01.11.17 — Journal

It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

After celebrating October with the cool installations of Luna de Octubre a week or so ago, it’s now time to bid goodbye to my first month of working in Madrid and that of course means spending Halloween here. To celebrate we all gathered at my friend Megan’s flat to watch the classic Halloween film “Hocus Pocus”, and I didn’t dress up because the night of Luna de Octubre I managed to get bitten on the face three times by a mosquito, so I decided that I looked scary enough with the big red spots adorning my cheeks.

Megan cooked up some fresh pumpkin bread, staying true to the season, and it was absolutely delicious – I had never had it before! In the end we were all pretty tired so once the film was done we decided not to go out, but I have spent the past week or doing plenty of other things.

After work one day I went to go and see Randy, and we explored the new shopping centre called Madrid Río 2 which is near his house. It was lovely to see him again and the views from the food terrace turned out to be pretty nice, overlooking the lovely architecture of the Matadero.

Looking over the Matadero

The next day I had a journey to the south of the city to make, as I’d made an appointment to go and see Apple regarding my iPad which just decided to stop working completely and died a most spectacular death – I couldn’t even get my laptop to recognise it, much less get the actual thing to show any signs of life. Not expecting much except to be offered a discount off a new one, it turned out that when I bought it I bought insurance with Apple too, which according to them I still have a month left of. I must be the luckiest man alive – they’ve since replaced it with a brand new one at no cost. Get in!

Anyway, whilst down at the shopping centre and with a new iPad in hand, I went to relax a little by the food court which surrounds a pretty little lake. I spent a while taking in the atmosphere and doodling on the iPad, and for an hour or so I felt like I was on holiday as I basked in the sun by the water.

Relaxing by the little lake

Speaking of lakes, this weekend just gone I decided to kick back and relax a little, heading to the huge park of Casa de Campo to relax by the huge lake there. It was sunny but cool when I left my flat, but it soon heated up and I had to retreat to the shade where I spent a good few hours just reading a book I brought along. It’s been a while since I took a good moment to get stuck into some reading for pleasure, and I’ll definitely be picking up books a bit more often now I’m not obliged to read them for any kind of studies. Who’d have ever thought that working life would have felt like freedom compared to studying? Wild!

Wandering through Casa de Campo

After a while I got peckish, and so I grabbed the metro further into the city and decided to head to one of my favourite little haunts in an area called Malasaña, where I ordered the slap-up brunch menu and enjoyed a tonne of dishes including croissants, a selection of bread, a medley of dipping sauces, a mini tortilla with béchamel sauce, a coffee and plenty of fresh fruit juice. It was delicious!

Being watched in Malasaña
Wandering through the café

On the Saturday I also thought I’d do my best to explore the area where I lived a bit more, prompted mainly by a huge craving for a dish called huevos rotos (which is like fried potatoes with runny fried eggs and pieces of Spanish ham on top) and a lack of motivation to actually cook anything for myself. I quickly searched for local places online and it recommended a small bar just a couple of streets away, so I headed down to eat a little bit of something and have a quick small beer (a caña).

Well five hours later and I was still there, as at the bar I got talking to a local called Eva and was then invited to join her brother and his girlfriend for more drinks, and in the end we wound up sat outside on the terrace telling stories and sharing experiences until the early hours! I had such a lovely time and it was a real laugh to meet everyone. We stayed out so late that the bar technically closed, but we were allowed to stay inside as the owner put out some incense and candles and we continued chattering until I stumbled back home at about 3am.

A time-lapse I made from my window

As far as work goes, everything is a good laugh as usual, with projects moving forward and plenty of exciting designs to be done. I had to nip out to the bank (again) as I’d forgotten my password and accidentally blocked my shiny new debit card (oops), but I am happy to share that I now finally hold a Spanish bank account and I have received my first paycheque – I feel like a real adult now.

Having to go to the bank again was annoying, but at least the view was nice.

The walk to the bank is pretty nice

In the office I also received a lovely little surprise this week as a mystery envelope appeared on my desk, but I recognised the handwriting straight away as my mum’s. Inside she’d put a little note and a little zip-lock bag of 10 decaf teabags alongside a 10€ note – all of which is sure to come in very handy, especially with Amber coming to visit tomorrow night! I am very, very excited to spent almost a week relaxing and showing her the city once more!

At home today I just met my new flatmate, Giorgia, who’s from Italy but has spent years working in Chile and so speaks perfect Spanish. We initially went out to explore the local neighbourhood with our landlord Abdel, but after that I had to nip into the city to run a few errands and so me and Giorgia spent a good few hours wandering around the centre, as it’s her first time in here in Madrid. As she’s here for at least one month, I said we’ll be sure to go exploring plenty more!

I had a traditional squid sandwich
Me and Giorgia in Plaza Mayor

The above photo was taken by Giorgia, who also runs a blog (check it out here if you know any Italian!) and works in communication, so I’m sure we’ll be having plenty of chats over a bottle of wine or heading out into the city to try the sangría in every bar we can find our way into…

Anyway, I’ll be back next week at some point to update you all on the mischief that me and Amber get up to over the next few days. Hopefully the sun will hold out and defy the cloudy forecast, but whatever happens we’ll be sure to make the absolute most of her time in Madrid!

Until then, and in reference to the title of this blog post, why not watch this clip of the iconic Bette Midler’s main musical number from the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus… You will not be disappointed…