Haven't written in a while. Julian is here visiting for a few days on his way to London. Been showing him around, and showing him the good life in Madrid. On Thursday we had lunch at one of the restaurants near his hostel, right off of Sol, after he arrived. I was blown away by the quality of the service. Usually you have to wait forever for anything, but these waiters where on top of it. And they were nice. Just in Spanish class the other day, we were talking about how it is impossible to describe waiters as nice/kind (aimable) here in Madrid. But I guess it's included in the price of the lunch. The food was good and very plentiful. We had about a bottle of wine between the two of us and then I had to have the limon con cava dessert. It's like a smoothie with lemon and cava (bubbly wine of Spain), one of my favorites. After a proper 2.5 hour lunch, we went to walk around a little bit in Retiro. We had some ice-cream, there are all over the place and so hard to resist. I caved. Then we went and sat in a cafe and had more drinks. We called it an early night Thursday as we were both exhausted, him from almost 24 hours of travel and me from lack of sleep because of a constantly leaking cistern making noise all night.
On Friday, we met for lunch at one of these little cafes off Preciados. I've been wanting to try them since I see them on the way to my gym all the time. We had some tapas: chroquetas, ensalad, y setas. I really like the way they do mushrooms here. We had a jar of sangrias also. I took this pictures of the view of the little streets through a mostly empty sangrias jar. I thought it kind of symbolizes life here, mid-afternoon leisurely lunch, sunny blue sky, warm weather, good food and conversation, and best of all, nothing to do all afternoon except figure out how best to kill some time before we meet with some of my friends for dinner around 10pm. We originally ordered tortilla too (my personal favorite), but they forgot to bring it. And when the bill came, we both forgot to check whether they put it on or not. We were so relaxed I guess.
In the evening we meet with a bunch of friends for dinner at this nice restaurant. We had about 10 people or so at this big table. I like how they serve wine here in restaurants. For big tables, they just keep bringing out bottle after bottle of wine and filling your glass even if it's half full. The food was good but I was way too full from lunch still so didn't eat much. Still, I had to have the mango sorbet dessert though. For dessert, some people had port and some had this drink called fire water, forgot the name in Spanish. Fire water looks like dessert wine but tastes much stronger. Pretty good. You drink it in tiny glasses like port too. There was this one Scottish guy there, with his Spanish wife, who said the funniest things. Like, "He couldn't hit a donkey's ass with a banjou." Imagine a full Scottish accent. After dinner we followed one of the guys to a different bar. Bob said only a married man would lead people to a bar with nobody in it. =P We tripled the population in the place by just walking in. We had more drinks there and just mingled in groups. We closed out that bar, not sure when. Then we went to an Irish bar and had more drinks and conversation. Closed out that one too around 3:30am. I think most bars are closed by that time, only discos are open. It was freezing cold outside by that point, well, freezing by my standards. Probably in the 50's. So that was Friday night.
Saturday I was majorly hung over. No wonder. So I ended up getting a really late start to the day and didn't do much.
Today, I'm still a bit hung over from all that drinking of the previous days. I've way exceeded my normal capacity for alcohol and continuous drinking. We did end up making it to Rastro though, bought some things. I found Turron (kind of a cross between a dry cookie and candie, with nuts or other things in it) in the grocery at El Corte Igleis, bought some and ate a bunch. =P Kind of OD'd on it now. Ah, the life of indulgence. The gym closed early so I went for a jog in Retiro, trying to get a bit more of a tan before I go to the beach with Lida later this month. That's another thing in the works. She wants to go to a nice beach for the weekend before she leaves. Portugal has been suggested. I think it would be great to visit another country.
Spanish lessons have also been going good. I'm definitely learning a lot, and try to use it as much as possible on the streets and in restaurants.