Europe’s Plazas: Escaping Reality

The other day, whilst leisurely enjoying a glass of vino tinto in Madrid’s hip neighborhood of Malasaña (and coincidentally postponing arriving at a café to commence studying), I came to a wonderful realization.

I sat with a friend in one of the neighborhood’s many quaint plazas, coats fully zipped because it’s still quite fresh these days. We found ourselves simultaneously silent, simply observing the impressive architecture of the buildings surrounding us as well as the beautiful and diverse people chatting around us. In that moment, not much else existed. Neither one of us was worrying about the many pending projects and deliverables awaiting us the moment we’d return to reality. Neither one of us cared that the fast-moving clouds would sporadically spew some drizzles on us. Hell, I don’t think either of us even remembered the other’s presence for several seconds.

Finally we zapped back into reality, and expressed our profound happiness in that moment. As amazing as it was, this was not a unique event during my time here in Europe. In the majority of big cities, it’s pretty damn hard to get from point A to point B, without passing at least three plazas with little tables and chairs just calling your name…”Izzyyy, sit down,” they call, “Just have a glass of wine, you can get back to the real world after!” 

In retrospect, I’ve not taken enough advantage of the amazing hiatuses these plazas offer. Perhaps because I never connected the plazas with the euphoria of the temporary escape from reality, though certainly experiencing it every time.

With six months left in Europe, and plenty of new cities still to explore, I plan on giving in to the seductive voices calling to me from the cafés, brasseries, pubs, and restaurants. Those umbrellas and metallic tables are yet to deprive me of a discreet escape from reality amidst the chaos of a big, beautiful, European city. Plus, there’s so much more wine to be drank.

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