08.04.21 — Journal

Eating Through Easter

It’s a Wednesday evening and sadly the last day of a week off that I’ve just enjoyed, as I took three days of holiday off to complement the two days of Easter holidays awarded to us by the Community of Madrid. As I mentioned in my last post, I had planned to get out and about, but in the end I kept things pretty quiet – but more on that in just a moment!

Before these Easter holidays began, I had a weekend to enjoy before a short three-day working week, and this was spent eating and drinking with friends in various places around Madrid. Things kicked off on Saturday, when me and Sara headed out for an evening of drinks and dinner in Madrid’s Writer’s Quarter, El barrio de las letras. After bar hopping and enjoying a bowl full of sunflower seeds and peanuts from one particularly friendly bar owner, the two of us switched out the beer for a glass of wine and a bite to eat atop a little table along the street.

The next day, and after nursing a bit of heavy head after the mixing of beer and wine, I headed up to Retiro – the Central Park of Madrid – and met up with Hugo and Bogar for a bite of some tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks) and our first glass of tinto de verano (literally “summer red wine”, which is red wine mixed with lemon Fanta) of the year.

After Hugo had to head off for work, Bogar and I decided to make the most of the evening sun, and grabbed a bike each to cycle around the park and watch the sunset. We stopped for a moment by the lake as the light began to fade, before heading back home, where I indulged in a spot of knitting – something I haven’t done for quite a while!

On Thursday, and after just three days of work, it was time to head out for the first plan of the holidays. Me and Bogar had decided to try out one of the many places I have marked on the map that people have recommended that I visit, and after some drinks with Hugo and Sergei, we headed up to a little Italian restaurant called Menomale in the north of the city.

We had a lovely meal at the restaurant, sharing a delicious salad for our starter which was followed by a couple of tasty pasta dishes. Returning home via bike (as is now custom), we were then joined in my flat by Jhosef, and an evening of drinks and chit-chat ensued. We wound up so engrossed in our evening that we totally forgot about the curfew, and so I became a hostess once again as the two of them stayed over until the next morning!

The day after, me and Jhosef were to see each other once more, as we’d arranged to have lunch with Sara and her boyfriend Eric in an Asturian restaurant they had recommended that we visit for a while. As the two of them are from the region, I was very excited to eat at the place they talked of so much – Sidrería La Cuenca – and boy was I not disappointed! We tucked into some absolutely fabulous dishes, which came in rather generous portions, washing the whole thing down with natural Asturian cider, shots of crema de orujo (a cream liqueur), and then some gin and tonic.

Needless to say, we left the place very full and quite tipsy, and so headed back to Sara and Eric’s for a nap before some relaxed evening beers. This combination of alcohol and plentiful food – from fried squid to the infamous cachopo – left me nostalgic about my first time visiting Asturias, and left us very sleepy as evidenced in the photo below!

The cider and overly-generous portions left us quite knackered on the metro…

During the weekend, Jhosef came over for a day working at home, where I took the opportunity to work on my new website design and build some new electronic contraptions at home. The two of us then met up with Bogar once again on Sunday; first to relax at the park, and then to head out for a spot of shopping that I wanted to do. Once I’d restocked on Vimto and Lush face masks, we decided to have some tea (dinner, to most) out around the neighbourhood. This took us to Goiko, en excellent burger joint, where the food was excellent as ever.

Tequeños and burgers combined made for an excellent Sunday-evening tea.

I left for home quite excited on that Sunday evening, as I had quite the Monday lined up, with a trip to the Parque de Atracciones, Madrid’s central theme park, booked and my e-ticket downloaded and ready to go! You can imagine my dismay, then, when I awoke to a text message from the Madrid government at 9am on Monday morning to inform me that my neighbourhood was now in lockdown, with all but essential access in and out of the small area now prohibited.

As you can imagine, I’d then to contact the theme park and cancel my visit, as well as mentally cancelling all the other plans that I’d made for my three holiday days. Not to be beaten by this last-minute bombshell, I spent a day working on my website and cleaning my flat, before heading out to check out the borders of the new exclusion zone in which I suddenly found myself.

I was greatly relieved to discover that the bars within my neighbourhood are to remain open, and so I’ve spent the last couple of days frequenting the terraces which I can still legally visit, calling friends on the phone to conduct “virtual drinks” with them given that most of them live outside of the border line. Although a bit of an odd one, this new hyper-local lockdown is still much easier than the initial one we suffered back around this time last year!

This brings us to this evening, as I’m sat watching a film, sipping on a gin and tonic, and preparing to head back to work and back to reality tomorrow. I shan’t complain, though, as I’ve a mere two days to work before another weekend rolls around. And I shall have to gargantee to myself that, despite being am stuck in this odd little lockdown, I’ll be sure to make the most of it just as best as I can!