07.03.18 — Journal

The Briggs Elders Visit

When you graduate and leave home, you think you can finally escape from your parents, especially when you’ve flown nearly 1000 miles south – but alas, they still mange to show their faces every now and then. All joking aside, last Thursday after work I grabbed a bag of crisps and hopped on the Metro to the airport to pick up my parents, who were landing after a day of wondering whether they’d even make it to the airport to leave England!

This was of course due to the weather brought by the double whammy of the “Beast from the East” and Storm Emma, which left our little English village of Worsthorne pretty much cut off from my hometown of Burnley. After braving some scary blizzards and huge snowdrifts, they eventually managed to get our little car all the way to Manchester and made their flight.

Cut to that evening and I was stood waiting at the terminal exit, with a “Briggs” sign in hand and a beer in my stomach: I had decided to arrive early and have a drink in arrivals after I was late to pick Amber up last year. Oops.

Pretty soon they appeared, we had our reunion hugs, and then we made a beeline for the Metro. We didn’t move fast enough however, as we had to wait a good while to get our tickets, but after two metro lines and a Cercanías train, we eventually rocked up at their hotel. As a traditional welcome to Spain, we went to a local bar and ordered some typical Madrid food, but I had to leave pretty soon thereafter as I was working the next day.

That Friday I was busy away at work and so they were left to sort themselves out in the morning, but just after 2pm I let them in the door to the office, and my mum finally got a chance to check out my workplace after she didn’t manage to visit when she visited in 2016. Once again we brought along an aperitivo, and the team gathered to chat, snack, and drink wine whilst discussing the proper use of alioli.

Once we’d finally left the office at 4pm, we headed down to the Príncipe Pío shopping centre for some montaditos (little sandwiches) and jars of tinto de verano (similar to sangría). I forgot to mention that it’d been raining pretty much non-stop since my parents arrived, and so when we saw a break in the weather outside, we scrambled up to the Temple of Debod to enjoy the views.

The palace from the temple

As you can see, dry though it may have been, the weather still wasn’t great and so we hopped back on the Metro and headed to the centre of the city for a spot of shopping. On the high street we decided to dip into the Museum of the City of Madrid (which I visited for the first time just over a week ago), but my mum soon looked pretty bored and so we carried on towards the Puerta del Sol in the centre.

The museum's courtyard

We were getting pretty weary as the evening came around, so we made ourself comfy in the back corner of a coffee shop and chatted until we eventually surrendered to the call of our beds.

Saturday began equally as lazily, with them two sleeping in long enough to miss the breakfast at the hotel. We thus decided to meet up at one of my favourite spots to get brunch, and there we enjoyed a slap up breakfast – and I felt quite pleased to have found somewhere that my notoriously picky mum enjoyed!

Taking photos for the 'Gram

From here, we headed down to the south of the city and to the Matadero, a place my dad had loved the last time he visited. We stopped for some pinchos, with my dad trying out crabmeat for the first time, before polishing off some more sangría and crossing over the river. There we visited a big shopping centre, mainly so that my mum could have a snoop around, and then headed back northwards for a full dinner at a Venezuelan restaurant my friend introduced me to last year.

After a delicious array of dishes there, we headed out to find a local bar for another round of drinks, but soon found ourselves back in bed – the three of us seem to be getting a bit easily tired in our old age.

Sunday started late once more, as we started off with some breakfast near Plaza de España at midday, before heading to check out a museum which I’ve been meaning to visit since the first time I visited Madrid. I had always assumed that due to the wealth of treasures it contained, that the Museo Cerralbo would charge a bomb for entry, but it turns out that if you head there on Sunday you can get in for free!

Heading to the Plaza de España

We rocked up and managed to head in after a short queue outside, leaving our bags in some lockers and beginning the tour around the house. All I’d seen of it previously was a few minutes of a documentary about European cities which I’d seen whilst in England, but I remember thinking that it looked pretty cool – but this didn’t prepare me for the insane opulence that lay in store.

The entrance hall

All the artefacts within belonged to one man, Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, a nobleman who amassed the collection and eventually donated his house and all the objects within to be used as a public museum. I really can’t write anything which will do the place justice, so I’ll leave you with a few photos and this link to read a bit more about the place.

One of the rooms
A grand hall
A close-up of the chandelier

One of the most striking things (after the collection itself, obviously) was that you could actually walk through pretty much everything. Naturally you’re not allowed, but if you wanted to you were within touching distance of pretty much every object on display. It made a nice change from the glass walls and fenced exhibitions of most museums, and I implore that you check it out if you’re ever in Madrid – it seems to be overlooked by quite a lot of visitors to the city.

If that hasn’t convinced you, let’s just say that even my mum liked it!

After that adventure it was inadvertently time for another, after we unsuspectingly sat down for lunch in an innocent looking spot in Plaza Mayor. Our table was nearby a light stream of water which was running from some kind of overflow pipe above, but we didn’t think much about it until suddenly it began to dump water all over our table with the force of a thousand oceans.

Needless to say that we moved pretty quickly, eventually finding another table by the side and enjoying our sandwiches in peace – albeit whilst watching the irritated owner explain what was going on to two bemused police officers.

Architecture along the way

Having survived the Great Flood of Plaza Mayor of 2018, we wandered down through the district of Lavapiés to make a tea stop at my flat, in doing so allowing my parents to check out where I’m living. Once we’d kicked back there and my dad had taken a nap, we hopped back on the Metro to the city’s east, where we’d arranged to meet up with my friends for a big reunion meal.

We were reunited at a cosy little restaurant near my friend’s house, where my group of friends and my parents were also accompanied by Megan’s brother and his girlfriend who were visiting Spain from the U.S. We had a lovely relaxed meal together, and I had a great laugh with everyone there – nothing better than good food and good company!

The following Monday I had taken off work, but as we once again didn’t rush out of bed, we didn’t really have chance to do all that much. We didn’t mind though, as I was enjoying having a laid-back weekend and my parents fancied a relaxing holiday, so we headed out for coffee and lunch at Chueca.

My dad in Lavapiés

As the time of their train approached, we headed back to my apartment to pick up their luggage and we were soon down in Atcoha train station. I was waving them off down there rather than at the airport as they were headed down to Murcia (where I was just over a month ago) to spend the rest of the week with my auntie and uncle.

After a lot of worry concerning a broken departure board and an unannounced delay, I had soon managed to bundle them on to (what thankfully turned out to be) the correct train and off they went. As with last time my mum and dad visited on separate occasions, it was weird to be see them leave, as I had enjoyed a few days in which they were in Madrid and it was strange that they weren’t there anymore…

Anyway, things have quickly returned to normal as I’m halfway through a pretty hectic week at work, with exciting projects such as the new visual identity for Fama: a bailar being revealed just today! For a nice break to look forward to amongst all this craziness, I have just booked yet another journey up to Oviedo to see Kevin and the rest of the gang in April – this coming only a few weeks after my last visit last month!

No rest for the wicked, eh – except for right now, as I’m going to light some candles, stick some British TV on and curl up in my new double bed. Bliss…