Greetings from Madrid as we move into March!
It’s been a pretty busy February here as the cold weather has finally given way to sunshine and unseasonal (well definitely unseasonal back home) warmth.
Where I’ve Been
It’s been another month mostly confined to the Communidad de Madrid until yesterday that is, when Sarah and I celebrated Leap Day by taking a trip to Avila in Castilla y Léon.
Inspired by cheap train tickets and a desire to visit somewhere we’ve never been before, it turned out to be a lovely day trip with lots of walking round the walls!
My Tercera push also took me to new surroundings in San Fernando de Henares, but the need to get back quickly after the match limited the amount of exploring I could do.
Game of the Month
Tough one this…
Most of the games I went to this month were merely “ok”. Overall probably the best game was Alcorcón B 1-1 Adarve, although I’m not sure how it ended up only having two goals.
That said there’s only one contender for moment of the month…
Depor’s last-minute winner away to Alcorcón not only secured their seventh league win in a row, but also rescued me from only my second 0-0 of the season, and marked the first time I have actually seen Depor win in person since September 2015. The game itself was fairly turgid, but that goal made everything else I’d endured worthwhile.
Most Popular Post
February always seems to be a bad month for web traffic. Is it just something about this time of year that makes people less likely to click on a niche football travel blog?
Anyway, this month’s most popular post was my February Monthly Musings, which also currently holds the title for biggest post of the year.
Not far behind though is my blow-by-blow account of my big day out in Alcorcón supporting the visiting teams as Depor and Adarve came to town.
Coleraine Win Something!
Allow me to spend a while going on about this. It doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough.
As I said last month, I was unable to make it back home for the League Cup Final, but I was able to watch the action unfold on the Internet.
Things didn’t get off to a great start, with Crusaders going in front through a goal from ex-Coleraine striker Jamie McGonigle, but they levelled matters before the break, Stephen Lowry cooly tucking away a penalty.
Then early in the second half, James McLaughlin managed to get enough of his head on Josh Carson’s corner to direct it over the line for what would turn out to be the winner.
The League Cup may only be the third most important of Northern Ireland’s trophies but it is certainly worth celebrating. Coleraine last won it in 1987 and in the last ten years I’ve been at two losing finals, in 2010 and 2012, which rank as two of the most crushingly deflating experiences of my football supporting life.
So watching Coleraine win it from some 1,000 miles away was a somewhat bittersweet experience but at least it means I can get working on an update to the book!
Food Glorious Food!
Back home, I’m not the biggest fan of Nando’s, the spicy Chicken restaurant so beloved of many others. I don’t dislike it per se, it’s just that every single meal I’ve ever had there has never been anything more than just fine.
Despite this, Sarah and I ended up trying the Spanish copy, Sandro’s, near Mendez Alvaro in the middle of the month.
I also paid a visit to Goiko, one of my favourite Spanish chains, and tried their new chicken burger, La Kiki. With two slices of crispy chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, onion and a spicy sauce, it may just have jumped straight to the top of my list for things to order when I next go back there.
I Turned 34
Another year older, not necessarily another year wiser but anyway.
As you may or may not know, 27th February is my birthday. This year it fell on a Thursday, unfortunately a work day again (at least the next two years will see it return to a weekend) which always makes it a lot busier and more complicated. I was still able to celebrate in the evening, a trip to one of my favourite Italian restaurants, La Forchetta near Plaza de Castilla, with Sarah was a nice way to close it out.
I suppose I can be proud of a lot of the things I achieved while I was 33, getting married, getting a book published, growing the readership of this blog far beyond my wildest expectations.
What’s Up Next?
March means it’s just one month until the Easter break and as of yet I have no fixed plans for Semana Santa. I will need to save a bit of money during the month to try and leave some aside for a trip during the holiday.
I’m going to continue on my quest to visit all 20 grounds in the Tercera. Next week I’ve lined up a first trip to Navalcarnero to watch the runaway leaders of the Madrid group, the wonderfully-named Artístico for the first time and I’m hopeful of adding a few others too.
That said, I’m taking a well-earned weekend off from football this weekend. It’s the first weekend I’ve not been to a game since back in September and I am looking forward to it in a way.
So until next time,
All the best,