Posted by: travelrat | July 30, 2007

Gardens in Madrid

Retiro Park

Madrid, 14th April 2007 (continued)

Since madrileños and madrileñas famously like to party, it follows that they’d like to have somewhere to relax and chill out as well. So, the city is well provided with parks and gardens. We’ve already visited the ones around the Debod Temple, and afterwards, I went for a turn around probably the most famous one, Retiro Park.Now, the citizens of Dresden, in Germany, like to boast that their park is bigger than the Principality of Monaco, and I don’t think Retiro Park is that far off. The boating lake alone is about the size of Stickle Tarn!

And, what a lake! A Greek temple-ish edifice, topped by a mounted figure, looms over all, and along the banks, you can have just about anything, from having your fortune told, through having your portrait painted to having your shoes shined.

Fountains … there seems to be one at every path intersection. There’s at least two buildings worthy of inspection … the ornately tiled Velaszquez Palace, which was closed at the time of my visit, and a gigantic glass house, reminiscent of the Tropical House at Kew.

Inside was a free art exhibition … at least, that’s what they called it. It looked like a pile of logs to me!

On the way back to the hotel, I passed through the Sabatini Gardens, right by the Royal Palace. This one, with its barbered walks and fountains, is laid out in straight lines and squares, and rather Versailles-ish. Unlike British parks, they didn’t lock the gates as soon as the sun hit the horizon, but kept it open well into the night … and there were so many courting couples, I felt like a bit of a voyeur passing through it on my own.

I must also mention the Rosaledes rose garden near the low station of the cable car to Casa de Campo. It was nice enough on this early April day, before the roses came out … later on, it would be a real treat for the eye and the camera. But, unlike later in the season … I had the place almost to myself!


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