After a busy and lively night I had to go up……………..
This morning we had on our program The Retiro Park. This park was created as a royal park; it belonged to the Real Sitio del Buen Retiro palace. In 1632, the palace was built by King Philips IV as a retreat for the Royal family. Retiro stands for retreat, hence the name of the park and palace. At the time the park was well outside the city walls, but now Madrid has completely enclosed the Retiro Park. The 130ha or 320acre large royal park opened to the public 1868. It is partially laid out in a formal french style, while other parts are more natural.
Close to the Northern entrance of the Parque del Retiro is a large artificial lake, The Estanque del Retiro. Here you can rent a rowing boat, especially popular during weekends. A large monument with an equestrian statue of King Alfonso XII overlooks the lake. The monument, erected in 1922 by king Alfonso’s mother, consists of a semi circular colonnade with an equestrian statue of the king in front.
Walking in the huge park’s lovely winding trails in the sunlight, it’s hardly felt as if we were in the city at all. This building catches your eye in particular. It’s Il Palacio de Cristal, The Cristal Palace. It overlooks a lake and some beautiful stretches of grass, perfect for a little picnic or siesta. It used to be used to display flower exhibitions, and I am for sure that the mix of colorful flowers, green leaves, and the wonderful archways in the building looked spectacular. Nowadays it’s empty but it’s still quite impressive on it’s own, especially when the sun shines through the glass panels.
When you are on the Spanish streets you can also encounter these colorful dancers.
We went to Plaza Mayor, who is the central plaza in the city of Madrid. The plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events; Markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and during the Spanish Inquisition, ” auto def e ” against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death. The Plaza also has a ring of old traditional shops and cafes under it’s porticoes. Celebrations for San Isidrio, Patron saint of Madrid, are also held here. The plaza Mayor is now a Mayor tourist attraction visited by thousands of tourist a year.
” El Oso El Madrono “, The puerta del Sol is also the location of the most famous symbol of Madrid: A 20 ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree. The Madrono is a tree related to the strawberry tree. The female bear symbolizes the fertile soil of Madrid and the tree symbolizes the aristocracy.
The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture, it also contains important collections of other types of works. A new, recently opened wing enlarged the display area by about 400 paintings, and it is currently used mainly for temporary expositions. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and it considered to be among the greatest museums of art. The large numbers of works by Francisco De Goya, the artist most extensively represented in the collection, and by Diego Velazquez, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch are among the highlights of the collection.