Amanda Krawczyk: AU Liberal Arts – Summer Program in Madrid, Spain Summer 2019
On our second weekend in Madrid, most of our friends had gone out of town to explore other cities. My friends Sheridan, Callie, and I knew we wanted to stay in Madrid and try something different, so we decided to take the cercanías (a commuter rail service) to Las Rozas de Madrid. We didn’t do much research except that there was an outlet mall there and that we wanted to see it. The first part of the day, everything went as expected.
Initially, we had a hard time reading the bus map, but we eventually made it to the outlets, got Starbucks, and all was well. However, coming back was a different story. The map at this station was a little harder to read since all the times were printed on a sheet of paper, but we figured we were going to get back on the same bus we took to get to the outlets anyways. We weren’t really concerned when the bus started heading in the opposite direction of the cercanías station, nor did we really notice.
After being on the bus for a while, the driver turned around and asked if we were getting off. At first, we were pretty confused because we were in the middle of a neighborhood, but we eventually realized that it was the last stop on the line, and we had to get off. We stood at the bus stop for a minute trying to figure out what to do because we had no idea how to get back, and it was going to take us 2 hours to walk back to the cercanías station at that point. Our solution: to start walking until we saw a bus stop that could get us back to the station. We couldn’t stop laughing the whole time because it was a very unexpected turn of events. We even had a group of teenagers start laughing at us as we tried to find another bus stop. We eventually found a bus that took us back to the cercanías station.
The day ended with us getting dinner at Cereal Hunters Café and watching the sunset on the steps of Catedral de la Almudena as we laughed about our day. Even though our trip to Las Rozas didn’t go as planned, it was one of the most memorable and fun days I had on my study abroad program. I went outside of my comfort zone, laughed until my stomach hurt, and got to share some really incredible memories with my friends. My advice to anyone who experiences something unexpected on their study abroad program is to just roll with the changes. It could easily become one of your favorite memories.