Wednesday: After two loooooong months, I was lucky enough to receive a visit from my boyfriend, Tommy! As a college graduate with a “big boy job” as I like to call it, Tommy took a PAID (so unfair) week off of work to adventure with me in Europe. I couldn’t have been happier to see him and was anxious the entire week before. When I finally picked him up at the airport on Wednesday, I was all smiles!
The timing of Tommy’s trip to see me was even more special because he just had his 23rd birthday a few days before, and we were celebrating 6 months together (for which he gave me the most thoughtful gift in the world- a bracelet with the coordinates of the park where we went on our first date!!). 6 months may not sound like a super long time but A) he’s put up with me for half a year and B) that’s a pretty big commitment to make when your significant other is on a different continent for a good chunk of that time. Nevertheless, I was so incredibly happy to have a little piece of home with me in Madrid, in the form of my favorite guy.
I wanted to treat Tommy to a special dinner for his birthday so after checking into our hostel, The Hat (which was super nice!), we made our way to the restaurant at which I had made reservations. I was all excited because I had researched the best paella in Madrid and I really wanted to treat Tommy to a nice dinner, as well as have him try some of the traditional food of Spain.
Of course, we were lost and wandered around trying to find the restaurant for nearly an hour. I was ready to give up when we finally got to Paella de la Reinaand let me tell you, it was worth the wait! We got a pan of vegetarian paella, as well as a jug of sangria, to share. After devouring our dinner, the waiter turned off the lights and walked in with a little candle-topped dessert for Tommy, telling me that was the best he could do because I definitely didn’t want to hear him sing.
After the restaurant, we were supposed to meet my friends at our favorite club that we always go to on Wednesdays but after a day of travel he was, understandably, exhausted so we headed back to catch up and get a good night’s sleep.
Thursday: I had to wake up even earlier than usual because, instead of being a 5 minute walk from school, I was a half hour metro ride away. NOT the best for someone like me, who is always late. However, the hostel had a yummy breakfast for us in the morning so Tommy and I had breakfast together in the lobby before I headed to class and he went back to the room to sleep off a bit of jet lag. When I got back from class we packed up our stuff and headed back to my apartment, where my host mom had a delicious lunch of traditional Spanish food so he could try it all! This was perfect because she makes the world’s best croquetas and tortilla! It was also nice for Tommy to get the chance to see the apartment I had been living in and meet my host family. I had to translate for both parties but it was a comforting feeling to show Tommy my new home.
Unfortunately, I had one more class after lunch so Tommy came with me and sat downstairs playing video games or something of that sort. After stopping back at my apartment to pack up our bags for Greece, we then headed to our first Airbnb. Though it was in Madrid, it was a part of the city I had never been to and didn’t know my way around. It was just getting dark as we stepped out of the metro so the directions the woman we we were staying with gave us didn’t really make sense since we couldn’t see anything. We asked a few people for directions and ended up quite lost. After going to a little bakery for sweets and trying to figure out our next step, we saw one of the people we had asked for directions running after us. He said he had realized he pointed us in the wrong direction and had been running around trying to find us to help us out! Sometimes relying on the kindness of strangers really works out; he ended up walking us right to the Airbnb and we were incredibly thankful.
Once we finally got there, we didn’t want to go far and not be able to get back so we went to a local pizza place that was also randomly Lord of the Rings themed or something? Weird but good. We headed back to the Airbnb and took showers that ran cold before going to sleep at a reasonable hour to get a VERY early start the next morning.
Monday: After a fabulous weekend in Greece, Tommy and I had a couple more days together in Madrid! I had some nice plans for us but they were mostly outdoor-related which doesn’t work out when it’s rainy and abnormally cold out. Unfortunately, that meant that he didn’t get the full Madrid experience. Next time!
After picking up the rest of his stuff- and packing a little bag for myself- at my apartment, we made our way to our next Airbnb, an adorable apartment in the neighborhood of La Latina. We were excited to finally shower and get some food after a morning and afternoon of traveling, but there were some issues with the power in the apartment. AKA it kept turning off which was incredibly annoying. By the time our host had an electrician friend come over to take a look and everything was working fine again, all the restaurants in the area were no longer serving lunch. Instead, we headed to a local bar for wine and tapas.
Later on, we ventured back out for dinner at this awesome vegetarian restaurant I’d heard about, Viva la Vida. It was literally a 5 minute walk from the apartment we were staying at but the GPS on my Spanish phone is awful so we took quite a few detours before FINALLY getting there. Ravenous, we ordered the house white wine (of course- we are big on wine) and I translated the menu into English for Tommy. We ended up ordering the most delicious veggie burgers I’ve ever had in my life. So delicious, in fact, that I brought my friends back the following week!
Tuesday: Back to class! Again I had to wake up and make the trek to CIS for class. I came right back after so that Tommy and I could go out for lunch together. We ended up hitting up the super nice sushi place right by my apartment that I’ve been eyeing all semester. We somehow always end up getting sushi together so it was right up our alley! Afterwards we went to get groceries at the Carrefour (a European supermarket chain). Since food is so cheap in Spain and we enjoy cooking together, we decided to do utilize the kitchen in our Airbnb and cook dinner together Tuesday and Wednesday night.
After lugging the groceries home, I had another class to get back to. Since I had missed a trip to Museo Prado for my Civ class when I was in Italy, I decided to drag Tommy with me that evening. However, the Prado is pretty inconveniently located in between multiple metros and I couldn’t remember exactly how to get there. We ended up there 10 minutes before closing and they wouldn’t let anyone in. So, of course, we went shopping instead. While walking back to the metro, we spotted a cool tapas place and decided to try it. After some delicious tapas and even more delicious wine, I remembered that I had not yet brought Tommy to get churros at the famous San Gines chocolatería. Of course that meant we had to make our way over to Solbecause what’s better than drunk churros? Answer: nothing.
We headed back to the apartment much later, and much fuller, than expected and had to take a bit of a power nap before we started getting dinner ready. We had a delicious dinner of gnocchi with pesto sauce, tons of veggies, and vegan meatballs I randomly found at Carrefour while Tommy played a fancy dinner playlist from his phone at midnight. Oh, the romance….
Wednesday: Since this was our last full day together, I skipped my morning classes (sorry parents/teachers) so I could spend more time with Tommy. We got a bit of a late start, which I guess happens when you don’t finish dinner until after nearly 1am, and I brought him to Mercado San Miguelfor lunch. It ends up being a bit pricier, but this was a great way to have Tommy try tons of different typical Spanish foods in more bite-sized portions. They also had this AMAZING white sangria. Afterwards we walked around Plaza Mayorand Sol before my class at 3.
Tommy was intent on getting a new pair of shoes so we headed back to the streets off of Sol to do a bit of shopping! Finally when we were both hungry (and a bit grumpy), we had our leftover pasta before going to a flamenco show! I had just been telling him that morning how I should’ve taken him to see flamenco while he was in Spain, then we happened upon a booth at the mercado where a woman was selling tickets to Cardamomo Tablao Flamenco for that night! We got our own little table and enjoyed a fantastic show together over tortilla and sangria.
When we got back, we whipped up some vegetarian tacos before packing up all our stuff in preparation for the following morning.
Thursday: The day I had been dreading- Tommy flew home at basically the crack of dawn. We had called a taxi for 4:45am to the airport, where we said a tearful goodbye at security. Watching him walk in the other direction was absolutely awful but we got to share an incredible week of European adventures together. And really, how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?