April 17, 2012

SIGHTSEEING: Scooting Madrid

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Until I studied abroad, Sundays had never met my expectations. In an ideal world, my Sundays at Cornell would regularly consist of getting breakfast at CTB, reading all sorts of newspapers and watching “How I Met Your Mother” for hours. In reality, during the past three years, my Sundays on East Hill have consisted of little besides slaving over work at Uris, going to meetings and then returning to Uris. Back in high school, things were not really any different, as I struggled with now foreign subjects like calculus and chemistry in my room, while missing out on family dinners and days at the beach.

Now, however, I proudly understand what people mean by ‘Sunday Funday.’  The best example: a Sunday recently spent in Madrid, during which I did the most incredible sightseeing, sliding around the city on Razor scooters with one of my best pals from high school. For almost three hours, it felt just like we were 10 again, scooting down the streets of our neighborhoods in a breezy Puerto Rican afternoon; call it regression, but for us it was some classic, old school Sunday fun.

We started our ride in Madrid’s main park, El Parque del Retiro, where moderate-sized hills allowed us to revive the “adrenaline” of past times. After strolling around the park, where much of Madrid’s youth congregates on sunny days to day drink and where gypsy fortune tellers can be found on every corner, we headed towards the city centre via El Barrio de las Letras. In this neighborhood (closed to vehicular circulation) we scooted through sidewalks ingrained with famous lines from the works of Spanish literary luminaries such as Cervantes and Calderón de la Barca.

El Barrio de las Letras drove us directly towards Plaza Santa Ana. This square, one of Madrid’s most famous after Plaza del Sol, is home to several hotels and restaurants, including the local chain Cien Montaditos, where you can get ‘tinto de verano,’ and choose from more than 100 different ‘bocadillos’, for only one euro. After scooping ice cream from one of Santa Ana’s various refreshment stands, to wind down the day, we met some friends at a movie theater in Plaza Jacinto Benavente and watched the stellar British comedy, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

After this semester is over, I will make sure to keep injecting my Sundays with some fun, even if it requires bringing my scooter to school and sliding down the Slope.

Patricio Martinez a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at [email protected] Notes from Abroad: Sightseeing appears on Tuesdays.

Original Author: Patricio Martinez