First Impressions of Madrid

Written by: Logan Gooley (Session 1)

Madrid es muy hermosa. Landing in the city in the evening, my first steps in Madrid were of the hustle and bustle of dinnertime. The evening light gave the city a charm that gave a warm feel, almost as if the streets were inviting us to explore them. People flowed through the streets as if it was their only responsibility. The city had a home feel to it, unlike the typical skyscraper-lined cities of the United States such as New York and Boston. 

The narrow walking streets created a sense of a social community. One in which neighbors interacted with one another frequently, and seemed to genuinely care for each other. You could see in the small cafes that individuals were having personalized conversations and interactions with loved ones, showing how deep of a sense of community the city holds.

The following day, as I visited El Retiro Park, I witnessed the beauty of nature mixed with the beauty of Spain. The park, which was so amazingly expansive that I could not witness its entirety, had a peaceful and quiet nature to it despite the crowds of people there. However, the parts that I was able to view held amazing birds that I had never seen before in the United States. 

The bird that most caught my attention was what I know to be called a Magpie. Photographing it proved quite difficult, as its sporadic movements made it nearly impossible to get a still photo of. Its black and white nature resembled that of a penguin at first glance, but upon further watching of the bird, its tail of dark teal created a beautiful accent to its black wings. It was by far the most interesting yet majestic animal I have seen during my stay in Madrid. 

As I moved more toward the park center and the pond of El Retiro, I was amazed by the Monument to Alfonso XII. I learned that the monument was designed by José Grases Riera until he died in 1919, and then was finished by Teodoro Anasagasti, who never altered the original design. Learning about Grases Riera’s death and Anasagasti’s completion of his work was just another show of Madrid’s deep care and respect for the beauty and uniqueness of art.