We decided to step out of the plazas, squares, and markets to explore one of Madrid’s beautiful parks, Parque de El Retiro, or as Kirk would call it, “retired people’s park”. The weather was warmer, but there was a nice breeze and we strolled through the many tree-lined paths weaving in and around its 125 hectares. It is filled with a variety of gardens specializing in certain botanical species or created by a particular historical figurehead or funded by matriarchs/patriarchs. The park holds the oldest trees in Madrid, the Bald Cypress, which are 400+ years old.
In addition to its natural beauty, you can view other works of art dotted throughout the park, like the Crystal Palace, created in 1887 to house a sample of exotic plants at the Philippine Exposition and is one of the leading examples of iron architecture in Spain. The Palace of Velasquez was housing an exhibition of a photographer we moved through quickly…not our “cup of tea”. The Grand Lake there was truly magnificent allowing an opportunity to row your way around under the monument to King Alfonso XII. We intended to go back when the sun was not so intense, but we were not the only ones with that idea… and I was really looking forward to Kirk rowing me around on the lake, singing loves songs, while I swooned in his presence. 😍😁
We enjoyed the variety of performers throughout the park. There were jugglers, magicians, balloon sculpters, face painters, and artists of every media. The musicians and singers were out in force also, and we stopped a few minutes to enjoy many of them. Then there were rollerbladers, skaters, skooters, cyclists, joggers, Segway riders and a few other moving contraptions all sharing the park together.
We learned that this used to be the private park of the Monarchy up until the late 19th century. It was such a beautiful place, I’m not sure, if I were Queen, that I’d want to share it! We are glad they did!