02.12.17 — Journal

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

As I mentioned in my last post, I have somehow been caught up in a whirlwind of all kinds of activities over the past week or two, and so it’s only today under cloudy skies which I have found the time to update my blog with just a few other bits and bobs that have been going on between work and my trip up north.

First up we had a surprise visit to the studio by Thuy, who used to work with us and was a great help when I first interned at Erretres almost two years ago. After a good catch up in the studio, three of us headed for a cheeky gin and tonic at a local bar, where we had a good old chinwag and put the world to rights – not forgetting the obligatory reunion selfie, of course!

Thuy, me and Luis

This was a lovely surprise during my weekly 9 to 6 routine, which I have been spicing up a little now that I’m still buzzing with the excitement of having a new phone with a decent camera. Every day I make it a little personal challenge to find something new and pretty to take a photo of as I gallivant around the big city, and so I have recently begun posting daily Instagram stories to document what I encounter along the way.

A gorgeous sunset
The gates of hell

If you want to have a nosey at what I’m up to at any given moment, feel free to follow me on Instagram, my username is pretty simple: ohsb. With Snapchat’s shocking UI design and therefore UX, and a pretty terrible photo quality, I have abandoned it in favour of trusty old Instagram.

Most of what you’ll see is probably plenty of gilipolleces from work life (this being a crude way of saying ‘nonsense’), but every now and then a decent photo arises, like this one that my colleague Blanca snapped of me whilst I was idly working away on a project – a candid look at my life in the office.

I wonder what I was looking at

Outside of work life I am still managing to cram in plenty of other stuff, including a reunion in the centre with my old flatmate and friends to see the switch-on of the Christmas lights. Said event didn’t really go to plan, as we convened in the central square at 6:30pm to see the lights come on at 7pm – but when I ascended from the Metro I noticed that they were already on!

Madrid gets festive
Reunited in the centre

Not to be phased by missing the actual turning on of the lights, we decided to make the most of the evening anyway and set about a little tour of the city centre to see what could be seen. We met up with more friends, had Portuguese pasteis de nata (not dissimilar from the ones me and Ellie had in Lisbon), tried out some artisan violet flavoured chocolates, had a wander through the festive markets, eventually sitting down for a pint of Guinness below a glittering ceiling of twinkling lights.

Cool shadows and light pools
Wandering the markets
The crazy extra lights leading to the Puerta de Alcalá

Another evening we all got together to make a Jacob’s Joint of native foods from our respective countries (England, Austria, and the US). I made Coronation Chicken sandwiches, Loredana made a delicious salmon, cheese and spinach strudel, and Megan provided dessert in the form of a glorious apple crumble, complete with cream and ice cream. It was a lovely evening of wine, chatting and culinary bliss!

The savouries are served

Pretty soon after Megan and her flatmates, all from the US, celebrated Thanksgiving, and so we were all invited to experience our first Thanksgiving dinner and have a few drinks at her flat. I had a lovely time, with an excellent spread of food (I contributed some Cadburys and other British snacks), and then one of the biggest Ring of Fire games I have ever seen!

Exploring the east

The Americans really knew how to throw a proper Thanksgiving feast!

A Thanksgiving feast

To round things off, I think I’ll leave you all with a decent photo gallery of some of the photos I have been snapping with my new phone. Don’t be fooled, it might look sunny but we’re actually all freezing to death here in the middle of the wasteland that is central Spain. Even when we were sat eating the delicious calamari rings and gouging on bread and jamón and chips with eggs on top, we were shivering a little at midday on the outdoor terrace.

Walking home of an evening
Looking up near work
A shock of orange
Delicious staff lunch
A view from the Metro stop
The daily commute past the palace
Walking to a temple
A very cold Templo de Debod

I hope you enjoyed the few little photos tagged on here at the end, and I shall be back next weekend with more updates of all the silly nonsense we’ve been getting up to. We’re planning a trip up to Bilbao and San Sebastián in the Basque Country in the north of Spain for later this week, so I shall be bringing some photos from there too no doubt!

Until then I have to go and eat some chocolate turrón, a traditional Spanish Christmastime treat, and open the second door of my IKEA advent calendar. On that note, actually, here’s a parting song, even though I have been told that it’s bad look to start any festivities until the 8th of December over here. I for one am willing to risk it!