By Linden A. Walhard
A trip to Madrid, Spain wouldn’t be the same without a stroll through the magnificent Parque del Buen Retiro.
The park is home to sculptures, monuments, lakes, and botanical gardens and the atmosphere comes alive in the summer with locals and tourists alike. Here are some “must sees” in this amazing park.
The large park grounds (about 300 acres) were at one time a part of Phillip IV’s royal palace and there is still evidence of its grandeur. Most of the buildings were destroyed by the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the 19th century but there still remains the Cason Del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejercito. The Cason houses a 19th to 20th century collection of works including art by the Spanish master, Sorolla. Spain’s premier army museum is housed in the Ejercito and the must see piece of its extensive collection is the sword of the famous warrior, El Cid. Also of interest is a cross carried by Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World.
The park was first opened in 1868 and since then Madrilenos (people of Madrid) have enjoyed its flora, musicians, fortune tellers and other forms of entertainment. Today it’s a great retreat from the city and a chance to just relax and people watch.
In the center of the park is a large lake where you can rent a boat and enjoy a leisurely ride across it while taking in the scenery. Not to be missed is the statue of King Alfonso XII on his horse backed by a magnificent colonnade. There is another lake at the other end of the park, near the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) which is another not-to-be-missed sight. It was built in the late 19th century and was intended as a greenhouse for exotic plants. Near the Crystal Palace is the Palacio de Velazques which is primarily used to house temporary exhibits from the Queen Sofia museum of art.
If you’re looking for more natural splendors then make sure you visit the Rosaleda rose garden. There are roses of all varieties and among them is the El Ael Caido statue which depicts Satan as a fallen angel. Another natural feature of the park is the Cecilia Rodriguez gardens which have a delightful array of flora and are located close to the fine dining restaurants on Serrano Street. Also near this is the Prado Museum which can easily be combined with a trip to the park.
So if you’re in Madrid, make sure you take a stroll through the magnificent and charming Parque del Buen Retiro. It is sure to be a highlight of your holiday.
Being especially passionate about Costa Calida and BioFiller2, Linden Walhard was editing lots of papers on the topic. His publications on la manga club are found on http://www.alicante-spain.com as well as various other websites.