31.05.19 — Journal

My Parents Visit & San Isidro

After a lovely but hectic weekend down in Alicante for the Bentana-Cho wedding, another week of work ensued. Once again, however, I had a busy weekend to look forward to, as my parents were coming over to visit!

The three of us united on Friday in my neighbourhood, after a colleague kindly gave me a lift to the centre so I wouldn’t have to meet my parents at some midpoint between the centre and my new office. As they were staying with me, we first headed up to my flat so that they could unpack somewhat and prepare for the coming days, and then headed out for the evening.

What we got up to next set the prescient for pretty much the entire weekend. Instead of rushing around the city checking out everything, which they’ve already done on trips both individually and together, I instead decided to take them out to live the Madrid lifestyle: eating, drinking, and watching the world go by from a table on outdoor terraces. 

For tea (or dinner, if you call it that), we headed to my favourite local bar just two streets away from my house, indulging in a selection of sharing dishes and a few beers to wash it all down. Once we were slightly tipsy and very full, we wandered down to the river, which I thought would be a nice spot to sit on the grass and grab another drink and watch the world go by.

I love living so close to the river and its park.

Trees below the sky.

What I had forgotten was that that particular weekend marked the start of the San Isidro celebrations, one of Madrid’s key annual holidays. This meant that most of the grass was barricaded off, and a big outdoor stage had been erected ready to host performances later in the evening. We did, however, find a bench to perch ourselves on, and proceeded to enjoy our beers there until the music started up, whereupon we took in the atmosphere for a while before then heading home.

To start the weekend, we made what was to be our only appointment of the weekend, and headed to the Secret Garden of Salvador Bachiller for some lunch after a spot of shopping. A drama then ensued when, during the leisurely walk back through the city and back to my flat, we realised that we’d left out shopping bag in the restaurant! Thankfully, though, they’d found the bag and put it aside, and so we continued with our holiday relaxation, resolving to pick it up the following day. 

My mum and dad.
My mum with her food.

I’d planned the Sunday as a day to wander around some of Madrid’s green spaces, and so we headed off in the morning to have a picnic in Retiro, the city’s main park. After a spot of sunbathing and watching the ducks in the pond, we sat by the lake and tucked into a lunch of bread with alioli and tomato.

A duck swims across a lake.
My mum, my dad, and I sit in the park in front of the Crystal Palace.

To head to our next destination we caught the bus, stopping along the way to pick up my lost bag, and made our way to the lake in the Casa de Campo. We chilled out down there for a good few hours, sharing a big jar of sangria as evening came around.

My mum and dad on a bench by the lake.

For our last evening together, I whipped up some quesadillas at home, and then we headed out for one last round of drinks at my local bar. My mum here looks somewhat confused at the basket of bread being delivered to the table before the extra bits of food we’d ordered came – someone needs to tell her that bread here is just another obligatory eating utensil!

My mum stares at a bread basket.

That Monday morning we were all up early, as my parents had to get an early taxi to the airport and I had to be awake to bundle them in and explain where they were going to the driver! This concluded a lovely weekend spent with my parents, who I must thank for making the effort of coming over and paying for pretty much everything along the way. I’m now looking forward to visiting them in Murcia later this summer!

Anyway, my past few weeks haven’t just been all fun and games, as I’ve also been working in between all the chaos. As mentioned a couple of posts back, we’re now settled in our new office at work, and we’ve been using the new garden as much as we can ever since…

Breakfast on the porch is always a pretty good start to the day.

A breakfast pastry and coffee on a table on a porch. Garden and pool in the background.

As part of the move, I’m also happy to report that the ping-pong table – which was present in the past two offices and sadly removed a few months into our stay in the second – has been reinstated! Rebuilt after sitting in storage for over a year, it’s now a great excuse for some relaxation and competitive letting off of steam when we grab a spare moment.

In between my busy schedule at work, with many projects on the go at the moment, a photo surfaced from a networking event last year, which I noticed had been labelled internally as “Ollie with a crisp”. I don’t know why it made me giggle so much, but below I include said photo of me and Elena enjoying the free crisps!

I stand eating a crisp.

My next adventure came the day after my parents left, as me and Bogar decided to head out on Tuesday evening to the San Isidro festivities seeing as Wednesday was a bank holiday. This involved heading to the aptly-named San Isidro Park, where artists and DJs would be playing and a fair would be in full swing.

We arrived at the park just in time to catch one of the evening’s main acts, La Bien Querida, who I’ve been listening to since a colleague intruded me to her music. Cracking open a can and finding a space to watch from the grass, I sang along to a few of her famous hits, including Muero de amor and, my personal favourite, De momento abril.

Once we’d had a boogie and a few more drinks, the two of us headed to the food stalls to grab a few bites to eat. In the end we ended up sharing fried potatoes, a hot dog, and a kebab, all followed by a cheeky mojito as the DJ sets begun.

I eat bread in a festival in front of a plate full of eggs and potatoes.
A festival catering scene full of fresh fruit.

After another few hours enjoying the music, we eventually decided to head back home. Having seen the crazy state of the metro on our way down, we decided the best way home would be to walk, and so we put the world to rights as we meandered down the river and back to our neighbourhood.

It was a lovely way to blow off some stream after some busy weekends and a busy period at work, but I had even more to come with a holiday to Tenerife the following weekend! All that, however, must wait until the next post.

I’d just like to finish this post off by sharing a photo of my sister, Ellie, who has recently finished her final year dissertation. She’s in the final throes of her third year at university, but she’s making me wait another twelve months until I get to watch her graduation as she’s just been accepted to complete an integrated master’s degree.

My sister holds her dissertation outside a building at Sheffield University.

Well done, Bel!

And so concludes another post written on my phone and in sporadic bursts whilst on buses, waiting for trains, sitting in the laundrette, and ultimately lying in bed. I am going to become an expert at typing on this little screen!