Greetings from a bus somewhere between Madrid and Zaragoza! That’s the most accurate way of describing my location at the time this post will go live.
It’s a holiday weekend in Spain so Sarah and I are making the most of it by getting away from the big city for a couple of days and visiting somewhere that we’ve wanted to see together for quite some time.
October has been a really long and very busy month but I’ve still had time to fit in plenty of football!
Where I’ve Been
October was really a month for settling back into a routine here in Madrid, so travelling around was kept to a minimum.
Well, travelling for fun I mean.
For the first two weeks of the month Sarah and I were staying in an Air BnB in Vallecas as we weren’t able to find somewhere permanent to move into. With my new job being up in the northern part of the city, this meant a commute of almost an hour twice a day during the week. Which wasn’t ideal.
Thankfully we managed to find somewhere eventually and moved in on 11th October. This has made a huge difference. You have no idea how stressful and unsettling living out of a suitcase is until you’ve done it for a prolonged period of time.
Having lived in the Palos de Moguer area near Atocha last year, it has taken some getting used to not being around there any more. Places I visited every day are now really far away and I need to find replacements. Not living two minutes away from an excellent Indian restaurant is a great way to remove temptation though!
Now we’re located in Valdeacederas, just a few minutes walk away from Plaza de Castilla. It’s an area that’s well-connected – we have lots of options for buses, three metro lines and the Cercanias is only a couple of stops away at Chamartin. More importantly, I have a couple of very local stadiums in the Estadio Vicente Del Bosque, home of Unión Adarve for this season and the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. I think you might have heard of the team that plays there…
Game of the Month
This was quite a difficult one to pick this month because most of the games I went to were solid 6/10 or 7/10 affairs, with no stone-cold classics.
Leganés 1-2 Levante was probably the pick of the bunch though, Lega’s terrible luck at the start of this season being summed up in 90 minutes.
Going behind from a penalty which was wrongly awarded. ✅
Falling further behind when your back-up goalkeeper makes a mess of claiming a cross into the box. ✅
Coming back into the game and getting a goal back, only for your top scorer to miss a penalty. ✅
Missing a chance to equalise in stoppage time when your goalkeeper has a shot cleared off the line. ✅
A defeat by Getafe after the international break saw manager Mauricio Pellegrino part company with los pepineros but fortunately a goal from Martin Braithwaite helped them pick up a vital win against Real Mallorca. Let’s just not mention the 5-0 hammering at the Bernabéu…
Most Popular Post
It was always likely to be it, so no surprise that October’s Monthly Musings hit the top spot this month. As a high percentage of the views for it came from America, I can’t help feeling that it was more down to Sarah’s friends and family looking for inside information on the wedding rather than what I thought of Fuenlabrada v Rayo…
Also popular this month was my post about my experience behind the velvet rope in the VIP section at Butarque when I was given a free ticket to see Leganés’ unfortunate defeat at home to Levante.
Overall, it has been a very good month for the site, featuring both the second highest numbers of clicks and unique visitors since I set up the new domain in January. Thanks to everyone who reads and likes and shares on social media. Your support means a lot to me and it’s been great to meet a few fantastic people through this little hobby of mine.
Kit of the Month
I was certain that this was going to be Athletic Club’s away strip for the 2019/20 season, a stunning dark green ensemble trimmed with red and gold but when they took to the pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano last Saturday night they were actually wearing last season’s blue away shirt. Almost as disappointing as Athletic’s failure to make the match a proper contest.
I’ve seen some lovely kits this month and a few shockers too (Rayo and Tenerife, I’m looking at you!) but the kit I’m picking is one that I’ll own pretty soon, that of Unión Adarve! In the summer I bought a season ticket for Adarve, partially because I really enjoyed watching them that one time last season, partially because they are playing at the Estadio Vicente Del Bosque but also because for €40 they offered a special Season Ticket and Shirt offer!
I bought it over the summer, but I’ve finally got round to starting Colin Millar’s history of the Sevilla- Real Betis rivalry, The Frying Pan of Spain. When I lived in Huelva, I regularly travelled over to Sevilla and it quickly became my favourite city in Spain. I’ve attended numerous matches at both grounds, but sadly never El Gran Derbí which is surely one for the bucket list.
The book looks at the history of both clubs but also delves into what makes Sevilla such a special city, to quote the old song, “Sevilla tiene un color especial“. More than anything, it has intensified my desire to head back there this season.
Food, Glorious Food! (Tapapiés Special)
October means it’s Tapapiés time again and we outdid ourselves this year, visiting the area three times (despite me not living in the immediate vicinity like I did last year) and tried twelve different tapas, which I’ve managed to narrow down to a top five.
5. Criollita from La Funda-Mental
Cool bar decorated with lots of pictures of Diego Maradona, Kim Jong-Un (of course) and lots of Athletic Club memorabilia. Their empanada was one of my favourites last year and this year’s lived up to the standard.
4. Tentarella from O Pazo de Lugo
Basically a pulpo tostada, but well worth the seemingly interminable wait in a crowded bar for.
3. Tequeño de Queso con pan de yuca from L Bar de Lavapiés
Tequeños are a favourite entrante of mine in a number of restaurants here and this was a nice spin on them.
2. Don Fernando from La Pianola Bar
Another bar which proved difficult to get served in due to a lack of space and there not being many staff on duty. But after two failed attempts it was third time lucky this spicy pork sandwich was a real highlight. The wee cup of caldo was a nice touch too.
1. Lasagna de pesto rojo from Bresca Lavapiés
The undisputed winner for me this year. The first time we went they were sold out but on the second trip we got there in time. I love lasagna and I’d honestly love to try a full-size version of this recipe sometime soon!
Biggest Mood Swing
Going by the timings of my messages on WhatsApp, between 10:19pm and 10:38pm on 10th October.
Just before the first one, Josh Magennis our Northern Ireland ahead against the Netherlands in Rotterdam, inspiring hopes of one of the greatest victories in the country’s footballing history.
GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! JOSH MAGENNIS!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY WORD!!!!!! SCENES IN ROTTERDAM!!! #GAWA
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) October 10, 2019
Less than 20 minutes later I was disconsolate as three late goals from the Dutch condemned NI to a 3-1 defeat and left dreams of automatic qualification for next summer’s Euros looking remote.
There’s still a fair chance of Michael O’Neill’s men securing a play-off spot and the victory over a Czech team who has just beaten England has illustrated that had we not been so unfortunate as to be lumped in a group with two European heavyweights in the Netherlands and Germany, then we could well have been on course for automatic qualification.
Moan of the Month
Serious issue here, it’s really difficult to rent a flat in Madrid. It’s a brutal business and one that I wasn’t really prepared for.
During the time Sarah and I were looking we ran into a few difficulties with some owners looking for so much paperwork and so many financial guarantees that it felt like they thought we were looking to buy the place rather than just rent it.
We were lucky in the end, but only because my new boss knew someone looking to rent a place and he was willing to let to us without requiring us to empty our bank accounts to pay several months up front or find someone willing to act as a guarantor for us.
What’s Up Next?
Well this weekend, as I mentioned at the start, we’re off to Zaragoza! It’s somewhere we’ve both had on our lists for a while and it seemed like a nice place for our first trip together since the wedding.
We’ve not been able to take our honeymoon, that’s been delayed until next summer, so we’ll be taking a few “mini-moons” through the year. This weekend also marks a year since we got engaged, so it’s the perfect time for such a trip!
Unfortunately Real Zaragoza’s match very inconveniently kicks off late on Sunday, so I can’t tick La Romareda off my list of must-see grounds for this season yet. But bus tickets are quite cheap and the journey isn’t too long, so I’m not ruling out a day trip sometime in the Spring.
I’m trying to plan out my matches well in advance using the wonderful Groundhopper App and have a few more lower league grounds pencilled in, but the potential highlight of November (aside from #DíaDelFútbolModesto3) is on the 23rd… Leganés v Barça at 1pm and Real Madrid v Real Sociedad at 9pm. I’d love to do both, but if I had to choose, I’d head to Butarque. It’s pretty bizarre that I have never actually seen Barcelona play live since I moved to Spain six years ago, my sole experience remains my trip to the Camp Nou in 2011.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy Autumn in Madrid by taking plenty of walks around the city, at least as long as the lovely weather holds up. I’m sure we’re due some rain before too long but I want to make the most of the unseasonable warmth while I can.
So until next time,
All the best,