10.02.19 — Journal

Round Three at R3

If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll all know by now that I am back in Madrid! This evening actually marks a week since my arrival, and so much has gone down since then that I still haven’t quite processed it myself whilst I sit here trying to figure out how to pop it into a blog post. I’ll just start and see where we end up…

Arriving to the city is a routine that I now perform from muscle memory, and so before long I found myself arriving at the door to the Airbnb flat that I’d booked for the first fortnight. After chatting to the couple I’m living with for a while, I unpacked the basics and then headed off to do something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while: a Mercadona trip!

Mercadona is the chain of low-cost supermarkets which I have always been rather fond of, but I restrained myself to picking up the basics on this first visit. Sunday was then spent doing quite a lot of nothing, but I had the pleasure of being reunited with my friend Napo as we headed out for a reunion tea of pizza and some drinks. After this, I turned myself in for another early night in preparation for my third first day at Erretres! Cue flashbacks to posts from both 2016 and 2017. I should also explain the name Erretres is Spanish for R3 – which I have decided must mean Round 3!

Cycling the streets of the city as the sun rises feels like a dream.

A street in the old centre of Madrid.

Before I knew what was going on I found myself being woken by my alarm for my first day back in the office. As I’d grabbed a rather central flat, I’d decided that the prettiest and most efficient way to get to the office would be on one of the city’s rental bikes, and so off I headed in –4°c.

A fading facade reads "Bodega" in old handwritten letters.

After somehow evading hypothermia in my poor bare fingers I arrived at the office, and it felt absolutely lovely to be back! As everyone arrived, I made sure to remember the protocol of hugs and kisses on the cheek, but I was soon thrown head-first into the chaos of projects and work to be done!

I trust by this point that I don’t have to repeat the age-old “I can’t share any of what I’m doing because of confidentiality clauses” spiel once more, but you get the idea. All isn’t lost, though, because I’ve also been up to a lot outside of my working hours.

This has, for the most part, involved wandering from one area of the city to another in between completing several rather uninspiring admin-related errands. Not all was lost, though, as I’m a sucker for a good photo when a composition presents itself, so I’ve peppered this post with such photos of the city’s ambience.

One night I did had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, Leo, who I hadn’t seen for an age. During the evening I managed to get myself so tipsy on Venezuelan beer that I missed my Metro stop when returning home, but it was worth it for the good food and great company!

Another morning was also a lovely chance for a slight change of scenery, as me and Manu headed off to visit the new offices of one of our new clients. It was a pretty cool space, and as Manu had brought along his camera, I thought I’d take a few photos of him doing his thing for social media.

Shameless plug: go and give Erretres a like on Facebook if you can.

There has, however, been a big task looming over the otherwise fun this week: the need to find myself a place to live. I had decided that I finally wanted my own flat, and that I didn’t want to be too far from work, but I had been warned that it can take months to find something worth taking in the competitive market that is the Madrid housing game.

I went along to my first flat viewing on Thursday, a reasonably priced studio apartment in a quiet neighbourhood just slightly further away from the centre than the Erretres office. Upon arrival I found myself in a queue to view the place, and when it was finally my turn to have a look around, I found myself very underwhelmed.

That evening I felt rather deflated about the task ahead, and that was when my friend Bogar stepped in with a contact. He’d been looking for a flat too, and had already found one when an agency let him know that another one he’d looked at had been lowered in price. Needless to say, then, that I immediately got in touch and arranged to view the place on Friday after work.

Well, this second flat was completely different to the first! Newly refurbished, it had obviously been updated by somebody with a keen eye for design, and within five minutes of poking around the place I knew I had to have it. I told my guide from the agency as much, and before I knew it I was sat with the two owners (one of whom was a designer, I knew it!) and signing to move into the place in just a week’s time! How crazy is that?

Anyway, I’ll reign in my excitement and return to the present day. After signing my contract this morning, I headed over to Bogar’s flat to help him move his things a few streets down the road and into his new flat. After a few taxi runs with boxes full of his worldly belongings, I waited for him to bring in his last bit of washing, and then we headed over to eat noodles on the floor of his new place.

I seem to have run into an old lady hanging her washing out.

He’s living near where my new flat will be, so I took the chance to wander through what will soon be my new neighbourhood. Oh, and I also stopped for a few more things from the local Mercadona on my way back home. Start as I mean to go on, I guess!

That’s all for the past week, but my gosh has it been a busy one! I’m sure that things will keep picking up pace as I enter my second week, which will be ending with my move into my new place. I’ll be sure to put together a post with a few photos just as soon as I’ve moved in and bought a few plants to liven the place up a touch!