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Balconies, Sunsets and Stars

Most of the tasks in my Third Space box I did not even consider as such. They would find their way in my everyday life and would almost complete themselves for me. This one, however, I approached with the enthusiasm and diligence of a first grader who has just been given their first school assignment.

A few days after my adventure abroad had started, two friendly Spanish people (like there’s a different kind) offered me to join them at a botellón (social drinking in public areas, usually parks). From the very moment they invited me, I started plotting how to utilize the ‘potential of the situation’ and their localness. As the girl was an architect, however, the answer was pretty clear.

When asked what building she considered to be the most beautiful one in Madrid, she named, without a hint of hesitation, the Palace of Communications, known since 2011 as the Cybele Palace (Palacio de Cibeles). The place is definitely among the most attractive spots in the city, to tourists and locals alike, because of its central location and undisputed architectural merits.

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El Palacio de Comunicaciones

However, I found the answer of the boy more charming, as it resonated more with the purely emotional reaction I have to buildings (and places in general). According to him, the most beautiful one in Madrid was the Bank of Spain (just across el Palacio de Comunicaciones, as a matter of fact) because of its… magic. He even tried to convince me that a magical river was running beneath the solid construction (Harry Potter much?), and I almost believed him. A few drinks later he admitted that he felt attached to the building because he had run twice into the girl he loved just in front of the main entrance (huge and quite impressive) of the bank.

As time passed by, I found myself able to comprise a list of my own favorite buildings in Madrid. I would start bringing the friends who were visiting me there and would show the places off with pride, as if they were tiny continents and I was their discoverer.

An incomplete list of the buildings that charmed their way into my heart:

  1. The Metropolis and El Palacio de Comunicaciones as seen from a rooftop terrace at sunset. Especially beautiful when contemplated in the company of loved ones and falling stars.
  2. The Building of the Writers, a beautiful sand-colored construction with floral, Gaudi-like elements. The first time I ever saw it, it was covered in purple blossoms.
  3. Each and every building in the district of Malasana, especially the ones on whose balconies time flies by faster, and it’s always 6 am before you even know it.

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Nadezhda, Madrid

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