Friday, 12 August 2011

Old friends and new

Touching down in a foreign country at 11.30pm, one might be forgiven for expecting to call it a day and get a good night's kip on order to be on good sight-seeing form the next day. However, as far as the madrileños are concerned the evening only began an hour or so ago, and you have arrived just in time to get the party started! A quick pit-stop at home to ditch the luggage and guzzle down the first beverage of the night... and who should emerge from the fridge, but my dear old friend Don Simon! First aquainted in Màlaga, this brand of cheap but oh-so-refreshing sangría and tinto de verano (literally 'red wine of summer', essentially red wine with lemon fanta) was my tipple of choice on many a night on the Costa del Sol. Unfortunately, I must admit that Don Simon has lost a little of his exoticism in my eyes since his fruit juices began appearing in my local Sainsbury's back home...

Tinto de verano - yum!

My first night in Madrid was a wonderful intermingling of the old with the new, the modern with the unmistakably traditional, as we moved from a fantastically drab corner tapas bar (with typical tasty dishes and the brusk service that should be expected in such places) to a rooftop terrace, complete with classy bar, chic lilo-style seating and a swimming pool (strictly for aesthetic value of course, as a midnight dip may disturb fellow cocktail-sippers).

At this point I would like to issue a WARNING: Alcohol + hot, stuffy city = extra severe hangover.

The next day felt like some kind of initiation process; we made it to the roof terrace of the appartment by around 10.30am and tried our damndest to get used to the heat. In between bouts of reading and dosing we would run across the patio (whimpering as the tiles scalded our feet) to the hosepipe in the corner and breathe a sigh of relief as the cold water provided us with that moment of nirvana. A trip to the air-conditioned supermarket was a welcome treat, although I think the lady behind the cheese and cold meat counter was pleased to see the back of us after my boyfriend insisted on ordering 100g of pretty much everything in sight.  To be fair to him, it was extremely good value - less than 6 euros for a veritable feast!

As I write this post a storm has broken over the city, and delightful, heavy drops of rain are splattering on the balcony, accompanied by growling thunder that reverberates through the narrow streets, illuminated by intermittent flashes of lightning. Storm, glorious storm! Perhaps it will be a little easier to sleep tonight...

TG xx

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