05.03.16 — Journal

Three Weeks in España

Today I realised that remarkably, in the blink of an eye, three weeks of my Spanish adventure have already come and gone! It’s been a fortnight now since my first update here on the continent, and so I thought I should probably nip back again for an update on all the fun and hard work that I have been getting up to…

I write this particular post slouched in my armchair, bowl of half eaten cocido madrileño by my side, in my lovely new flat in one of the city’s residential districts, Salamanca. Having crammed all six months of my worldly possessions into my suitcase once again, I found myself once more deep under the streets of the city, lugging my baggage on and off the Metro. Having met my landlord for the next month, I grabbed my keys and bolted into bed to get some much needed rest – but not before snapping a photo of the beautiful sunset from my balcony.

A view from my new desk

I have finally moved out of the hostel which, as lovely as it was, had started to become a little lonely, with every evening being spent on my own with no capacity to cook, or even store a nice cold can of cola. My new home is a shared flat of four of us; and with flatmates from Mexico, Hungary, and Germany, it’s a great lively atmosphere!

No agua en el suelo
My airy new room

We have already managed to get out together a few times for some drinks, tapas, and just to explore the city in general, and I am really happy to have wound up with a lovely group of people, and to have the ability to actually throw some meals together!

Speaking of food, it was soon time to head back to work at Erretres, where I was introduced to cocido madrileño, a delicious chickpea-based stew of chorizo, vegetables, and other meats. It doesn’t look very appetising or varied but my god it is damn good…

Cocido Madrileño at work

Studio life at Erretres continues to be productive and lots of fun, and I’m relishing the opportunity to get involved in design work for the amazing projects on which the team work on a day-to-day basis. Naturally I can’t really reveal much more than that, but the one thing I would love to (re)share is the amazing view which I enjoy every day. I don’t honestly think I could ever have a bad day with such a bella vista there to greet me every time I glance to the right…

Looking out from the studio

Just yesterday, though, it was Luis’ birthday, and so we all abandoned our desks at 2:30pm and headed to the kitchen where he’d put out an marvellous spread of typical Spanish finger-food, including jamón (cured ham), lomo (cured pork), bread, olives, manchego (goat’s cheese) and a healthy round of red wine. We all grabbed a plate, everyone made a beeline for the delicious jamón, and we all stood and had a natter and a good old laugh for an hour or so.

I am sure you can imagine that as the days go by I am becoming more and more reluctant to ever leave this city…

A birthday platter

Then during one of the other nights this week, I got so wrapped up in preparing a Tumblr blog for Erretres that I completely lost track of time and ended up staying in the studio until gone 7:30pm – but it was worth it, as when I left I was greeted by one of the most beautiful skies I have seen this year…

Madrid is pretty in pink
Over the park

I mentioned just then a Tumblr blog, which has now launched as a photographic record of Erretres’ big move into our huge new studio space! Please do check it out here! We are scheduled to move (at the time of writing) in less than five days, and the removal men have already begun to strip the bookshelves of the studio bare, making us all pretty excited to move into our massive new studio, which occupies the entirety of a building and includes three floors with two terraces. Onwards and upwards!

With my weekdays being filled mostly with work until half six and then having some tea and heading out to the city to take in the atmosphere and have a drink and a chat, it’s the weekends when I actually have the chance to do some proper exploring, and so today I grabbed my camera, hopped on the tube, and headed south to the Puente de Toledo, an old bridge over the city’s river.

Whilst meandering around and taking some photos, I wandered by an old man feeding the pigeons, and headed down to the waterside to get a better view through the arches of the structure. Suddenly, however, the old guy had joined me, and greeted me with an enthusiastic «¡Bienvenidos a Madrid!», “Welcome to Madrid!”, and then asked where I was from. I told him I was from England and we got chatting for a while in Spanish, and he said he was happy to meet a British person who could speak his language. After probing to see which football team I supported, I told him that futbol wasn’t really my thing, but he insisted that I take a look at some photos of him in the Madrid Atletico stadium which was just behind us.

After further discussion about what I was doing here in Spain, he said he needed to get going, and so we parted ways – but I then saw him wandering off from a vantage point I’d found for a photo, and he gestured to the stadium and then raised his hands in rejoice. Needless to say this quick 10 minute chat really made my day – the people here are some of the nicest I have ever met.

Anyway, heartwarming stories about the locals over, here’s a few photos taken during my hour of wandering around the riverside…

La Puente de Toledo
Through the gardens

I soon ended up wandering further down the rivers edge, but then as the sky began to threaten to rain, so I half-ran along the river towards a more modern crossing. The cool swirling metal bridge was empty when I got there, as the cold and the grey had scared all the Spanish away, but the lack of people made for an awesome photo opportunity – here’s my favourite.


But with that I am afraid I must leave you, as I have eaten way too much fresh bread from El Corte Inglés and am now ready to clamber into bed and enjoy what promises to be a very exaggerated lie-in tomorrow morning.

Remember you can always contact me via email with feedback by clicking here or on the envelope at the top right of my site – I won’t be creeped out! Just be aware that I won’t be reading any of it until at least tomorrow afternoon… ¡Buenas noches!