10.06.16 — Travel

Burnley Youth Theatre in Spain

Every now and then I like to add a soundtrack to my posts, and this one’s is Hello by Martin Solveig. Click here to play it in another window while you have a read through – you’ll see why as you read on.

In my flailing efforts to get my blog back up to date, I’m back with the news that just last weekend my good friends from Burnley Youth Theatre Jess and Amber (Bam) landed at the stupidly named Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas, which I tend to just call Madrid Airport.

Having talked about it way back when I was working with the Design Council and Burnley Youth Theatre, we used to dream about how cool it would be if I ever got the chance to work out in Madrid, and now here I was all stupidly excited and making a sign for the dramatic airport greeting…

Welcome Jess & Bam!

After lots of screaming and hugs at the airport, we headed down to the Metro and got on our way to check in at the hostel, and then I set them off exploring whilst I headed back for work, where we met up just before closing so that they could meet the lovely team and have a snoop around the studio space.

Looking over Madrid

After milling around in the studio, we headed out into the centre for the evening, grabbing some tapas and finding ourselves getting dragged into participation in a Spanish pub quiz! I somehow managed to translate our way through it, and although we didn’t win so much as a free shot, we had lots of fun and ate lots of lovely food.

The beautiful streets

Another day of exploring the city and eating delicious Mexican food ensued, and before we knew it Saturday had arrived and we were trawling the shops for contributions to a lunch that the owner of my flat, Cati, had graciously invited us to. We were very honoured to have been invited to join the family gathering, and so we grabbed a bottle of red wine and a generous helping of jamón iberico to share and hopped on the bus to the flat.

A Spanish feast!

Once there the Spanish feasting began, with delicious homemade tortilla española (courtesy of Cati and a bag of potatoes from Galicia), jamón, wine, homemade hummus, gazpacho, bread, cheeses, and salad. It was truly delicious, and we snapped this kind of awfully blurry but lovely selfie to remember the occasion by!

Us, Cati and family

Then we retreated to my room so I could change my shoes and shirt, all in preparation for something super exciting – a huge music festival! As Erretres had done the brand design for the first ever Utopía Festival here in Madrid, we were all offered free VIP tickets, so I grabbed some for us three to attend on the Saturday night, where we’d party with David Guetta, Alesso and Martin Solveig!

Obligatory hand-in-air photo

We headed on foot (which may have been a mistake in the relentless afternoon heat) to the university campus where the festival was taking place, and after jumping the queues with our tickets, wound up relaxing on some picnic benches and outdoor sofas in the VIP area.

Typical festival selfie

We arrived as Solveig was playing, and soon ended up in the little front-row area, dancing and singing along – especially when he played one of my all time electronic favourites, Hello, which you’ll be listening to if you followed my advice at the beginning of the post… or it may have finished if you’re a slow reader.

Looking back over the crowds
A lovely photo courtesy of Jess
A lovely photo courtesy of Jess

After another spot relaxing and working out the bar’s token system, we headed back to the main stage as night fell and David Guetta was due on. Suddenly there he was, and we were deafened by a great mix of classics and new material, including the official Euro 2016 anthem that he’s just released – it was the first time it’d ever been played here in Spain, and everyone loved it! Here’s a link to listen, but it’s just not the same as live in front of 20,000 people!

The stage by night

All too soon, though, it was getting late, and we all conceded that we really didn’t know much of what Alesso was playing, so I devoured a burger and we headed back home past a sea of light. We all decided not to rush up on Sunday morning, and after a nightmare trying to hail a cab (after a festival we should have preempted that one a little better) we were all home in bed.

Lighters (i.e. iPhones) out

On Sunday their return journey was approaching scarily fast, and so we spent the day chilling out at El Rastro, then heading back to Chueca to sit for a big chat and drinks on the roof of the Mercado de San Antón. It was a lovely chance to find out about what’s been going on back at the theatre, in Burnley and just in England in general – I do get quite disconnected living and working here!

Shameless vanity image
The troublesome threesome

As I said, all too soon Amber and Jess had to leave the city back for home, and so we spent the final evening having our 5000th tinto de verano (similar to sangría) and plate of patatas bravas (a Spanish potato dish) down by the river, before emotional goodbyes had to be said as I jumped in a taxi back to the flat.

I have since been told that Jess has spoken so highly of Madrid that her parents are coming out in a few weeks on a visit of their own! ¡Hala Madrid!