two at the palace

That evening we headed back toward Plaza Mayor for some tapas at a local bar that I frequently haunt, and then on to a little bar in the nearby La Latina district for some drinks and live music. I had to head home relatively early for work the next day, but I had prepared a pair of tours for my dad to head out on whilst I was working, after which I met him at Parque del Retiro and we continued our exploration…

By the lake in Retiro

After exploring the beauty of the park and the architecture of the nearby Crystal Palace and Atocha Train Station, we headed back into the city to explore the shopping district, eat some nachos, then head on to my favourite taquería for a bunch of tacos and Mexican beer.

The next day the weather here really didn’t cooperate with our plans, and so we hopped on the Metro to see the Puerta de Europa, the famous pair of buildings which lean toward each other over the Paseo de la Castillana. Whilst there, however, the rain began it’s attack, and so we scarpered back to the Metro to head back to the colossal royal cathedral, Catedral de la Almudena.

La Puerta de Europa
El Paseo de la Castillana
Dad snapping a photo

Once we resurfaced at Ópera station, the true extent of the downpour hit us – quite literally – to the extent to which we had to hide under one of the window ledges of the royal palace to grab a few minutes of respite from the torrential rain. Once we’d gathered some courage and I’d flicked my wet hair out of my eyes, we powered on through the pools of water to the cathedral entrance. Having not visited since my first trip to Madrid, it was lovely to be back in the amazing space, and my dad was awestruck.

The most excellent roof
The Virgin Mary
Toward the spire

Once we’d finished our snooping we headed back once again to the central area of the city, where I introduced my dad to a luxury spot for afternoon tea which I myself had only recently been informed about, the hidden and aptly-named “Jardin Secreto” or Secret Garden which is tucked away on the roof terrace above a shop in the city.

Time out in El Jardin Secreto

You’ll have to take a second look at the image above when I reveal that the potted plant in the centre is in fact actually my dessert! The ice cream and Oreo crumble delight was served in a plant pot in such a realistic fashion that even I having ordered it still had to do a double take when the waiter popped it down on the table!

As the day wore on I wasn’t feeling too great, and so we meandered slowly through the city, picking up a light tea on our way home – however we didn’t pass up on the opportunity to stroll by the beautiful Prado Museum in the evening…

Prado by night

The next day began with something even I have never actually gotten round to doing before, even after having visited Madrid twice briefly and then having lived here for months – and that’s taking a lift to the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes and admiring the views of the city from its roof.

A view over Madrid
Just chilling
Obligatory sky-high selfie

After this we headed to the north of the city and to the funky district of Chueca, where we wound up on yet another rooftop terrace, this time of a market, and didn’t pass up on the chance to have a beer under the clear skies.

Cerveza y cielo

After this it was time to descend into the Metro system once more for a visit to the Temple of Debod (one of my favourite chill-out spots in the city) for a lurk around and to capture some views of the Royal Palace and Cathedral. Tired from another day of marching around the city, we decided to spend some time here, where my dad fell asleep on the grass and I spent the whole time flinching as the ball from a nearby volleyball game kept flying perilously close…

Views towards Royal Madrid
Spring in the park

To finish off our last full day together in the city, I thought it’d be a nice relaxing journey to the Matadero, a huge arts and cultural venue built in a renovated slaughterhouse. Feeling sickly once again, I spent the most part of the day sat down on plastic chairs and lying on the grass looking up at trees. See below…

What a great tree

The day after I had to return back to work, but my dad managed to navigate the city with ease in my absence, and I’m sure he has taken many more photos which I still haven’t had chance to nag him for copies of just yet – Madrid life is busy as ever – I have just moved flats and am about 3 blog posts behind! For updates on that, as well as a visit from my friend Georgia, do stay tuned…