29.04.18 — Journal

Munching & Marathons

After I’d waved Kevin off at the bus station as he returned to beautiful Oviedo, it was straight back to the daily grind for me, as the day after I headed back to work. In order to keep myself occupied outside of the office, a bunch of us decided to start a new tradition: Taco Wednesdays! Now I know there’s no alliteration, but bear with me, as we decided on this particular day because the Mexican restaurant directly under my friend’s flat does a 1€ deal on tacos on Wednesday evenings –buzzing.

Wandering to my friends' place
On the terrace before our tacos

As the temperature has been climbing and summer seems to be drawing closer, we first met up for some drinks and a catch up on my friends’ lovely terrace. Once we’d drank our fair share of sangría, we descended to the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely tipsy evening of tacos, managing to bag this selfie before things got a little messy downstairs!

The taco gang

Later that week, we all regrouped for a wander around the city, a stroll which took us to an infamous bar I’d been meaning to check out for quite a while. Bar El Tigre is well known for the sheer size of the tapas that they gift you with every drink, so we headed in and grabbed a caña (small beer) and watched in awe as they served up three plates full of snacks!

Free tapas at El Tigre
Wandering the Madrid streets

Last Friday also saw another event happening in the centre of the city, with La Noche de los Libros (Night of Books) in full swing as the sun set. After we’d watched a video mapping presentation in the Puerta del Sol, we headed to another legendary drinking spot, Sala Equis.

Video mapping in Sol
Wandering into Sala Equis

“The X Room” used to be –as the name hints at– a porn cinema, but has now been transformed into a multi-use cultural space which can act as both a cool drinking spot as well as a cinema for retro movies. We all grabbed a beer, perched ourselves on the random deckchairs, and tried to make out the plot of an old silent movie which was being projected onto the screen above the bar.

Inside Sala Equis

That same weekend was a special one for my friend Loredana, as she’d signed up to run the Madrid Marathon on the Sunday – a week ago today, in fact. To show our support, me and Heidi opted not to join in with any physical activity, but rather to go down to the route and cheer her on with embarrassing custom t-shirts!

As Loredana had (for some reason unknown to man) chosen “croquetas” (croquettes) as the text on her bib, me and Heidi knew that we simply had to incorporate the delicious Spanish snack into our design. We secretly made a trip to Primark the day before, and then spent a good couple of hours applying our fabulous design, ready to meet up along the route the next day.

Our fabulous t-shirts

Once we’d cheered Loredana on as she passed the spot where we were waiting, we had a bite of lunch before heading to the finish line to (what could have been quite literally) catch Lore as she finished the gruelling 42km (26mi) course. As we watched on in earnest, however, one of the runners got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend right as they both finished the marathon! This proved quite the distraction, and we almost missed Loredana wandering by, but I spotted her just in time and we yelled for her to come over.

Waiting at the finish line

After checking that she was alright –I was shocked at how normal and not dead she looked– we left Lore to pick up her medal and an energy drink before we were finally reunited. After grabbing a stranger to take a photo of the three of us, we headed in to the city to eat some lunch –croquettes, naturally– before heading back to Lore and Heidi’s flat for a relaxing evening.

Congratulations to Loredana!

Congratulations to Loredana on such a wild achievement!

All this madness brings me pretty much up to date to this weekend, however I still had one surprise in store on Friday night! We’d arranged to meet up at their flat again, which was for what I assumed would be some quiet drinks before the two of them and Megan headed down to Málaga for the week. I was completely caught off guard then when they went downstairs to “get more sangría” and then returned with a gorgeous birthday cake!

The cake arrives!

I was really touched by the lovely gesture, but we didn’t waste any time in getting stuck in, as the cake is actually one of Megan’s speciality ice cream cakes! Having worked at Ben & Jerry’s flagship store back at home in Vermont in the United States, she is an expert in these decadent treats, and her cookie dough, chocolate brownie and vanilla masterpiece did not disappoint!

A quick photo with the cake

As I mentioned, that evening Heidi and Loredana headed down to Málaga for a long weekend of sandy beaches and sunshine, with Megan set to join them tomorrow morning. I really wish I was there with them all, especially after such a lovely surprise, but I’ve to relax and prepare myself for a crazy hectic week ahead…

We're the Cake Club!

Tomorrow is indeed my birthday and I’ll be turning the ripe old age of 23 – don’t talk to me about how the years are flying by – but there’s no rest for the wicked, so I’ll be at the office for most of the day! I won’t even get a break in the evening to head out for a celebratory drink, as I’ve to pick up some last minute goodies and head home to pack and get an early night in to catch a flight early Tuesday morning!

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here on my blog before – probably not as I am notorious for forgetting to mention important information – but I’m headed back to England for a short week! It’s going to be six hectic days of intense travelling and catching up, with a day in Burnley, a day in Liverpool, two days in Leeds and then two days in London all lined up. With such a schedule I’ll no doubt be way too busy to post any updates here, but fear not as I’ll be back next week to share all the shenanigans which will have undoubtably occurred!

I guess that I’ll be back with you all when I’m another year older…