Indiana University Overseas Study


I was surprised by how much I fell in love with city life. It is very different from what I’m used to. I grew up in the suburbs, close to the country, but was constantly surrounded by nature. I love hiking, camping, and just relaxing under trees while studying. There are parks here in the city, beautiful parks, but it’s not exactly the same. I love the nightlife here, the beautiful buildings, the museums and restaurants, but sometimes I need a breath of fresh air.

That’s where a day trip to the mountains comes in. A few friends and I took a trip to Cercedilla to hike for the day. It was about an hour and a few euro train ride out of Madrid, and well worth the trip. We arrived, looked at the map, and then picked a path to start climbing to. The trees were marked with colored dots that corresponded to the path color so even without a map, we didn’t get lost.

The view from our hike up

The view from our hike up

We made our way up to the information center and got a proper map. Then we chose which would be the best route to see as much as we could but still have time to make it out of the forest before it became too dark. We ended up hiking for a few hours, enjoying the climb, and learning about the trees from the signs along the way. We eventually hiked up to Los Miradores, a lookout and were rewarded with an amazing view. There were tree covered hills in every direction.

On the way back down, we started to hear bell sounds. Soon we started to notice that we were in the middle of a herd of cows grazing. As the cows ate and chimed their bells all around us, my two friends and I picked berries along the hillside. It was a picture perfect moment as the sun was setting.

We made it down the hillside a bit after sundown and had a cup of coffee before taking the train back into Madrid. It was just the break I needed from the bustling city.

I’m almost adjusted to living in the city, but I always need a change every now and then. A break with clean air, great views, and a little bit of exercise was the perfect thing to do.


View all posts by Melissa


%d bloggers like this: