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Published December 27th 2016
Relax in Buen del Retiro in Madrid
El Retiro is the largest park in Madrid; covering 350 acres of land at the Western edge of the city. There's so much to do within the park that you could easily spend a full day exploring. LT and I visited on a stunning summer day and found ourselves lost in the depths of the park, enjoying the views and taking in the atmosphere. As well as being the largest green space in Madrid, the park has a million other things to see and do and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. It's a tranquil space, with many Madrilenos lying beneath the sun, reading books or chatting with friends. Children played happily in gardens and cyclists casually rode by on their journeys.
The park has a large man-made lake, in which you can hire a small boat and while away the hours. OR, get someone to hire it with you, and make him or her do the work while you relax and check out the scenery. Also: take grapes. This way you can get your partner to feed you them when they're not rowing. You have to make the most of the experience, don't you? That's certainly my preference, anyway.
At the foot of the lake is a stunning monument to the memory of King Alfonso. He must've been a popular man as it's quite a size. I imagine he had a whole host of people to feed him grapes. So unfair.
On the very edge of the park is Palacio de Cristal.This is a beautiful glasshouse, much the same as those found in botanic gardens around the globe. It was previously used for this purpose, but now stands empty when not being used for exhibitions. The Palacio Velazquez is also nearby and was housing an excellent art exhibition while we were there. It also has incredibly clean toilets, which always makes me happy. Plus, it got me out of the sun for a little while. I'm pasty and Scottish, so quite unaccustomed to weather that isn't, well...wet.
Also within the park is the Rosaleda Garden; showcasing a gorgeous range of different kinds of rose bushes, and also encompasses the Fallen Angel Fountain, which is, apparently, the only statue on earth dedicated to Satan. It's certainly the only one I've seen outside the confines of my basement, but moving swiftly on...
The Fallen Angel
If a Devil statue isn't enough for you, El Retiro is also home to Spain's oldest tree, at a staggering 400 years old.
Once you're quite finished with all that, there are also some well located 'resting areas'. And by 'resting areas', I mean 'places that sell wine'. Take a load off, sit back, and grab yourself a Tinto de Verano (red wine with Sprite), as expertly pictured here.
Tinto de Verano...and some additional beer because the heat.