Greetings! Even though it’s April Fool’s Day, I’m not going to try and pull some elaborate prank in this post, instead I’m just going to do the usual rundown of where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks as the end of the spring term approaches.
March has felt like quite a long month, but the arrival of Spring and the longer days has made it much easier to enjoy my free time.
Where I’ve Been
It’s been another month confined to the Communidad de Madrid I’m afraid, though I was at least able to escape the city by visiting Alcalá de Henares on 3rd March. It was my first visit and I really enjoyed visiting the historic birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and seeing the sights of the compact city centre. It’s a short ride on the Cercanias train from Atocha and it’s easy to walk around.
Some very nice restaurants and coffee shops around the centre in which to take a break from your sightseeing as well, with the added bonus of small town prices.
Another touristy thing I managed to do this month was take the Teleférico de Madrid from Rosales near the centre, out to Casa de Campo. It’s a fun trip (only lasting 11 minutes each way) and you get some great views of the city as you go.
An adult return ticket is only €6 so it’s well worth a go if you’re looking for something to fill an afternoon.
And back at the start of the month, Sarah and I visited Parque de Quinta de los Molinos to see the cherry blossom in bloom. Plenty of other people had the same idea that day and although it was busy, it was a nice way to spend the morning.
I’ve been able to make the most of the amazing weather and so plenty of walking around new parts of Madrid and spent some idyllic afternoons relaxing in parks. It’s only going to get warmer from here on too.
Game of the Month
Erm, March has brought slim pickings on this front.
My first game in March came when I visited Alcalá de Henares back on the first weekend of the month and I took the opportunity to visit the Estadio Del Val for RSD Alcalá v CD San Fernando. A typically feisty lower league derby, it was nonetheless a 0-0.
Arguably worse than that was Atlético 1-0 Leganés, where the home side were saving themselves for their ultimately doomed visit to Turin in the Champions League, while Lega had already written the game off, getting four key players booked in the previous game so they’d miss this rather than a match against a direct rival. There wasn’t much to write home about in the following week’s game either, aside from Lega surrendering their long unbeaten record at Butarque to Girona.
Thank goodness then for Unión Adarve v Coruxo on the last day of the month. An utterly bonkers 3-3 thriller in Segunda B. Unfortunately not much use for Adarve in their battle to avoid relegation to the Tercera, but great Sunday afternoon entertainment for me and all for just €10.
Most Popular Post
I’d been promising it for a long time, so it was no surprise that Getafe: More Than Meets The Eye was the most-read post on the blog during March. Timed perfectly to coincide with their rise into the Champions League places, it was fun to take a look back at the crazy history of one of Madrid’s less glamorous clubs. I had to cut so much good stuff out to keep it at a readable length too!
It’s not a new post but El Derbi Histórico, my account of the ancient enmity between Leganés and Getafe which I originally published in December, was read and shared quite a lot in the run up to last Saturday’s return fixture between the two.
Souvenirs of the Month
Any long-term readers of this blog will know that I love collecting scarves. Any time I go somewhere new, picking up a scarf from the local team (or teams) is always one of my main objectives. This month I’m pleased to say that I’ve added a couple more to the collection.
The aforementioned trip to watch RSD Alcala was at least good for picking up their scarf, which I should add is a really good quality one for a Tercera team. And when watching Unión Adarve I managed to pick up their scarf before the merchandise stand was packed up prematurely because of rain.
Still no progress on adding the elusive Rayo Majadahonda or Fuenlabrada scarves to the collection. I’ll hopefully be able to work on that before the end of the season.
Kit of the Month
It’s one I’ve bought this month rather than one I’ve seen (despite a real fondness for the unique designs of Union Adarve and Coruxo’s kits) and there’s a bit of a story behind it.
At the end of February, I tweeted the excellent football kit blog Museum of Jerseys about the unusual situation which forced Coleraine to wear their away kit in a home match against Glentoran. This was later featured on a post on their website (which you can read here) alongside some other notable oddities from the previous week.
Later in the month came the news that the parent company of CXSport, the club’s kit supplier,would be winding down their operations, so I was keen to get the shirt while I still could. A couple of quick messages to a contact back home and it was on its way to me in Madrid. Although not a traditional club colour, I do have a certain fondness for Coleraine in red. In fact the 2010-12 red away kit is one of my all-time favourites!
Food Glorious Food III
A return for this (popular?) section of the Monthly Musings updates, which is really just an excuse to share my Instagram food pics and pass on a couple of tips for nice places to visit for food if you’re in the Madrid area.
Just to prove that I do occasionally eat healthily when I go out, here’s a shout-out for Honest Greens. It’s a Spanish chain with a number of restaurants in Madrid (I prefer their location near Nuevos Ministerios) and they specialise in ethically-sourced, organic produce. You choose a market plate (meat-based) or a garden bowl (salad-based) and you can add extra meat/vegetables or a side dish for a wee bit extra. Plus, they have refillable drinks. Always a good thing!
And a shout out for somewhere in my local area I’ve only discovered recently. I don’t know how many times we walked past Brooklyn Pizzeria on Calle Ancora before Sarah suggested we try it earlier in 2019. And of course we’ve been back a couple of times since!
It’s a bit of a hidden gem, offering delicious New York-style pizza at a reasonable price (everything is priced around €9-€10) with a good variety of toppings and the staff are happy to customise their set dishes slightly to meet your requirements.
It’s very small inside, so not suitable for big parties, but there is space outside for a terraza when the really good weather arrives.
And I couldn’t let this part of the post end without mentioning Luso Coffee Shop, near Metro Anton Martin on Calle de Atocha.
Visiting here has become a bit of a Sunday afternoon tradition because they sell, no hyperbole here, the best Pastels de Nata outside of Portugal (that I’ve tried anyway).
Why are they so good? Well, it may be that the ingredients all come direct from Portugal before being made fresh every day in the café. Seriously, try to catch them when there’s a new batch straight out of the oven. They are amazing.
They also do variations on the traditional format, including a raspberry one and one topped with strawberry and Nutella. It’s well worth a quick visit if you’re ever in the centre of the city.
Well, April promises to be a really exciting month.
First up, I’m heading out of the city again, taking the train into Castilla y Leon to visit Valladolid for the first time. Needless to say I already have my ticket bought for Valladolid v Sevilla that day so not only will I get to visit a new city, I’m going to tick another ground off the list too.
Then the following weekend, when I get my long overdue Easter holidays, I’m leaving Spain for a few days and heading next door to Portugal! In my Six Football Dreams for 2019 post, I talked about my hankering to return to Lisbon and having managed to secure cheap accommodation and good deals on overnight buses, I’m going to spend the first half of the holidays there.
The football highlight of the trip will (barring any ludicrous last-minute rearrangements) be Benfica v Vitoria Setubal, which will allow me to complete the set of Portugal’s big three. Hopefully I can fit in some more football-related sightseeing there too, while visiting the things I was forced to miss out on during my rain-lashed 2016 visit.
I’m also hoping that some Segunda B or Tercera teams will move their Easter weekend matches forward to Good Friday as it would greatly assist me in my goal of seeing more lower league football before the end of the season.
But before all that, there are still two weeks of class to be safely negotiated, with end of term reports to be written, so I can’t afford to relax too much, even though the holidays are in sight!
Until next time,
All the best,