If you couldn’t pick up on the (not so) subtle indications of my past two posts, I have fallen in devoted love with the country of Spain in no time at all. Actually, to be honest with you, I knew I loved it before the plane landed, as I looked out the window with cramped limbs and saw large barcos pressing across the ocean as we prepared to touch Barcelona ground. I loved it as I stood sweating in the jolting Iberia bus that transported our flight of passengers from the steaming hot tarmac to Customs. I watched the country stretch out before me, a magnificent panoramic, and fell violently head over heels, as if someone had punched me in the gut.
Every day here has come wrapped in a bow or dripping with sweet glaze, suspended from Roman ruins, or be-speckled with Arabic glyphs. Spain somehow you are exotic and tropical, classic and refined, wild and serene—and I’ve discovered this in only a matter of weeks. To dig my hand deep into your chest and pull out your heart, well I’m sure it would be sickeningly beautiful too.
If put on the spot, however, and asked to state some of my most magical experiences here thus far, I could sum it up in one word: techos. The techos, or rooftops, of Spain are other-worldly in their beauty and unforgettable in their affect. From the towers of La Alhambra to rooftop pools, and up to the magical, stately bars of Madrid, I’ve been blessed with an angel’s view of this country.
The techo of The Principal Madrid gave me the feeling of a more international Plaza Hotel, all condensed into a tiny, round rooftop. I ordered a very strong Negroni and took in the swimming light of the city around me, as storm clouds wove a delicate pattern above, asking us to bear witness to the only cold front of the summer. I happily obliged, feeling that I was seeing Madrid in a strange way, meeting her in a mood she usually does not fall into. The Metropolis building glittered so close to our table I swore I could reach out and touch it, jump from techo to techo like a little girl playing hopscotch. Back home, rooftop bars have some sort of snobby undertone, and I usually feel I’d rather throw myself off of one than be seen in the name-dropping school of greedy climbers, as in LA for instance.
But there’s something about rooftops that Spain just does right. Take Circulo de Bellas Artes, for example, which hands down provides the best bar experience I have ever encountered, all without much fuss or circumstance. Its simplicity and laid back cool factor are the bar equivalent of that girl everyone knew in high school, the one who was an envy-inducing kind of awesome without putting in much effort at all. We all wanted to be her. Similarly, we all want to be here.
Little lights weave across the restaurant ceiling of Circulo, a patio encased in simple glass doors. Across the roof is a lounge area with full bar service, though these spots are unsurprisingly difficult to swoop. But a relaxing evening at one of the high top tables is perfect for people watching and sipping tinto de veranos by the bucket load. The steak and asparagus aperitivo is perfect to share, in fact the steak tasted like God himself sent it down from heaven (which wouldn’t be a long trip, considering the apparent proximity of this techo to actual heaven). For dessert, the rice pudding and hot chocolate is the perfect pair to send you into a fit of sensory pleasure. Beautiful view, quenching drinks, satisfying food, and not to mention a playlist that screams Madrid Cool, I felt surrounded by people with that inexpressible maja that the city is famous for.
We finished everything on our plates, causing our Venezuelan waiter to whoop and holler in a way that was more endearing than judgemental. I wanted to stay forever. On that little patch of cloud with full bar service. What else could anyone need?