So Much to Catch Up On…

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Yes, I know.  I’ve been a bad, bad blogger once again, as I haven’t posted since the beginning of June.

It’s just been a bit of a busy period lately.. I’ve been away on holidays again TWICE, celebrated Pride in London, dealt with an exhausting situation at work, trying to study for my PRINCE2 certification, and just generally been trying to enjoy the summer as it comes.

Early June saw me return to Madrid for another long weekend, and I got to see so much more of the city that I missed last time.  Yes, it was still disappointing that my ‘friend’ there forgot that I was coming causing me to get a last minute hotel room.. but it definitely allowed me my freedom for the weekend.

The week before that trip there was a big change at work – my colleague was asked to help in another office for a week or two as cover, as that part of the department was moving locations and a couple people quit instead of moving.

Meaning I was going to be working alone during that time..

This supposed temporary cover quickly became permanent as she liked it and chose to transfer, which wasn’t much of a surprise as they’re much busier than we are.  What was a surprise is how the bosses decided that I’d be able to do it all myself as we’re ‘not busy enough for two people’, even though we’ve told them it’s too much for one person.

Most nights I was coming home mentally exhausted and would crash as soon as I got in the door.  This means that I haven’t done a lot of studying for my course, even though my bosses have said they’d add to my recent raise once I’ve finished the first part of it.  I’m trying.. but it hasn’t been easy.

So now it’s about two months later and I’m still working alone.. and on my most recent week off, they didn’t even bother to have someone cover for me so I returned to work last Monday to a massive load of work.  It was a rough week, but I think I’m almost caught up now.

Speaking of.. I had to use up the last of my holidays before they reset end of July, so decided last minute to spend a couple nights in Barcelona and then the rest of the week in the beautiful Sitges.  This allowed me to have both a city and a beach break at the same time.

Barcelona was just absolutely stunning!!  I’d never been there before, so was looking forward to exploring the city and doing one of the bus tours as I technically only had one full day there.  On my way to the buses, I got cruised by this very handsome Spanish daddy-bear, who looked so much like a friend back in London that it gave me a shock.

Obviously I just had to delay my planned bus tour.  Hehehe

After that very lovely distraction, I finally got to the touristy stuff and saw a lot of the city from the open-top tour bus.  There’s so much to see there that I clearly need to return for another visit, as I didn’t really get to explore much (only had so much time on the bus).

For the rest of the week, I went just south of Barcelona to the seaside village of Sitges, which is known for it’s gay scene around the world (think the Spanish Provincetown), and has a massive bear week every September which friends keep raving about.

It was such a lovely place to wander around, enjoy the sea and the sand, and the place itself just had such an amazing laid-back vibe that I can’t wait to return.  The naturist beach was phenomenal and so inclusive.  And the sea was so amazing that I didn’t want to get out of it, especially on my last day.  Hahaha

Oh and it definitely helped that I ran into a few people I knew from London there.  And that handsome distraction from Barcelona?  He actually lives in Sitges, so we got to see each other several times whilst there.. mostly when his boyfriend was at work.  Ooopsy!! LOL

So other that all that, we had London Pride (meh..), a very grey and chilly July, and my landlord was here most of June (double meh..).

Oh, and it was my birthday end of June. Other than meeting a lovely friend for dinner and drinks of the day itself (a Thursday), I didn’t do much else to celebrate my day.  I’d taken a nice long weekend for it, but didn’t really leave the house during it.  I just didn’t feel like doing much, especially as I barely heard from anyone during that time (other than the usual Facebook birthday greetings).

But oh well.. that’s in the past, and I have to say I’ve been having a very lovely summer, and am amazed at how much travelling I’ve done this year so far (4 trips already.. all to Spain funny enough lol).

We’ll have to see what the rest of the year brings and how things go at work.

And hopefully even more amazing holidays. 😀

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Los Hábitats Españoles

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Whenever I travel, I tend to be a bit of a worrier and double (if not triple) check all of my travel arrangements to ensure everything will be okay.  It’s basically the same whenever I leave my house, as I check and re-check that I have my keys, wallet, and so forth.

Ok.. so maybe it’s a little OCD on my part, but better same than sorry.

It all stems from a few years ago when I was supposed to travel to Madrid to meet a (then) mate from Amsterdam for a naughty weekend. It was planned a couple of months in advance, and we were both looking forward to it.

Only when I arrived at the airport to check in, there was no booking.  The person at the check-in counter checked and checked again to no avail.

Apparently when I had booked my flight, I hadn’t double-checked the travel dates, as I had actually booked the flight for another date.. a month prior!

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What a mess… And there was nothing I could do except book another really expensive flight, something I couldn’t afford so I had to let me mate know I wasn’t coming.

Well, wouldn’t you know it.. it’s kind of happened again.  And with another trip to Madrid, no less!!!

Only this time it isn’t an issue with the flights (I checked.. again), but with my accommodation.  Dammit..

When I was there in January, I’d met an absolutely gorgeous, sexy and super friendly guy, and we’d hit it off right away.  We’d spent a chunk of my weekend there together, and had kept in touch after I’d returned to London.

We were chatting just after I’d returned from Gran Canaria, and I joked that I should come for a visit.  He agreed, so I looked at flights and made sure he was around next weekend, and figured all was good to go.

But over the past week or so, I’d started to get a little niggling feeling in the back of my head, especially as I hadn’t heard from him since I’d booked my flights.  And I started to get a bit paranoid that I’d just assumed that I was staying with him as neither of us had come right out and said as much.

Well… the worrying started to get to me so I sent him a message when I got home from work on Wednesday night.

And damn.. it was a good thing I did as he forgot all about it!!!! 

Basically, we were chatting about upcoming holidays and I’d mentioned I was looking to plan something for my week off in July.. but until I decided that holiday, I was just looking forward to my trip to Madrid next weekend.  To which he asked which dates I was coming…

That’s when the penny dropped.

After I told him my travel dates, and he immediately started to apologise.  Apparently he’d forgotten to write it in his diary and had already agreed for a ‘friend’ to come stay for the weekend.

WHAT?!?!?!

Let’s just say there was a hell of a lot of swearing and yelling (at my mobile) on my part.  A LOT.

How the hell could I have not made sure of all this before now?  I’d been worried about it awhile, so why hadn’t I mentioned something to him?

Of course, it’s not really my fault when you think about it.  I did tell him when I’d booked the flights and how long I was going to be in town for.  I even made sure he knew when my flight was arriving so we could arrange to meet up once he finished work.

I said to him point blank (finally) that I thought I was staying with him for the weekend, which was why I’d checked he was around back when I’d booked my flights.  The last thing I’d expected was to have to find a place to stay for the weekend.. especially as the main reason I was going to Madrid was to spend time with HIM.

There was a LOT of apologising on his end for obvious reasons.  He said he usually always writes this sort of thing down (how many ‘friends’ does he have come to visit him?!?), but somehow forgot about me.

Just my damn luck, huh?

He did confirm that his friend wasn’t arriving until Saturday afternoon, so I could at least stay with him on the Friday night.  So then it was about scrambling to to find something relatively decent for the remaining two nights.

It’s most definitely NOT what I had planned or budgeted for, but it’ll have to do.  My poor credit card…

All I can say is he’s definitely going to have to beg and plead for my forgiveness on the Friday night (he’s joked that he’ll be my slave for the night… hmmmm).  He can at least buy me dinner for all this trouble.

The upside is I now have a centrally located hotel for the remaining two evenings, so who knows what trouble I could get myself into.  🙂

Escapada de Madrid

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Sometimes you just need to get away from your daily routine and do something different.  And sometimes it’s more about getting away from your surroundings and seeing somewhere new.

I was starting to feel the usual urge to get out in the world a bit and do some travelling.  I’d come to the realisation that I hadn’t really been on holiday since last June when I spent my birthday in Rome.

Well, other than when I went home to Canada to surprise the family back in October.  As lovely as that was, it was less a holiday for me as for them if that makes sense.

Anyway, my decision to go to Madrid last weekend was fairly spur of the moment as I happened to find a super cheap flight online so decided to go for it.  Once that was booked, I found a simple little room that was quite central and walking distance to the Chueca area (where the gay bars are).

20170127_104721What also helped the decision was I have a friend that moved back there from London about 6 years ago and we hadn’t seen each other in at least that long.  We’d talked several times about me coming over for a visit, but I’d never gotten around to it.

Plus surprisingly I’d never been to Madrid before.  Any other trips I’d taken to Spain over the years have always been in the South or to Gran Canaria (where I’ll be visiting once again this coming April..).

Interestingly, unlike other trips I’ve made in the past, I didn’t really have a plan for once I’d arrived.  I’d kinda looked online at what there was to do there, but instead decided to just wing it and see where the weekend took me.

I just wanted to have a nice fun, relaxing weekend.  And that’s exactly what I got.

20170129_140357Unfortunately, my friend that lives there was going to be in Seville for most of the weekend and wouldn’t be free until Sunday afternoon/evening.  So that meant I had from Friday afternoon until then to keep myself entertained.

After checking into my little room (when they said small single, they weren’t kidding!), I grabbed a map and started wandered around the immediate area to get my bearings and to find a bite to eat.  It’s definitely a walking city (with an extensive Metro system) and I found my way around easily.

Once back in my room to relax a bit in the evening, I logged into the usual social/dating apps to see what sort of guys were in the area.  I had a few messages from a couple guys but one definitely caught my eye.. a tall, fit, sexy guy who clearly liked chubbier guys.

After a bit of online chatting and flirting, we decided to meet up for a drink and he even offered to meet me at my hostal to walk to the bar together.  Such a gentleman.

We spent a lovely evening together in a couple of bars chatting about life, drinking, and yes, flirting like crazy.  We seemed to get along quite easily and it felt quite comfortable spending time together… so much so, that I stayed at his place that night and we spent most of the next day together cuddled up on his sofa.

Such an amazing way to spend the day and get to know each other a bit.  I’d originally planned on leaving around midday to play tourist, but the day completely got away from us.  Next thing we knew it was about 6pm and he had to get ready to meet some friends for dinner, so I leisurely walked back to my hostal with a promise to meet up later in the evening for drinks.

20170130_122102What I hadn’t expected was to get to meet a couple of his friends when we went out for drinks that night.  And one friend of a friend turned out to be a guy I used to run into occasionally at the bear bar in Soho.  We weren’t friends so I didn’t even know he’d moved to Spain.

Anyway, it was a fun evening but I chose to be a ‘good boy’ and go back to my hostal for the night so I could get up and do the touristy thing on Sunday.. though I could have easily spent the entire weekend with him.  He was that easy to get along with, and it seemed like the feeling was mutual.

The rest of the weekend was spend wandering around, seeing the sites as planned, and then meeting up with my mate Sunday evening for a couple of drinks and a catch up.  He took me to an area I hadn’t explored yet but was quite close to when walking back from my new friend’s place.

All in all it was an excellent weekend away.  And as glad as I was to get home Monday evening, I could have easily stayed a couple more days.  I found the city to be quite comfortable to walk around with lots to look at. And yeah, lots of handsome Spanish men to check out.

It’ll definitely be one of those cities I’ll want to return to in the future.. maybe even to visit my new friend. 🙂

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Collage of pics taken over the course of the weekend