Parque del Buen Retiro,Madrid of course!

Well do not know if the title looks familiar, so many on this dear park of mine. Every time there and lucky every year until the virus need to be there, so the title might be similar but the feelings are the same. The Parque del Buen Retiro is Madrid!

I like to update this post, actually it is from 2013 or maybe earlier I had erased the post as first thought too many on Retiro park. But  heck, this is Madrid; so hope you like it as I do, and thanks for reading! The sights are in other posts with pictures, here just the ones I think are not repeated.

Ok so again, it is the essence and lungs of Madrid, the best known park, a rich history and memories of youth. I lived not far from it, and used to walk its alleys and greens all over as a youth, then as an adult came to it on every trip to Madrid as if doing a pilgrimage to a sacred place. It is for me always will be Retiro, my park. And,yes even if came on a business trip, I went here like a pilgrim!

The park is 118 hectares or 291,4 acres. It takes its name from Felipe IV royal palace that once stood there. The only remains are the Cason del Buen Retiro (now part of the Prado museum) and the Museo del Ejercito (where the sword of El Cid was and now at the Army museum, Calle de Mendez Nuñez). The royal family used it from 1632, in the 18C it was partially opened to the public as long as they came properly dress ,until finally fully open to the general public in 1869.

You can’t missed the estanque or pond where boats can be rented, at paseo de Colombia. A favorite of mine even today, used to take my girlfriends there and oars the boat just to show off ! Then took my girlfriend then wife, did the same just to show off. Then took my boys and wrote them around with the stories just to be sure they do the same ,hopefully !  Beyond the park main view you see the half moon colonnade with the equestrian figure of king Alfonso XII; all of 30 meters high (99 ft)  by 86 meters long (284 ft)  and 58 meters wide (191 ft). It was called a national contest to built it upon the request of the regent queen Maria Cristina, the winner finally did it inspired on the monument of William I of Berlin, built this one in 1922 . It is at the west side of the pond or Estanque Grande. Around the king you have statues of representation of peace, progress and liberty . Around the hemicycle you have other statues representing The army and marine, the sciences, agriculture, Arts, industry, and two lions.

mad retiro park ent boat rentals feb13

Mad retiro park mon Alfonso XIII top sep12

To the south of the pond you have two attractive palaces; the neoclassical Palacio de Velazquez(red brick and tiles now an exposition center by paseo de Venezuela )  and the Palacio de Cristal (crystal palace as in London by paseo de la Republica de Cuba). You can come towards the Prado museum and the botanical gardens entry by plaza de Murillo. I have separate posts on these.

There are several entrances to the Retiro park but the main entrance for me and family is by the Puerta de Alcala, (see post) the gateway used by king Carlos III (emperor Carlos V) to entered Madrid that in the 19C marked the easternmost entry to the city. Occupying the plaza de la Independencia or Independance plaza. Coming into it the Calle Serrano and Calle Alfonso XII all alongside the Retiro park on Calle Alcala. By the corner here across the street from the park at Alcala 83 you will find the Church of San Manuel y San Benito, my church in Madrid (see post).

mad retiro park puerta de la independencia ent alcala feb13

mad retiro park ent o donnell feb13

You have large promenades of robust trees leading to fountains and statues, amongst its the La Chopera ( old equestrian center of king Fernando VII today sports installations center) ,fountains of Galapagos  with a pedestal like a palm with children figures mount on dolphins on the base; this one was first set up at the street Red de San Luis in the Gran Via in 1831. In 1879 it was transferred to the Retiro park at the Plaza de Nicaragua, near the big lake;  commemorating the birth of queen Isabel II at the plaza de Nicaragua) , Alcachofa (by puerta de Atocha at plaza de  la Republica de Honduras  and built in 1781), and Angel Caido or fallen angel (built in 1885 by plaza del angel caido,and only monument dedicated to the devil in the world). When you past by the paseo de la Argentina also known as paseo de las estatuas or alley of statues you will see many such as Enrique II of Castilla or Henry II of Castile etc. From the street Alfonso XII you entered by the Puerta de España or Gate of Spain which leads you to paseo de la Argentina and the Estanque or pond.

Go ahead walk this beautiful park and see wonderful things to see and enjoy to come back. There is a statue to the marqués de Salamanca (gave that district name! )or marquis of Salamanca you find the La Rosaleda (built in 1914 by Cecilio Rodriguez a great gardener) ,its an imitation of the one in the bois de boulogne of Paris for which the Spanish gardener took it queus. Other monuments nearby are the Academy of the Spanish Language (calle de Ruiz Alarcon), monument of queen Maria Cristina (facing cason del buen retiro at ave Felipe IV); Palace of Bruno Zaldo (calle Alfonso XII,26); Puerta de Mariana de Neuburgo (gate entrance on calle Alfonso XII to Retiro); in the parterre of the park you will see the oldest tree dating from 1633 original from Mexico call Ahuehuete.

Also, in the parterre the monument to Jacinto Benaverte, 1922 winner of the Nobel prize in Literature, there in the parterre there is the Fuente or fountain of Campanillas call for the tower of bells that was there now gone but still the name remains ; Plaza del maestro Villa there is the quiosco de Musica or music kiosk ornate dome; Paseo del Estanque is the casa de la vaca or cow house that used to be a milk store, extreme northwest of the park you have the casita del Pescador  or Fisherman house near the artificial mountain, is a small house of square shape and two levels with roof in zinc and water spouts ;of the original royal properties still standing there; next to avenue Menendez Pelayo you will find the Casita de Fieras or wild animals house , a small zoo for the entretain of king Fernando VII; jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez or gardens of Cecilio Rodriguez ,the gardener of the city build in 1972 with many ornaments and statues.

mad retiro park casita del pescador feb13

In the southwest of the park you will find the Observatorio Central Meteorologico or meteo observatory by paseo del duque de Fernan Nuñez; Iglesia de San Jeronimo el Real a church by calle de Ruiz De Alarcon, 19 (this is where the princes of Asturias swear allegiance to the crown from Felipe II in 1528 to the last one to do it here Isabel II in 1833); Monumento to the Republic of Cuba (at plaza del Salvador, done in 1929 as a monument to the nation of Cuba and to honor similar monument in Havana,Cuba to Spain. There in Retiro park, you will see Catholic queen Isabel I and Cristobal Colon (Columbus) built in 1952); Monument to General Martinez Campos at Plaza de Guatemala( built in 1927 in bronze to honor the gen that ended the 1er Republic in Spain and also head of Spanish troops in Cuba during the 1860’s); it is behind the statue to king Felipe XII. El embarcadero or embarkment for boats built in 1902 where you rent today boats for the lake.

mad retiro park monument a Cuba feb13

And we must go on in grandiose Retiro park!or around it…. Continue to the Glorieta de los Titeres or guignol theater. next to O’Donnel street you will have the Montaña de los gatos or cats mountain and also known as rollercoster mountain ,it is artificially done by 1816 . Huerto del Francés or French potager used today to recreate plants and flowers at the south part of the park, next to paseo del Uruguay you have the oriental gardens or Jardines Orientales.

And one nice one always caught my eyes, let me tell you about the monument to Ruperto Chapi. At the proposal of the Society of Spanish Authors, the monument dedicated to the teacher Ruperto Chapí Llorente, at the Paseo de Fernan Nuñez, was raised. The monument was inaugurated in 1921. The idealized figure of the musician, represented full-length, seated and half-naked, as a classical god or hero, with a pleased attitude, half covered by a cloak and the lower extremities merging with the base. Behind him is the figure of Music, represented by a woman with a full body and standing, with a mantilla and a comb. She holds the Victory of Samothrace in her right hand, while her left is extended, presenting the protagonist of the composition.

mad retiro park mon actors feb13

The Pantéon de Hombres Ilustres a sort of Pantheon of Spain as in Paris built in 1867 today lies here Garcilazo de la Vega, Calderon de la Barca, amongst other, located at Calle Julian Gayarre, 3 (some of the bigger names were determine not opt for transfer to the pantheon); and Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha or Our lady of Atocha ,this church given status of basilica by Pope Pius IX in 1863 is founded in an old monastery dating from 1524.located at avenida de Ciudad de Barcelona,3.  And you can continue walking in heaven on the beautiful plazas or squares that surround this Retiro park makes for an international treasure fort, from the Cibeles fountain at plaza de las Cibeles to plaza de la Independencia at Puerta de Alcala to plaza Canovas del Castillo and Plaza de la Lealtad (by Prado museum) to Glorieta del Emperador Carlos V, passing by the Atocha train station and up Menendez Pelayo to O’Donnell and back to calle de Alcalà you have the Madrid of the Bourbons, and rich history of Spain all within walking distance.

The Madrid tourist office on the Retiro park

Oh yes again how to get there other than walking; by Metro Retiro line 2, Príncipe de Vergara lines 2 and 9, Ibiza  line  9, Atocha line 1). Buses stopping or passing by it are lines 1, 2, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32, 51, 52, 61, 63, 74, 146, 152, 202, and C. There is a bicimadrid depot at plaza de la Independencia, and Calle de Alcalà ,95.

To fully enjoy it with plenty of time, and for the whole family day or more adulthood nights; the Parque del Buen Retiro or simply Retiro is Madrid! Hope you have enjoy the tour and thanks for reading

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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