I was assigned to go to Madrid and accepted it in a very okay-might-as-well type of way. I was more excited to go back to Europe because it had been months and I’m a little tired of all things Asia, Arabic and the island life (it happens). Without an itinerary or being particularly enthralled at the idea, I headed out with Sofia, city and subway map in hand, to go and see some of the usuals in Europe; each city generally has a plaza or square, a fountain and a palace of some sort that you “simply must see” .
Forgive my slightly pessimistic tone, it’s sometimes really easy to get desensitised to basically everything in life when you’re in aviation. Stepping out from Gran Via station onto the street quickly changed my attitude as I was swept into the sidewalk hub of brisk walking, sidewalk cafes and the romantic stacatto of the Spanish language. Quickly reminded and reunited with the love I have always had for travel, we proceeded up Gran Via street in the direction of Puerta de Sol to take some awkward tourist-at-the-monument photographs.
This is where the most fantastic coincidence occurs.
We find ourselves being two of thousands of people headed to Puerta de Sol. Personally I wanted to shoot some Madrid street style, however, there was a very different dress code happening on this particular Saturday. The theme? Atletico Madrid. By pure chance , we landed ourselves as part of the masses coming to see Atletico Madrid show off the cup to their fans after beating Real Madrid the night before. Swimming in a sea of bodies adorned in red, white and blue, I allowed myself to adopt some fake patriotism and hum songs that I neither knew nor understood. My zoom lens proved to be my best friend then as I snapped Falcao with the cup, and it acted as a telescope to watch the festivities unfold.
Besides all of this though, Madrid as a city is breathtaking, more so than most of the others I’d been to in Europe, with an amplified energy. I didn’t anticipate it and it pleasantly astounded me as I missioned on foot through its streets and spoke my version of Spanish (ie: Portuguese with more “rrrr” and less “ssh”). Yes it has a palace, churches, bridges, a plaza and picturesque architecture, but I realised it’s something I can never truly get bored of. It’s a continuous dream to come back to Europe’s cobbled streets, a moment in which my surroundings will naturally switch to sepia tones, I will get lost, and I will love every second of it.