One more time, Retiro park, Madrid!

Again and again, the Retiro park is magical in Madrid. It is the place to be for visitors and locals alike and my childhood park par excellence. My mother will take me here for strolls and boat rides , that are still the norm of many families.

El Parque del Buen Retiro has been written before in my blog on several occasions so won’t dwell on it too long.  Just the tourist office of Madrid on it: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

There are many facets to the park, and even thus most guides tells you to see in one day, you really need two if wants to know all its history. The Retiro park is mythical, romantic, adorable, a big green space in the middle of Madrid, and a past time for many generations of families ,including mine.

I could not be by Madrid without stopping by at Retiro and see every corner of it if not in one passing on the next. The park has remained the same, like a photo of history, and that of Madrid.

You have the popular palaces of Velazquez and Cristal, the fisherman house, the gardens and the sports fields of Chopera as well as that lake full of boats. I visited some spots this time.

However, let me give you some anecdotes of the park. In 2001, the city hall of Madrid decided to empty the lake to fix a problem of water loss. They found 192 chairs, 40 small boats, 41 tables, 3 garbage containers, 50 mobile telephones, umbrellas, wallets, pairs of shoes, and many others!

In 2010, the underground works in the area known as the «las Estufas»  boilers,, it was discovered two tunnels of bricks of unknown origins; a canalization of water from Arabic time around the 10C, part of the installation of the Royal Factory of Porcelain of the reign of Carlos III and the trenches fortifications of the Napoleonic troops or of the Civil War are some of the thesis for these tunnels.

In the older days swimming was allowed now only boating is done, on water temperature of 4C at midday.  In the movie, the “Circus World” in 1963, the city empty the lake so the filming can be done in the middle of the lake. Actors John Wayne, Rita Hayworth ,and Claudia Cardinale.

The lake as was known as the Big lake of Retiro or the “Estanque Grande de El Retiro”, as the official name was built by king Felipe IV to recreate naval battles where he himself participated. The artificial lake is 280 meters long by 140 meters wide and a depth from 60 cm to 1,80 meters. Even with this depth many incidents of suicide were attempted.

It has ,also, an impressive tree such as the Ahuehuete also known as Mexican cypress ,planted in 1630. It is located in the Parterre section where you can see it going in by the calle Alfonso XII. the tree measures 25 meters and looks like a candelabra as from its base many branches very thick comes out.

You will see pictures of the Bosque del Recuerdo ,done in 2005  as a garden inside the park to remembered the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11 in Madrid.  It is a wonderful garden indeed and worth the detour in the park to see it.

You will see the Egyptian Fountain of the Canopian god  or better known as the Egyptian Fountain; this is the Fuente Egipcia del Dios Canopo,( Fuente Egipcia), a monumental fountain erected in the last part of the 19C to enhance the sides of the big lake in a neo Egyptian style with traces of neo classical.

You will find caves like buildings with a devilish figure on top or strange figures; these are several all around the old Casa de las Fieras or wild animal house which was part of the old zoo in the park;now it is a learning center keeping its wonderful ceramic tile work in the Jardines del Architecto Herrero Palacios or garden of architect Herrero Palacios.

There is a famous fountain to the devil there or Angel Caido, fallen angel, but the one I like is that of Alcachofas, or Fuente de la Alcachofa. This one was raised in the last part of the 18C  facing the old vallecas gate or Puerta de Vallecas, and passed on to the Retiro park in 1880; there is a replica in bronze in the Atocha square in 1986.

The boating in the lake is wonderful and very highly recommended to all visitors, and will have the opportunity to mingle with locals as it is very popular. In my days ,you could rent paddle boats, foot pedals and oar boats, today they are all oar boats for rent. There is a small house on the extreme left facing the lake to rent them; rentals 6€ weekdays,8€ weekends. And, the men do the oars ok ::)

Another wonderful garden inside the Retiro park is that of the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez (for many years the park’s gardener) ;this is by Paseo Uruguay in the park. You will see here many things including the fuente de las Gaviotas,(seagulls fountain)  and the wonderful figure statue of Venus , and see the colony of Peacocks there.

The entrances by avenida Menendez Pelayo are very nice such as those by the Puerta del Niño Jésus or Puerta de Murillo as well as the Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez. The Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez is name after the first Duke who had a castle nearby there ,and gave the land for the the park was turn into a Royal grounds and finally made available to the public in 1868.  Right on this paseo or street you will see the before mentioned fountain of the Fallen Angel done in 1874 on request by the duke in turn.

The Puerta del Niño Jésus, is located on the square of the same name where you entered the Paseo de del Duque Fernàn Nunez  that takes you to the  Rosaleda (rosary garden). Before reaching the Rosaleda see an old building from 1850 with a tower that is the Castillete Metereológico (sort of meteorological  small castle) ,inside ,it was installed the first optic telegraph of which depended from the Real  Observatorio Astronómico (Royal Astronomic Observatory).

And ,you have the Puerta de Murillo, by the Calle de Alfonso XII; this is an access gate to the park  with an wrough iron gate that takes you to the municipal sports complex of La Chopera inside the Retiro park. This area is known as chopera for the black poplar trees found around it. At La Chopera sports complex you can practice Handball, Football, Indoor Football, Football 7, gym, paddle, Tennis, and Basketball. I played football. Soccer when a boy and could not find a better park for it.

In all , again, a magical place of my magical Madrid, a great city, great ambiance, very friendly, plenty of choices and great food. Not to mention, darn, the best park around, Retiro park. To many enjoy your Labor Day, May 1st ,off day for the workers. I go back tomorrow, but another 4 day weekend coming up lol!

Cheers y’all. Hasta pronto por Madrid.

 Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: