Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Delights - El Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

Sunday in Madrid - what an unexpectedly delightful day! I woke up prepared for rain as it had been cold and wet yesterday, but the sun was shining and continued to shine all day long. I paid tribute to Cervantes and Don Quixote in the Plaza de Espana before moving on to the Prado Museum where I spent over 3 hours absorbed in the works of Greco, Velasquez, Goya and many, many others.

By that point, I was ready for a change of scene so I headed to El Retiro Park, which is just behind the museum. It's a wonderful park! You can row a boat on the lake or stroll up the shady boulevard lined with ice cream vendors, fortune tellers, magicians, and living statues. There were two outdoor sculpture exhibits and a glorious rose garden. There were fountains, and paths through the woods, and outdoor cafes. There was a drum trio on one side of the lake and jazz trombones on the other side. Something for everyone.

Later, I took the metro to the Latina district. The metro is a constant surprise. You step on the train in one sort of neighbourhood and get off somewhere completely different. The Latina district is young and happening! There were 3-4 blocks and squares lined with outdoor cafes, and the Plaza de la Puerta de los Moros was crammed with young people drinking beer, chatting and generally having a good time. I was intimidated at first but then realized they were far too self absorbed to pay me any attention at all.

I finished off the day with a wonderful meal at El Estrago, a vegetarian taberna and restaurant in the Plaza de las Pajas - I'll report further in a later posting. A very, very good day.

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