06.02.20 — Travel

Grey Skies Over Murcia

After saying that I was hoping to update you all and catch up on my delayed blog posts, I have managed to not do that. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, however, so I have been spending my spare time as horizontal as possible whilst nursing a viral infection and then the pain of a rather stubborn filling in a back tooth.

Well, once I’d been shocked to find out that my colleague’s English teacher is also from Burnley, I was once again on the rather slow train down to my auntie and uncle’s place in Murcia. This always takes me back to the first time I visited Madrid, when I made this trip in reverse after spending a few days with my family, all leading up to my first time flying solo once I returned to the UK!

I landed in Murcia rather late, but not too late to have a couple of drinks and catch up with the two of them, after I last saw them in person when they passed by Madrid on their way back to England in October. The next day, we all hopped into the car and drove to the coastal city of Cartagena, driving under some rather threatening-looking skies.

My uncle walks up a strangely inclined path.
The sky over Cartagena is grey.

The main reason for said trip was to finally try a café asiático (literally “Asian coffee”), and my auntie and uncle knew just the place to take me. Down a little side street we found a little bar owned by Ramón, who explained to me the origins of the name of the coffee, which comes from its origin as a pick-me-up for sick travellers hailing from Asia.

Once I’d downed this very boozy coffee, we ordered a bite to eat and then I got chatting to the whole bar, from the owner to his wife to the regulars, and picked up a few tips on where to get the best egg-based dishes in Madrid. With this new information in tow, the three of us left the bar and back onto the rain-drenched streets, heading back to the dry warmth of the car.

The next day, I was finally taken to the Centro Cultural (Cultural Centre) in Sucina, the town closest to the Golf Resort on which my auntie and uncle live. They had been talking about visiting for a while, as they enjoy the home-cooked food that is prepared there by the lovely Mari Carmen.

Well, I was not disappointed! Mari Carmen was an excellent host, filling us up with chicken soup, garlic prawns, fried chicken, and even some lovely clams cooked in a herby sauce. We finished this off with some whiskey cake, before taking a seat outside and watching the sun go down with a beer.

We weren’t in much of a rush to leave the centre, you see, as it was time for one of the monthly activities that they run there: bingo! After getting chatting to the lovely ladies who were selling the cards, we all took our seats and got stuck into the various rounds of play, with a welcome break for some sweet wine and pastries in between.

Me, my auntie, and her friends at a game of bingo.

Neither me nor my auntie won anything, but we had plenty of fun!

My half-filled bingo cards.

After a day spent with a trip to IKEA to pick up some electronic doodahs that I couldn’t find in Madrid, my last day came around all too soon. In line with the tradition I started during one particular visit with my parents, we headed to another small town, Roldán, and to a lovely restaurant for a farewell lunch.

My uncle and auntie at lunch.

After a good laugh with the other couples who joined us (me being the youngest and most single, something to which I am well accustomed by this point), it was time for me to head back to the little town of Balsicas, a town blessed with a direct train link to the centre of Madrid.

During the train journey I finished the first season of “Years and Years”, a series which is beautiful, tragic, and terrifying in equal measure – you should all watch it if you can get access to it!

Arriving back in the capital with more spare time than usual due to my decision to catch the earlier train, I had arranged to head out with Bogar and Hugo for some ramen at the restaurant that Hugo works at. We thoroughly enjoyed slurping down the huge bowls of noodles and toppings, finishing our big meal with a few shots of saké, which was served warm – rather odd!

Three bowls of ramen.
Bogar, me, and Hugo at the ramen restaurant.

Finishing my day with a delicious lunch with good friends was the perfect end to my mini holiday, and left me well rested and ready for the beginning of a couple of busy weeks in the office – but more on that to come soon!