21.06.19 — Journal

Cake Club Visit

Just two days after returning to Madrid from Tenerife, I had an exciting Thursday evening to look forward to!

Some of you may remember that I spent a lot of last year hanging out with my friends Heidi, Loredana, and Megan, with the four of us forming a group we like to call Cake Club. The original plan of meeting up to make cakes and share recipes was soon scrapped, with the four of us spending more time eating tacos, scaling the mountains surrounding Madrid, and generally chatting many an evening away with a drink in hand.

I was, then, very upset in the summer of last year when one by one they all eventually left Madrid back to their home countries – Heidi to Norway, Loredana to Austria, and Megan to the USA. We all made sure, however, to stay in regular contact, with our Cake Club WhatsApp group lighting up at least once a day. I even, if you remember, managed to make a trip over to Oslo last year to visit Heidi!

As you can imagine from the above paragraphs and the title of this post, the weekend of a few weeks ago was a rather special one, as the four of us were to be reunited at long last in Madrid!

The first to arrive was Megan, who had already been in Europe for some time, flying in from Rome after spending a few days there visiting Loredana. After many hugs in my flat, the two of us headed out for pizza, and then for an early night as I was working the next day.

The next afternoon I arrived at my flat to find that Heidi had also arrived during the day, having flown in from Oslo, and the three of us anxiously awaited the arrival of Loredana from Rome. She arrived just in time for the four of us to head out for tacos at our old haunt, a taco restaurant just below what used to be Heidi and Loredana’s flat!

The four of us sit waiting for our tacos to arrive.
Loredana and Heidi stand outside the door to their old flat.

Loredana and Heidi just had to have a photo stood outside their old flat…

The next day was Friday, and so I headed off early in the morning, leaving the girls to have a lie in and do what they would with their day. We did, however, have a plan set, and just before we all left work, they arrived at my office to check out the new space and make the most of our new garden!

Heidi, Loredana, and Megan in my work's garden, ready to play ping pong.

After chilling at the office for an extra hour and enjoying a few games of ping-pong, we headed back to the city centre and to Bodega de la Ardosa, one of my favorite spots for a proper slice of Spanish omelette. From there we decided to wander through Malasaña for a while, with the girls resolving that they’d return the next day to check out the shops along the way, shops from which I had to half tear them away – I was getting tired and wanted to go home!

Cured ham and garlic hangs from the wall in Bodega de la Ardosa.
Looking down a street in Malasaña.

Well, I soon had to recover from said tiredness, as that evening we popped open a bottle of gin and started up the music in my flat – it was time for us to all head out together! After many laughs, some questionable dancing, and a round of tipsy selfies, we hopped on the metro and wandered to one of my favorite haunts – a tacky little karaoke bar.

Heidi, Me, Loredana, and Megan, all ready to go out.

After further questionable dancing and even more dubious singing, we all made it home in one piece. The next morning I didn’t feel up to moving too much – shocker – so the girls headed out to watch Loredana’s football game and indulge in a spot of shopping around Malasaña. I did eventually move, however, and whipped up a carrot cake to celebrate my fake birthday.

The main part of said celebrations involved the evening meal with the four of us plus Bogar and Napo. We headed out to Goiko Grill – the same spot as last year, in fact – and then enjoyed a relaxing evening of drinks on a terrace in Chueca.

Napo holds a beer.
Loredana framed by a window late at night.

With the next day being a Sunday and the lack of things to do, we decided to make good on a plan we’d organized in advance, and headed to Retiro park for a repeat of the picnic we had just before they all began to leave last year. We sat on our picnic blankets for a good few hours until, in a sad repeat of last year’s picnic, it was time for one of us to leave – this time Heidi. We saw her off, waving and nearly sobbing, as she hopped in a taxi and made for the airport.

Me, Megan, Loredana, and Heidi sat ready for our picnic.
Our picnic spread of a bowl of pasta salad, a fruit salad, and slices of carrot cake.

The three of us who remained then headed back home to drop off the leftover picnic supplies, and then made our way down to a place we’d never visited as a group – the lake in Casa de Campo. There we dragged out the picnic blanket once again, this time opting to take a siesta by the water’s edge – all after a little photo shoot, of course.

Megan stands by the lake in Casa de Campo.

If there’s a photo shoot going down, you can rest assured that it’ll have been Meg’s idea.

As the sun began to set, the three of us then headed up to the Templo de Debod, grabbing a beer and watching the sun set from one of the most picturesque spots in the centre. Another early night then ensued, as I’d to head to work the next day and Loredana was up early to catch her flight back to Italy. I bade her another sad farewell that evening, and then there were just the two of us – Megan and me – when I returned from work on Monday evening. 

The light of the sunset is seen through trees near the Templo de Debod, Madrid.
The rays of the sunset light up a wall of odd bricks.

After another relaxing evening putting the world to rights, the two of us once again headed off to bed early, as the next morning it was Megan’s turn to head off in the early hours and catch her flight on to her next European destination – Paris! There’d be no rest for me, though, as that same day I’d arrive back from work only to find another set of visitors already in my flat – but I’ll have to save that for the next post!

All that remains to say is the obvious: that I can only hope that Heidi, Loredana, and Megan had as much fun visiting me as I had having them all back in the city! I am hoping to visit Loredana in her native Austria later this year, and I’ll be sure to hop across the pond next year and spend a couple of my summer weeks with Megan in Vermont and Kevin and James wherever they may be…