Potential Risks Abroad

After the recent events in Manchester regarding the Ariana Grande concert bombing, many people in Europe have been on high alert and extra cautious. As an American in Spain, several people from home including my parents have warned me about potential dangers and to be on the lookout for and risky situations. With that said, today in Madrid there have been a couple situations that have made us foreigners a little uneasy. First off, the Copa del Rey final is being played today in Madrid which is a huge sporting event in this country and security around the city was very noticeable. Throughout the metro stations and the larger public areas there were several police officers on patrol, some of them were even armed with assault rifles and shotguns. Living in Pittsburgh, this is not something I see very regularly and it was definitely shocking to see the police holding a shotgun as I got off my train to go to a museum in the city. Furthermore, after we ate lunch, we happened to see what we thought was a parade of people marching down the street. We quickly realized that this was not a parade but instead a kind of organized political protest, the exact type of event/situation we were told to avoid. The terror attacks within the past year or so have put me and everyone else on high alert which has led me to analyze all the potential problems and outcomes from any given situation. I think for the most part, just being aware of the surroundings and making smart decisions will be more than sufficient to stay safe. While this could mean missing out on some popular tourist attractions, I can surely say that in this scenario I’d much rather be safe than sorry.