28.10.22 — Journal

Ellie Nips Over

After my parents visited just a couple of weeks before, it was once again time for me to welcome family into my humble abode here in Madrid, and this time it was the turn of my sister, Ellie! Like my mum and dad, she’s been in Madrid a good few times before, the last time about a year ago to the day, but it’s always great to have her over and do some chill stuff together around the city.

She arrived in the afternoon and made her way to my office, where I’d to finish off a busy day at work. We then left together and headed back to my flat, where we’d a chill evening planned at home. Pedro came over, we opened a bottle of wine, and the three of us wound up so deep in conversation that we almost forgot to put the homemade cannelloni in the oven that I’d prepared with Ellie!

We had a hilarious evening in and my spinach and ricotta cannelloni weren’t half bad, even if I say so myself. It was a miracle that they were even made, as the night before I was trapping around Madrid visiting six different supermarkets after Mercadona didn’t have any ricotta in stock. Nightmare so it was!

The next morning began with a walk around the river after a decent lie in. We then headed back home for lunch, where we made a Caprese salad, homemade hummus, and some other goodies for lunch. We then chilled around the house some more to regain some energy for our evening plans which were to take us out of the city centre.

The autumn colours are now out in force and things are looking lovely.

One of the things me and Ellie always do when she visits is head down to a park in the south of the city to watch the sun set, and so we packed a bag with some drinks and nibbles and headed down to catch the bus southwards. We were joined on the bus by Luis and his friend, who was visiting Madrid and also decided she’d like to catch the sunset from the infamous “Park of the Seven Tits” (that’s what its name translates as, honestly!)

We had a hoot down at the park, with Luis teaching Ellie the Spanish custom of how to properly eat sunflower seeds after she ate one whole, shell and all! Sharing some drinks, we then watched the sun set over the Madrid skyline before abandoning the park and heading into the centre as the temperature dropped.

For a drink and a bite to eat we headed to a couple of my favourite haunts around Antón Martín. The first is a 70s style bar with a great atmosphere and some equally fabulous cocktails. From there, we tipsily headed to a Basque pintxos bar for some delicious small dishes. It was there that we ended our night and grabbed the bus back home.

Me and Ellie headed up into the centre of Madrid the morning after, where we indulged in a spot of shopping before heading up to the rooftop bar of El Corte Inglés. It was pretty busy and the place we liked to grab a snack was closed, so we headed back down and carried on exploring the shops we wanted to check out until we got tired and headed down to the lake.

We then shared a big jug of sangría down at the lake whilst the afternoon drew on into the evening. We’d time to kill before our main plan for the evening, which was to see the sun set from a great vantage point next to the Royal Palace. With little time to spare, we’d then to head to the metro and get ourselves back up to Ópera in order to catch the last rays of sun.

Ellie was very chuffed at getting her hands on some unique flavours of chocolate.

The sunset from this spot was then as gorgeous as usual. We watched the sky change from blue to bright orange and then its typical shades of pink and purple as the evening drew on, all framed by the royal place and cathedral. Not a bad way to end another busy day exploring my home city!

I love this photos and all of the colours created by the evening light.

The next morning we’d planned to make some homemade pancakes, and so spent a lazy morning frying them, filling them with fruit, and then dousing them with a generous helping of proper Vermont maple syrup that Megan’s mum Maureen had gifted me when I went to visit!

After our hearty breakfast, Ellie and I prepared our picnic lunch and then headed off on the bus to Retiro, Madrid’s main park. We scouted out a space in our favourite area of the park overlooking the lake, and then settled down to spend a slow afternoon munching, drinking, reading, and chatting.

Once we were full of food and had been worn down by the sun, we collected our things and wandered out of the park, eventually heading the entire way home on foot in order to pass by some of the city’s other sights. We then rested in the flat for a while before heading out for our evening meal, for which we were accompanied by Luis once again!

Our meal at our favourite local Italian spot was then as hilarious as it was tasty, with a couple of (shared, mind you) bottles of wine leading us to attempt to recreate some videos that Luis had seen on Instagram. These involved Luis covering himself with a cloth, from which behind I would then appear in his place in a feeble attempt at a magic trick. Things went south quite literally when we attempted it, with Luis winding up on the floor and me nearly joining him as I burst into laughter!

The next day we decided to take things easy once again (there’s a theme going on here) and prepared some fruit smoothies at home for breakfast. Our original plan had been to hire some bikes, but we weren’t feeling so committal and so opted for a leisurely walk down the river instead.

The whole trip was a rather relaxed experience.

We wound up having a quick drink before heading back home, where we had a nap ready for our evening’s plans of a night out with Sara. This then began at a local bar for some food and then a couple of rounds of gin and tonics. From there, we grabbed a taxi up to my favourite karaoke joint, where we spend the rest of the night singing and jiving to a lot of songs that poor Ellie couldn’t understand. She gave it her all though, and even wound up being roped into singing a Spanish song by a group of lads nearby. It was great fun!

The two of us were a little worse for wear the next day, and so spent most of the day relaxing around my flat before eventually gathering the strength to head out for an evening wander. We passed by a shop in the city centre so that Ellie could grab something she’d seen a few days before, and then wandered past the royal palace and the west of the city once more to take in the views as the sun set.

This view from the royal palace is almost ethereal, with the mountains in the background.

Ellie then left early the next morning and I headed back to work after a good few days of lots of relaxed fun. It was great to have her over and to catch up with all the gossip and news. She’s now as busy as me and is always travelling and doing all sorts of stuff, so we’re often a bit out of date until we actually sit down and have a proper chat!

There was no rest for me, however, and I was soon preparing my house for my next visitor just two days after Ellie headed back to the UK – but more on that in my next post!