It’s Saturday morning. My flight back to New York leaves in about eight hours. I’ve put off writing my last city blog because I really don’t want to face the truth— it’s really over. My exams are in, I’ve said goodbye to my professors, and there are no more class visits to museums planned. Soon, it will be time to wave a slow, sleepy goodbye to Madrid…
But in a way, I think that everyone was ready for that since we arrived. Everything really does move more slowly in Spain— ordering food, going shopping, getting into a museum, etc.— and this transition from such fast-paced cities like Rome and Paris burned us out a little. Thank goodness for afternoon siestas.
And thank goodness for such an amazing transportation system. It’s so reassuring to know that should you get lost exploring this new city, there will usually be a Metro station somewhere not far to help you find your way again. The Metro is definitely one of the things I will miss the most.
Also, I enjoyed the privilege of being able to buy a bus ticket for eight euros and hop on to Segovia for a random, spontaneous adventure. In fact, Segovia turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the whole program. It was exactly the day after the World Pride Parade, so we wanted something quiet after all the craziness that had taken over Madrid (a good craziness, but still crazy). And just like in Florence, we found our perfect day. As the packed bus emptied into Segovia, crowds of people flowing each way, we launched up a tall set of stairs and made our way to the main square, sitting at a café for a late breakfast and expecting the crowds to follow.
So we sat looking out at the square and waited, but no one came. In fact, it would be this quiet the entire day. We drank hot coffee as a chilly breeze carried over the soft guitar notes of a man playing under a tree. And we sat for another hour or so, just listening to Segovia. We wandered into the cathedral for a while, taking our time to enjoy the impressive architecture and beautiful paintings, before moseying past antique shops on our way to the castle. As we got closer, we had to stop a few times just to sit on the edge of the wall and peer over the vast plains. And when we finally got to the castle, it was as if we stepped onto the set of a royal Disney movie, staring up at Spanish kings’ and queens’ portraits, walking through their bedrooms, and taking in the distant mountains and winding roads as we were surrounded by medieval turrets. A royal cat even graced us with his presence in the gardens out front. On our way back, we ended up hiking up a hill, through a field, and out to the woods as we tried to find the Jewish cemetery, allowing us yet another picturesque spot to sit and look out at the land.
And now we have one more city full of memories. I have been so lucky to take part in this grand adventure and learn about so much beautiful culture. I hope that future students continue to have the same opportunities, and that they jump right into the craziness with open hearts. Adios! Gracias por una gran experiencia.
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<p>Hello! My name is Kyra, and I'm a Writing Major at Ithaca College. I am more than ready to fall in love with these beautiful European cities - Paris, Rome, and Madrid - this summer, and I hope that my blogs will let you fall in love alongside me. Get ready to be tested, as there will be many challenges to overcome on our journey together. Hang on tight, and enjoy the ride.</p>