24.01.20 — Journal

Furniture & Festive Cakes

One back in Spain after my lovely Christmas break back in the UK, it was pretty much straight back to work after a quiet New Year’s Eve, which I spent at home eating grapes as per Spanish tradition! The 6th of January signalled the Spanish celebration of the Reyes Magos (which we know as the Three Kings or Wise Men), which meant that we’d all to tuck into some Roscón de Reyes, a traditional pastry consisting of sweet bread topped with candied fruits, nuts, and sugar.

This pastry is even more delicious when dunked in thick hot chocolate.

A roscón de reyes.

After a rather grey and rainy first week back in the office, the weekend finally brought a little spot of winter sun. This was just in time for some weekend plans that me and Bogar had made, involving watching some previews of musicals in the city centre, and yet another trip down to IKEA in order to pick up a few bits and pieces – I wanted some more electrical components in order to fully automate all the lights I had brought back with me from England!

A stage with drag queens in Sol.

We watched one of the performances, and then headed to a café for a spot of breakfast, before returning to watch the one that we’d been dying to see: La jaula de las locas (The cage of the crazy women, to translate literally). This involved a show run by drag queens, and spearheaded by a particularly witty queen, who even had the audience involved with the confetti canons as their 20-minute set came to an end!

A stage with drag queens in Sol, with glitter animated.

Once the show was over, we headed down to our favourite Swedish shop and made the rounds, stopping, as usual, for some meatballs. I grabbed myself a bookshelf to organise my wardrobe, some other electronic tidbits, and yet another plant.

Bogar wears a Christmas light decoration over his head.

We also checked out some of the discounted Christmas goodies…

We then headed back up to our neighbourhood in a car, and helped each other assemble the various bits of furniture in each other’s respective houses. With so much manual labour undertaken in one day, we felt that we deserved a cheeky evening meal out, and so went to check out Gracias Padre, a Mexican restaurant whose praises Bogar had been singing.

Bogar in Gracias Padre, a Mexican restaurant.

There we ate the best bowl of nachos I have ever had in my life – and bear in mind that I’m not the biggest fan of nachos – and a huge gringa (like a quesadilla, meat and other ingredients sandwiched in cheese between two tortillas). This was all washed down with beer and lemon juice (yes, that’s pure lemon juice), before an early night which I was desperately in need of.

The following week saw me head off to my new dentist for the first time ever, and after a diagnosis meaning I’ll have to come back at the end of this month, I managed to get lost whilst looking for Chamartín train station to head back to work. I eventually found a back entrance that I’d never seen before, but which gave some pretty cool views over the station building and the four (soon to be five) towers in the background.

The four towers of Madrid.
A series of cranes below the blue sky over a frosty grassy knoll.

Another weekend soon came around, and I once again had plans with Bogar to have some breakfast in the centre. This was after I finally remembered to pick up a vinyl record that I had ordered – even though I don’t have a record player here in Spain. Oops.

We had a lovely bagel brunch in HanSo Café, a popular spot in the hipster district of Malasaña, and I then took Bogar to try the best palmeras (heart-shaped pastries) in the city. These can be found at a lovely little bakery called La Duquesita, where I took a cheeky selfie in the old mirrors that line most of the walls.

A selfie in the old mirrors of La Duquesita, a bakery in Madrid.

Nothing beats a sweet craving quite like a generously frosted palmera.

That evening was quite a busy one for me, as I’d finally arranged to meet up with Roberto again after our summer adventures in rural Valencia! Luckily, he has a vinyl player, and so I pottered over to his house with my Rodrigo Cuevas record in hand.

There I met his flatmate and had a snoop around his lovely new pad, and we popped open some beers and listened to the record for a while. Once we were ready for some food, we headed to Buns & Bones, one of my favourite places to grab a light tea (dinner).

After we’d eaten, I picked my vinyl up from Roberto’s place and then headed home, but I was soon back on the Metro and heading into the city centre, as Bogar’s friend Gil was leaving the country and so there was a farewell do to attend! We had a good drink and a boogie in a bar in Chueca, but once they decided to head out to a club, I decided I was too tired and so escaped back to the comfort of my bed.

The day after, I decided to whip up a couple (yes, two) of carrot cakes, sharing one between friends and the other between colleagues. I don’t wish to boast, but my carrot cakes always go down quite the treat!

A slice of my home made carrot cake.
A close-up of my carrot cake.

Just a couple of days later, I found myself once again on a train down to Murcia, but that shall now have to wait until another blog post. It’s been a hectic few weeks, so I am running somewhat behind with these updates, but I hope to catch up a little this weekend and next!