05.04.22 — Journal

Spring Springs a Leak

After my last post took me up into nature with some glorious weather, this time I’m back in the big city and with what can be only described as a washout. Madrid’s usually mild spring seems to have been replaced by a wet and windy few weeks this year, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stood still!

One Saturday I arranged to meet up with a colleague and her daughter for a snoop around the Municipal Printers, a lovely old building which is now a museum conserving old printing presses and traditional printing techniques through a free exhibition and printing workshops. It reminded me of the fun I had back in Leeds as a student and one of the hilarious bookbinding workshops I attended there!

The architecture was as interesting as the printing presses within.

After our wander around the space, we headed out for a bite to eat, sharing one of my all time favourite dishes, huevos rotos con picadillo, a mix of chips, fried egg, and a spiced and minced meat with a similar taste to chorizo. After lunch, we went shopping for some rubber bands before I stopped by their house to meet their hamster, Melocotón (meaning “Peach”), and have a crash-course in making bracelets with the little coloured rubber bands that we’d picked up.

This little guy was very friendly, but also soft and fluffy – just like a peach.

Later that afternoon, I headed up to the north of Madrid and to IFEMA, Madrid’s vast convention centre. There I’d arranged to meet up with Luis and Carmen, who’d managed to bag us some free tickets to ARCO, a huge annual contemporary art fair.

The journey to get to the exhibition was more complicated than we thought partly thanks to the partial closure of line 8 of the metro, and then partly thanks to me and Luis’ confusion as we got off the replacement bus at the wrong stop! Thankfully, we ran into two other lost souls who had done the same, and the four of us wound up splitting a taxi to take us the rest of the way.

Needless to say that we arrived quite late in the day, and so didn’t have much time to have a proper look around all the stalls and exhibitions at the fair. I saw some pretty cool stuff, including a ball of spaghetti which reminded me how hungry I was. This then led to us heading into the VIP bar for a gin and tonic and a quick bite to eat, which was more than welcome as my busy day wore on!

This big ball of spaghetti was just asking for someone to fall into it…

Instead of heading home after ARCO, I headed to the north of the city centre, where I met up with Sara and her friend Rocío to have a drink and a bite to eat. Once we’d had our fill of croquettes and some other delicious dishes, the two of them were ready and rearing to head out, but my relentless day meant that I was well and truly ready for bed!

The week after saw some more unpredictable weather in and around Madrid, with some of my evening walks home being an absolute pleasure as the days grew longer, whilst some others were only possible thanks to my trusty (and somewhat battered) umbrella.

The next weekend saw me over at Bogar and Javier’s new place for party which combined a housewarming for their new place with Bogar’s birthday celebrations. I headed over with some G&T and a homemade carrot cake in tow, and we had a fabulous evening chatting the night away. It’s hard to believe that it’s now been three years since the two of us were hauling his mattress down the road as he moved into his previous flat!

Me, my carrot cake, and the cumpleañero (birthday boy).

This wasn’t the only birthday weekend I’d to attend, however, as it was then Luis’ turn to celebrate. Under a rather threatening grey sky, a huge group of us convened at a restaurant down by the lake. There, we ate, drank, and gossiped the evening away – yet another lovely Saturday afternoon plan to celebrate not only his birthday but that of his friend, Marta.

The week after was then a rather busy one for me, as I had some visitors over and we had plenty of interesting things going on at work!

At lunchtime on Monday I was disturbed by a knock at my door, and then greeted by my parents, who’d flown in from England to spend a week with me here in the big city. We spent the first afternoon having lunch together and chilling out – we were all pretty tired and the weather wasn’t looking great.

The next day, the weather took a turn for the bizarre, as a calima, dust and sand from the Sahara desert, had made it way up to Madrid. I’m used to seeing it in Tenerife, which is obviously a lot closer to Africa, but it was the first time I’d ever stepped outside to see the capital covered in the telltale fine red dust.

This rather apocalyptic-looking phenomenon coincided with a day of filming that we were undertaking for a client at work, and so I told my parents to come and join us on the film shoot for a while for a behind-the-scenes look at how such a production was undertaken.

Once the filming was over for the day, I headed out for tea with my parents, and so begun the routine for the week – we’d meet up for lunch near work and then spend the evening having a bite to eat and some drinks before I headed to bed for work the next day.

As I finish work a few hours earlier on a Friday, we decided to mix things up, and headed down to the Matadero for some gin and tonics so that I could kick back after a long and busy week at work. We enjoyed our drinks before heading out to tea, after which we had a relatively early night in order to gather up some energy for the next day’s shenanigans.

We snuck into a cool bar in the Matadero that I’d only ever been to once before.

On the Saturday, and under the persistent grey skies, we headed out for a walk along the river and down to the lake, a spot we always like to visit for a drink by the water. On the way, mum mentioned that she’d never had her photo taken in those big letter signs you see in many cities, and so I knew just the place we had to have our photo taken!

After our afternoon spent by the waterside, we then headed back into the city centre for an evening meal and some drinks to celebrate their final evening with me in the big city – how time had flown!

Our last supper took place in a taco place that I’d visited with Hugo and Bogar a few weeks before, where I introduced my parents to some of the various tasty flavours that this Mexican staple has to offer. Once full of meats and cheeses, we wound up stumbling across a jazz bar, where we ordered one round of cocktails after another as the evening’s live jazz band kicked off. It was a lovely way to end their visit and a curious little find that I’ll definitely be back to!

With this, I think I’ll end this blog post here for fear of trying to cover too much – I’ve still lots to tell you all about, but finding the time to do so is proving quite difficult these past few weeks. I write to you all sat on a train headed back to Madrid – but that’s a story for next time…