Time (and) Travel
Considering it’s the place where dreams come true, topping my last Leap Day, spent in Walt Disney World with my mom, sister, and aunt, would be difficult. Four years later, though, I am in Madrid, far from them all, having as much fun as a kid in the most magical place on Earth. I know that the Leap Day didn’t actually give me another day in Europe, though it did give me another 24 hours in 2016, which I can always appreciate. It is not often that we get the gift of time. Being abroad, I’ve found that I miss my family and friends more than I thought I would, constantly wishing that they could be with me to see and experience my adventures. I am conflicted, though, as the days pass, bringing me closer to a reunion, but also closer to the end of my European adventure.
To add to my struggle with time, an extra day in February meant one day further from the first of March, when McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes enter the rotation of sweet treat options, satisfying year-long cravings with their limited-time presence. After scouring the Golden Arches of the city for any sign of a green drink celebrating San Patricio, I had to accept that though I was geographically closer to Ireland, I was far from my plastic, to-go cup of gold. Missing out on a small joy of home, I had the poor luck of an American abroad.
Continuing with my clashing love and hate for the milestone of the month of March, I am thrilled that the weather seems to have taken note of the calendar change. Finally, 55-degree days are manageable with the Spanish sun warming the streets. With memories of my recent Madrid sunset viewing and motivation to explore, I visited a second place on my list of locations to watch the day end. Both locals and guidebooks recommended the views from the rooftop of Círculo de Bellas Artes, a non-profit cultural center located in the heart of Madrid. Without time for further exploration on the day of my visit, I paid the 4€ (only 3€ with my International Student ID Card) and traveled up to the bar with the “best views of the city.”
As far as views of Madrid go, this nearly 360° rooftop provided clear sights from the city center to the mountains miles away. If you’re looking to get the most for your money, relaxing at a hip hangout with fun music, comfortable seating, and disregard for time, then the top-floor, outdoor lounge of Bellas Artes is for you. For the sunset, though, the experience at El Corte Inglés was indisputably better because of obstructions at Círculo de Bellas Artes. Unfortunately, construction cranes towered into the sky at the exact point of the sunset. The view, without the cranes, would have been worth the money spent to access the rooftop, and the statues on top of a nearby government building added a special Spanish flair to the experience, but I am annoyed that I paid to watch a subpar sunset.
- Find out if an International Student ID Card is worth it for you! I paid 7€ for a card that provides discounts in establishments and on services in both the United States and abroad. Though this is my first time using the card, I hope that I can at least get my money’s worth and break even.
- Círculo de Bellas Artes
- Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid
This week, exploration in Madrid leads to exploration of more of Europe! Check back soon to see where I visited this weekend.
Paz, Amor, Madrid