Bank Holidays. Spain absolutely loves them, this week we have 2, Tuesday and Thursday!
They're great, especially as Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busy days, so I have only 4 lessons to plan this week instead of 13. And, I thought, what a great opportunity to do something seasonal like wander around looking at the Christmas lights, or buy some presents, or make some cards, or go on a day trip to one of the pretty towns around Madrid. So what did I do today?
I woke up at 10:30 and went to a cash machine to get out money to pay my rent, because my flatmate had stuck a post-it to my door saying he was leaving at 11:15 and I had to give him the money before then. I paid him, then went back to bed. He said (employing his usual tact) I had a 'face of sleep'. I then woke up at 4pm, starving and slightly regretting the waste of so many hours of a national holiday in bed.
Must try harder on Thursday, but having already made plans to go out on Wednesday night, it may or may not work out. This week has already become a pattern of going out and sleeping, and going out and sleeping... But, as always, it wasn't really my fault. I just get swept along!
What happened was, yesterday I decided to go out after work for 'a few drinks' with Pops and her friends who (of course) were Lovely People. We made ourselves dizzy standing inside the big Christmas tree at Sol, then went to 100 Montaditos to sample the new menu (do it- they've got calamares now!) and the 1euro jarras of beer (just short of a pint). In case I haven't mentioned it before, it's a place everyone here loves, mainly because of the extremely cheap beers and the fact you order off a menu with hundreds of montaditos (mini bocadillos, little baguette sandwiches basically which have a slight tendancy to rip the roof of your mouth apart but are nice) which are numbered, and then you get your food from a hatch when they shout your name. It is always funny to give a fake name. Or a Scottish one.
Then we went to an Asturian sidreria to drink cider. To plan a night around Spanish food and drink is heaven. It was Ñeru, on calle Bordadores, 5. I ate the most intense cheese I've ever tasted. It's made from cows' and goats' milk and maybe sheep's milk as well, and spread on bread as a tapa it's really blue. I think it's called Cabrales. It actually hurt my mouth, which was feeling sensitive after all the montaditos, but it was delicious. And because there was a Spaniard amongst us, we drank the cider the Proper Way, which involves pouring about 2 shots worth into your glass from high up in the air, and downing it before something bad happens with the sediment, or something. It's really good cider, but compared to sipping the large beers moments before it was a quite hardcore drinking environment, I kept falling behind! The place is definitely worth a visit, the man who's behind it is a bit of a legend (/was, he died in 2005) and there are photos all over the walls of him in a dodgy suit and large moustache with various celebs, football teams and other people, and in not a single one does he look at the camera. Go see for yourself.
Then, we decided to continue the night in La Latina and got lured into a strangely long bar with bad mojitos, and after that, bought some cans from the beer sellers and sat in the Plaza discussing childhood tv favourites and singing the Sharky and George theme tune. It was a really good night, totally unexpected, and I ended up taxiing home around 5am.
I've just realised, what I've just said is that on the night of the 5th of December 2011, I sat outside happily chatting for over an hour and I don't remember ever feeling toooo cold. I did not wake up with hypothermia, I did not lose any fingers to frostbite. I LOVE SPAIN.
(enjoying the snow, Scotland?)
I've skipped the weekend, which was another fun and unexpected night, only marred by getting my mobile stolen. I will write about this later. Again, I feel like half the stuff I write here you must think I make up. But I don't! I mean I might get some details wrong (the meat never did hit Poppy in the face, it hit her somewhere on her jacket, I do apologise) but I never aim to deceive. Madrid is just brilliant and unpredictable and you should all move here.