Group-photo Return visit to Madrid Tandem Europe participant Louise Richards (Literature Wales) was back in Madrid to visit her Tandem partner Alvaro Crespo Quevedo (Solidarios para el Desarrollo) to continue working on their project that aims to fight loneliness in older people. Louise reports back from her days, full of culinary experiences. For my second visit to Madrid, I was accompanied by my colleague Elena Schmitz and author Mike Church. Our aim – to spend three days meeting, filming, chatting to and creating written pieces about the lives of three older people supported by Solidarios. The first day was spent with Rosa, who made us so welcome to her home and shared her life story with us, as well as cooking a delicious local meal Arroz con acelgas / Rice with Swiss chard. Rosa welcomed us all with open arms and warm smiles – 3 from Wales, Carlos the interpreter, Adriana, Filmmaker and Álvaro, Solidarios a full house indeed. Alvaro and Rosa The same day we also visited Maripaz who shared her story of lifelong struggles with health but retained her optimism and joy for life throughout it all – the thing that made her most happy was waking up to each new day and parties! We all enjoyed her delicious Spanish omelette and hospitality – ‘whilst you are in Spain – my house is your house – you are always welcome’. Maripaz Day two, and we visited Jacinta, who prepared the delicious local dish of Pisto Manchego. A real beauty in the past – a true rival for Sophia Loren as Mike pointed out. Though feeling slightly intimidated at the beginning of the session, by the end she was dancing and kissing Mike on the head – a testament to his amazing ability to set everyone he meets at their ease. All three women’s lives had been affected by both the civil war with Franco and the Second World War – which made their openness and kindness so much more apparent and appreciated. Living through great hardships has created a lifelong warmth, friendliness and willingness to share whatever they have with people they meet. It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to spend time with them and share to a small degree some of our Welsh warmth too. Jacinta Álvaro, Delphine, Alfonso and all the staff at Solidarios made us so welcome too – wonderful hosts for a fantastic European partnership. We are now looking forward to Álvaro and Alfonso’s return visit to Wales July-August and will share Welsh language and customs, inviting them to visit local people, taste their favourite recipes and share local histories to celebrate our local global connections.