So this was my first weekend in my new home, and it was fantastic. Here’s how I spent my first weekend in Madrid….
I slept in due to the black-out blinds in my bedroom and woke up slightly disorientated, in the pitch black at 9.45am!! Blinds drawn and the sun poured into my little flat. I ate, dressed, and headed out to Chamberi Market.
The market is about a 5-10 minute walk from my house and is filled with different stalls, carnecerías (butchers), pescaderías (fishmongers), verdulerías (greengrocers) and more besides! At first I just wandered around, taking it all in.
It is not that big but there are a load of different stalls and I wasn’t sure which ones to go to. Then bit by bit I went for it…! This is not like shopping in a supermarket, you can’t just pick up a bag of whatever it is you want. For example, I spotted some lentils and asked for some “lentejas” – the first question is how much do you want? I went for 400g, which was spooned out in a paper bag, weighed and handed to me. More of the same as I continued going round the market – how much cumin did I want?! That’s a hard one, I had no idea in grams. I let him tip it out of a huge pot until I thought I had more than enough. Everyone was very friendly, as the Spanish are, full of holas and hasta luegos and que tals? The Spanish are all very friendly and it is completely normal, in your local neighbourhood at least, to say hola or buenos días or even just buenos as you pass someone.
I picked up the aforementioned lentils, spices, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, carrots, blueberries, strawberries and more besides all for about £14. The strawberries were bright red and plump, poured into a little twist of paper and providing the perfect, sweetest snack over the next few days. Oh I love strawberries.
Back from the market and it was time to head out for an 8 mile run. I ran through town initially, ending up at the Moncloa metro. From here there is a closed road leading down through the park – I think it is called the Rosaleda de Madrid. It is newly tarmac-ed and in fantastic condition, but for some reason is closed to all but buses. It is also a good 1.5/2km down quite a steep hill and so the road was filled with teenage boys on skateboards going downhill and then carrying the boards back up, plus cyclists heading out of town and runners going down with huge smiles on their faces and trudging uphill with grimaces. From the bottom of the hill I ran south along the riverside and then back again.
Home and I had 10 minutes to shower, change and put some makeup on before heading out for lunch. I can be a whirlwind when I want to be and was out with a minute to spare. I hopped onto the metro at Rubén Dario, for a few stops down to Opera. For a 10-trip pass, it costs 12 euro – less than £10. Madrid is crazy-cheap compared to London.
I was meeting another new Madrileña, another trainee from a London law firm working in Madrid for six months (the Friday night drinks I mentioned previously had to be cancelled last minute due to work). The roof terrace we were looking to go to was full so we wandered around, like most English people unable to contemplate the thought of not being in the sun when it was actually out. We eventually found somewhere that turned out to be quite posh and settled down for a few plates of tapas and two glasses of really nice cold white wine. Sadly I can’t remember the name or find it on the map but I will go back!
From there we wandered up to the Plaza Mayor and took a seat in the sun at one of the restaurants for some people-watching…. oh and more wine-drinking. While I wouldn’t recommend eating in one of these restaurants – its a well-known fact that the more touristy the place, the worse the food – it is a great spot for a drink!
After we’d finished a bottle of wine between two of us we went for a wander around Madrid, walking up the Gran Vía and visiting the roof terrace on top of the Corte Ingles. I am desperate to return here as the sunset and the views were magnificent, but sadly we were far too late to find anywhere to sit and so just took in the views for a bit before walking towards La Latina.
We found a bar on Santa Ana and finished up the evening with some sangria, then some tapas and another bottle of wine, before slowly walking home all the way through Madrid.
A slightly slow start… followed by an attempt at making a tortilla just as well as they do it here – not a great attempt but there will be more to come! After lunch I caught the metro to my new swimming pool in Chueca (more on that to follow) and spent a quick half an hour swimming. The afternoon was whiled away with a book in Retiro Park with friends, eating chocolate ice cream and drinking diet coke before home to make dinner and prepare for the next week.
Not a bad way of spending a weekend!