27.09.20 — Journal

Late Summer Nights

It’s been a while since I posted about my day-to-day life, with exactly a month now gone since I last brought updates from Madrid. Of course I’ve been meeting up with friends, cycling around in the dark, and cooking up a few bits and bobs at home (today’s bake has been a huge batch of cookies), but there’s not been much that’s worth sharing on my blog – especially seeing as I’ve been a bit off my game recently in terms of taking photos along the way!

No fear, though, as I’m here today to right this wrong. We kick things off at a lovely brunch prepared by my colleague Blanca, who whipped up a delicious meal as I swung by her new flat to check out the new place. After some beers and a good serving of food (including an excellent poached egg, I have nothing on her skills), we chatted the afternoon away and I wound up giving her daughter an impromptu calligraphy lesson!

The facade of the famous "Bodegas Lo Máximo" bar in Madrid.
A delicious brunch.

The next day I decided to spend a day out in my own company, and so headed up to Madrid’s version of Poundland, which is run by the same company, and so which offers a decent range of British goodies! Making good use of a 3€ discount voucher and scoring myself the deal of the century in the form of an official Apple iPad case for just 6€, I hauled my bag full of Vimeo and Cadbury’s chocolate into the basket of one of the city bikes, and took in the gorgeous evening views of the city as I cycled home.

The Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid in the sunlight.

The emblematic Puerta de Alcalá is pretty but a nightmare to cycle around.

During the working week I’ve been rather busy, but there’s always time for a wander with Jhosef down by the river or a quick run around the city on a bike – I’ve to make the most of the freedom whilst I still can. With certain areas of Madrid already in partial lockdown, I’ve a suspicion that a city-wide series of restrictions might be announced any day soon, and so any excuse to get out and about is very welcome!

A door surrounded by a checkerboard design with broken glass and covered in posters.

This weekend I’ve been back out and about once again, wandering round the city centre at just the right time such as to catch the gorgeous streets of Lavapiés and the city centre in the golden hour just before the setting of the sun. I also walked past a newly refurbished hotel, which is a gorgeous building that’s been under wraps and in renovation since the very first time I visited Madrid five years ago, and was happy to see that they’d covered the facade in a gorgeous series of ornamental lamps.

Multicoloured flags span a street with colourful facades in the south of Madrid.
The evening sunlight casts long shadows on the facades of a street in Madrid.
A spire of a church is seen on a street illuminated by evening sun and lined by trees.
Flags are seen trailing off a yellow facade against a blue sky.
The street leading to Sol in Madrid in the evening sun.

My evening wander ended with a lovely evening meal at Ramen Shifu, where my friend Hugo was working the evening. Whilst catching up in bursts as he attended other tables, I tucked in to a gorgeous beef ramen, all followed by some mochi and a lovely Japanese beer.

The atmosphere and the food at Ramen Shifu were rather splendid.

The interior of Ramen Shifu in Madrid, covered in red Japanese lanterns.

Just last night I met up with Jhosef again and the two of us headed down to the Matadero, and to a lovely outdoor terrace and bar that’s been set up to make the most of the post-lockdown summer nights. Stopping for a tinto de verano (a mix of red wine and lemon Fanta), the two of us talked the evening away whilst being serenaded by a live band who had created their own Spanish version of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. Once we’d tired of these new lyrics, which spoke mostly of “energía solar” (solar energy), the two of us headed back to my flat and spent the evening watching Salt, a film which I’d never seen before and which had me hooked with it’s wild plot twists!

A wall of lights reading "Madrid".
Me and Jhosef.

This quick update pretty much sums up my past few weeks of little escapes and explorations of the city, but I’m sure there’ll be more to come as we head into a rather sudden autumn – I say sudden because the onset was shockingly quick, with a few days of storms and a temperature drop of almost 10°C taking us all by surprise and with no time to adjust!

And so here I leave you, as I prepare to change out my summer wardrobe for my winter one – prepare to see the return of the yellow coat in the coming posts!