09.05.21 — Journal

Summer’s Coming & I’m Getting Old

The wet and miserable weekend that I predicted at the end of my last blog post turned out, unfortunately, to be a correct prediction. After a Saturday stuck indoors, however, I was determined to get out of the house, and so jumped at Napo’s offer for a pizza lunch out in Lavapiés.

Heading out under very dark and menacing skies, I hopped on a bike and cycled up to the nearest station to NAP Pizza, me and Napo’s preferred pizza spot for their delicious Neapolitan wood-oven-fired pizzas. There we had a lovely catch up over some equally lovely pizza, but we left to some not-so-lovely weather. The heavens had indeed opened, but thankfully my half-broken umbrella held out long enough for me to get to the bus stop and back to the safety of my flat.

After this rather quiet weekend came a busy week at work, but a sudden change in weather and the arrival of some sun kept me in good spirits. In another move to try and get more active, I made the most of the sunny evenings to phone friends and walk and cycle my way back home from the office.

These evening walks often took me through the Parque del Oeste (The Western Park) which sits just by my office, a path which passes by the Templo de Debod, the African Temple gifted to the city by Egypt which now sits atop a hill overlooking the west of the city. From there, I also pass by the Royal Palace and its surrounding gardens – not a bad commute at all!

As the week came to its conclusion, it was time for the annual chaos that is my birthday. The start of my twenty-sixth year on this earth was heralded by a suspiring amount of gifts, with my parents sending over a lovely new shirt and some Cadbury’s chocolate, and Abi and Danni treating me to a huge box full of some of the best of British snacks!

At work I was then surprised by a lovely gift basket from some of my colleagues and a box full of homemade brigadeiro from another. This traditional Brazilian birthday sweet consists of condensed milk and cocoa powder, with all kinds of toppings in order to protect the gooey center. For this occasion we had flaked almonds and multicoloured sprinkles: both excellent options!

To continue the celebrations, I headed out for lunch with another colleague, before then nipping home to quickly change and prepare for an evening meal out with Sara and Jhosef. This I didn’t do quickly enough, evidently, as I rocked up at the Venezuelan restaurant half an hour late – oops! I quickly got up to speed with a few vermouths, however, and was surprised by a lovely Lush gift box from Jhosef before enjoying a bottle of wine and some delicious plates of shared food.

With the Madrid curfew still in place, however, we were handed the bill at half ten, but decided that we weren’t done with our evening just yet. Hailing a taxi, we headed back to my flat, cracking open some gin and tonics and throwing on some music to keep chatting away until the early hours.

After we all awoke at my place with heavy heads, I then spent the day mooching my hangover off at home, only venturing out again in order to meet up with Bogar, Hugo, and Sergei for a burger meal out. I enjoyed a delicious burger with great company, but headed home relatively early as the big meal hadn’t cleared my head as much as I had hoped it would.

The four of us wait for the burger restaurant to open as I nurse a heavy head.

Thankfully, my birthday weekend was a long one, with a bank holiday allowing me to recover the day I spent mooching around nursing a hangover. I made the most of this extra day to cook up some food for the short week ahead and head out for a wander around my neighborhood.

The Spanish breakfast of bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt never fails to revive.

This week has seen the temperature suddenly increase to near-summer levels, and so this weekend we arranged to hold a picnic in Retiro, Madrid’s main park. Settling down by the lake, we enjoyed some cheese sticks, empanadas, and even some KFC that Bogar had brought along – all washed down with some beer and lemon!

Bogar stole my rude fan (translate it if you dare) for a photo shoot by the lake.

Once the sky had clouded over a bit and we had become frustrated by the lack of places to buy more snacks and drinks, the four of us hopped on a bus and made our way down to Bogar’s flat for some more drinks and to waste the evening way sharing our favorite music videos – oh, and some more fried chicken…

I left Bogar’s at half eleven at night – possible now thanks to the end of the curfew in Madrid – and have then spent the most of today cooking and cleaning as I usually do on a Sunday. Being stuck inside today has been made somewhat easier, though, as the clouds that came rolling in yesterday have turned into scattered showers today.

With the easing of restrictions in Madrid and throughout Spain in general, I’m hoping that this summer I’ll be able to get back to safely visiting a few places like Murica or Tenerife – perhaps, depending on how things go over there, I’ll even be able to get back to England! Who knows…