08.02.22 — Travel

Spring in Murcia

In an attempt to keep the last of my New Year’s resolutions, which was to travel more, I currently find myself returning from the first trip outside of Madrid that I’ve taken in 2022. As I’ve done many times before, I headed down to Murcia on the train to spend an extended weekend with my auntie and uncle. The last time I headed southward to see them was in summer last year, and so I was well overdue a few days visiting them in their Murcian home in the sun.

Well, I say sun, that’s quite an optimistic way of describing the weather. The photos contained within this blog post are about to be rather deceiving: a combination of the time of year and some sheer bad luck meant that it was rather overcast a lot of the time that I spent there.

My journey began as I walked from my office in the north of the city centre down to Atocha train station towards the south, a trip which took about 90 minutes but felt like an eternity thanks to my heavy backpack. After stopping for a bite to eat outside the station, I headed inside and boarded the familiar train southwards. Upon arrival in Murcia, we headed straight to my auntie and uncle’s place in order for me to make myself a healthy meal before heading to bed for the night.

Walking plenty, eating homemade food, and setting off for a trip: three of my ten resolutions at play.

The next day we’d decided to try and grab lunch at a Chilean restaurant that my uncle had found, and so headed to a little town nearby their place after doing a spot of shopping in the morning. We were initially disheartened when the place seemed to have closed, as the street just looked to be lined by a bunch of sleepy houses. I then spotted that one of the houses was in fact the restaurant, but we were then disheartened once again when the chef came out to tell us that they were all booked up and that we’d have to come back another time. We decided it would be worth it to try something different, and so reserved a table for the very next day.

We then carried on to another nearby village where the chef had recommended that we try the food, but that place was closed as the owners were on holiday, and so we resorted to searching Google Maps for a nearby place as it was getting somewhat late.

We eventually had a rather lovely lunch, mixing a series of local dishes with some Spanish classics such as squid rings and garlic prawns. The only shock came in the price of some prawns I’d ordered – I didn’t think they’d be so expensive!

Lunch over, we then headed back home to spend an evening in as the weather was’t looking too great. I made a batch of hummus following my colleague Rocío’s recipe, and settled down with a glass of vermouth to watch some telly and chat the evening away.

The day after and we were back to the Chilean restaurant in order to see what the food would be like. I’d consulted Cami, who is also from Chile, to ask for some recommendations of what to order, but all of that was pointless in the end as it turned out that there was no menu, rather the chef would recommend and bring us out a series of dishes as he saw fit.

Well, what an experience it turned out to be! The owner of the place was absolutely lovely, and invited us to try everything from a creamy avocado and prawn salad to some fresh oysters. I’d never tried oysters before, and I think I’ll leave them for a while before trying them again…

These gorgeous cats would have probably appreciated the oysters more than me.

The food was absolutely delicious, though, and we ended up spending nearly three hours there, chatting and munching our way though a grand total of seven courses and two bottles of wine. Towards the end, the owner even brought us out some games he used to play as a kid in Chile, and we spent a good while drunkenly trying to get a bobbin on a string hooked onto its accompanying stick. The best part of the whole thing, however, had to be when he dived into his collection of party gear and made a trip around the place in his best drag outfit. We had an absolute blast!

My auntie and the owner whose name I didn’t catch – not even his drag name.

We left the place absolutely stuffed, so much so that I wound up having a rather extended three-hour nap upon arrival back home. Once I’d woken up I took myself out for an evening walk, stopping at the golf resort’s bar along the way to grab myself a drink to keep me going back down to my auntie and uncle’s apartment – it’s a big resort!

The sun had finally made an appearance the next day, and so we bundled into the car and headed up to the city of Murcia to spend the day. After parking up on the outskirts and walking down the river for a while, we landed in the centre, where I first engaged in a bit of sightseeing before lunch.

We spent some time soaking in the sun and taking photos near the cathedral in the city centre. I always forget how pretty the centre of Murcia really is, and I still find new things to see and take photos of every time I visit. From there, we moved on to the place that my auntie and uncle had found for lunch, Mercado de Correos.

Murica city centre is always a joy with its hidden little corners and side streets.

This market is situated inside what was a Correos building (Correos being the Spanish postal service) which has been converted into a modern gastronomic space. Inside, there’s a series of food stalls offering everything from sushi to local dishes to platters of cured meats and cheeses.

We wound up ordering a mix of local Murcian food and other small sharing dishes, enjoying them as they were brought to our table by the waiters. Once we’d had our savoury fix, we then paid up and left, scouting the city for something sweet for dessert.

In another moment of me sticking my head through an open door, I found this gorgeous door.

After a bit of a wander, we finally found an ice cream parlour that was open, where we all grabbed an ice cream sandwich. These bombs of sugar took the form of some delicious homemade ice cream sandwiched between two equally tasty chocolate chip cookies – they were divine!

Lunch over, we then wandered around some more of the city streets as we slowly meandered back to the car, stopping for a rest in the late afternoon heat as we went. From the big city, we then headed back home, where I had another nap – and this time I managed to keep it to just an acceptable half an hour.

As it was my last evening, I said we should head back up to the resort’s bar for some drinks, and so we spent the evening over some snacks and gin and tonics at El Casón. There I got chatting to one of the waiters, one who I’d then run into the following morning, and who told me about his favourite market in Murcia – one for next time!

The next day, once I was showered, packed, and ready to go, me and my auntie dropped my uncle off at a meeting he’d to attend and then headed out for lunch together. She took me to an unassuming little restaurant connected to the warehouse of an agricultural company, where we ate a delicious and very filling menú del día (daily set menu) before she dropped me back off at the train station that I’d arrived at just four short nights before.

As is always the case, I had a lovely break down in Murcia, where we managed to do plenty of stuff and eat plenty of delicious meals despite the weather. I’ve to thank my auntie and uncle for once again opening their doors and driving me around during my little winter break down in the south of Spain. As ever, I’ll be back again soon!