06.05.23 — Journal

Spring in Madrid

After an overcast weekend up in the north of Spain to celebrate Cami’s birthday, I was back down to a sunny Madrid which had been warming up since Amber came over to visit during Easter. With some new summer attire purchased and longer evenings with the sun beating down, the season of me walking back home every day after work is finally back upon us.

These wanders are not just a lovely way to relax and unwind after a busy day in the office, they also offer the opportunity to explore new streets of the city and come across new things that have popped up recently or that I’ve simply never noticed before. They take me through the tourist-filled city centre, the quirky neighbourhood of Lavapiés, and finally down to the relaxed ambience that is Arganzuela.

Between all these walks, I spent a lovely weekend around the city with some friends. I kicked this off with a visit to the gorgeous Círculo de Bellas Artes, a cultural centre in Madrid where I’d been invited to watch a performance by the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company. Dance isn’t something I’d usually chose to see, but I’m always up for something new, so I pottered along and joined Luis and a bunch of his friends for an evening there.

The architecture in the Círculo de Bellas Artes was an undiscovered gem for me.

The evening was organised by the Korean Cultural Centre and was an absolutely amazing experience, one which started with the grandiose surroundings of the Círculo de Bellas Artes. I’d only been previously in order to visit its rooftop terrace and its panoramic views over Madrid, but this time we were inside and under the huge decorate domes of its theatre.

Then came the two performances themselves, both of which were spectacular for different reasons. The first, Mechanism by Lee Jaeyoung, featured some awesomely timed synchronisation and a frantically high-energy finale. The second, Everything Falls Dramatic by Her Sungim, was beautifully pensive and melancholic. We were all left touched by the talent and the emotion conveyed throughout.

The finale of ‘Everything Falls Dramatic’ was delicate and touching.

After such a fabulous show, we were keen to make the most of the warm evening, so wound up having some beers on a terrace before heading to a restaurant. There, we shared a tonne of food, had some more drinks, and had a great laugh as I got to know everyone else.

Me and Luis then wandered back home, partly because we couldn’t be bothered dealing with the night buses (called ‘búhos’ meaning ‘owls’, which I think is cute) and partly because we wanted to get our step count up before the clock struck midnight. It was a great chance to catch up and a wonderful end to a wonderful evening.

The next day I’d arranged to meet up with Sara and her friend Andrea, who was visiting Madrid for the weekend. I met them up at the Templo de Debod, a great spot to watch the sun set over the mountains, and we headed out for a quick drink and then a lovely Italian meal at a spot that and Sara and I have been visiting for a few years now.

The three of us had a whale of a time over pizza and thus arranged to meet up again the next day to hold a picnic in Retiro, Madrid’s main Central Park. I thus spent the morning whipping up some hummus, salad, and putting the finish touches to a carrot cake that I’d baked the day before in order to celebrate Sara’s birthday.

The Madrid Marathon then put a spanner in the works as I tried to catch the bus up to the park: the bus simply never showed up. A round of loudly verbalised complaints about the lack of notice advising us of the cancelled service then ensued – the Spanish equivalent of the simple British tut – and I wound up having to get a taxi up to the park.

Once there, though, we had a lovely afternoon. Irene joined us and between the four of us we’d brought way too much food (a classic) and so spent a good hour getting through it all. We then played a round of Uno, engaged in a spot of sunbathing, and listened to some music as the afternoon became the evening. It was the perfect way to end a relaxing weekend.

As I usually do in spring, I showed everyone how to make daisy chains.

Thus concludes my weekend of enjoying the lovely springtime weather around Madrid. This would be the last weekend I spent in the city for a couple of weeks, but more on that in my next post!