Spain: Madrid by 3.1

We decided to get away for a weekend at the end of last month. Had tickets booked to see Muse at the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium (home of Atlético Madrid), but it was a good opportunity to pace up and down the city too to see all the sights from when Patch used to live here for a little while.

Stayed in a lovely hotel in the heart of Madrid on the Gran Via.

The hotel was ideally situated near a metro station and within walking distance of some of the popular areas like Sol (where you can find a paving slab that shows it as being in the centre of Spain, similar to how all distances in London are worked from a point just outside Charing Cross Station):

Lots of cool old stuff, buildings and quirky shops:

As mentioned earlier, our first evening saw us visiting Wanda Metropolitano to see Muse live (it was a bit Blade Runner-esque):

We roamed into the night (probably because this is the Spanish way, it seems), got a massive paella a some point after midnight, and then finished it off with a walk with churros, only to stagger back to the hotel well after 2am.

For two mornings on the trot, Patch got up early to go out and bring me back churros and coffee so I could have breakfast in bed (which kind of helped after the late nights):

We also visited a railway station with a beautiful concourse that felt like the Palm House in Kew Gardens. Behold, Estación de Madrid Atocha:

As is normally the case in whatever country I happen to be in, I happened to visit a lovely little railway museum just before commuting back to the airpot and flying home:

Gracias, Madrid. Hopefully see you again soon!

Cricket: SURvMID T20 and Day 2 of ENGvIRE by 3.1

As I make my way to Lord’s this evening for Middlesex v Surrey T20, I’ve just remembered to check in on some of the very interesting matches I’ve been at over the last few weeks, especially with the Lord’s Ashes Test looming next week (for which I have tickets to Day 1).

The penultimate Tuesday in July saw us up in Patch’s office as usual for one of the Surrey T20 fixtures, though this was to be a London Derby against my beloved Middlesex.

AB de Villiers heads out to bat, but he was dismissed rather cheaply a few overs later.

The amazing view from the CricViz box in the Bedser Stand

Having set a reasonable score, the Middlesex fielding then slogged through the humidity of the evening to choke Surrey’s batting chase for what was a very memorable win away.

Middlesex took the 37-run win against Surrey, finishing up 209/3 (Surrey couldn’t make the chase and finished 172/9)

Meanwhile, on what was set to be one of the hottest days in London, Patch and I headed to Lord’s for Day 2 of the England v Ireland Test.

The morning session was brutal. The sun didn’t let up once and it was 38°C before noon. Patch ended up abandoning his seat in Edrich Upper for an air-conditioned one in the media centre (as he had his ECB accreditation with him). That didn’t stop Ireland’s Tim Murtagh (who also plays for Middlesex) taking a few wickets though.

England fought back admirably, with the Adam Leach having a good knock (though not good enough to be picked for England for the first Ashes Test). The clould cover (and respite from the sun) came over in time for around tea time, however this followed a change in the weather and thunderstorms in the area(!), which eventually meant the match had to be abanoned!

The view from Edrich Upper Stand before the floodlights came on

For the home T20 game tonight against Surrey, we will be in the Grand Stand Upper. A bit more square of the wicket than I’m used to, but always good for a change! Hoping for a Middlesex win, obviously!