Pulling in late on the bus into Madrid’s premier bus station, we were disappointed to have finished our Andalusian adventures. You never knew what to expect from the Moorish region, like the festival that suddenly appeared to us from Granada’s Bus Station.
But back in Madrid we were, and it was time to go back to the accommodation and chill out Madrilènes style.
The next day, I thought I’d check out one of the wonders of Madrid – Retiro Park.
I must confess that I had already been there, literally on the first night, when I arrived in Madrid. It was the festival of San Isidro, so Auston and I got treated to some pretty nifty firework displays (see video above). But it was dark when we went so I didn’t GET to see Retiro Park. I heard the greenery space was amazingly beautiful. So off I went to see it again.
After half an hour’s walk downhill (only to realise with dread that to get back I need to walk back UP!), the gates of the park opened up to me. Just inside was an antique book market. Browsing through the choice, I was scared to pick any up if they turned to dust. It was that old! But I didn’t get anything really as most were in Spanish or French…also the guy manning the stall started following me about, eyes narrowed in suspicion thinking I was about to swipe a book. Has no one outside Britain heard the concept of browsing?
But chased out I was, only to go under the trees of the woodland that sprawled through the park. So I opted to get lost and walk around. BAD IDEA. This park is extremely huge and after an hour of wandering around, I couldn’t see where the ends of the park was. Sweat beading on my forehead and my breathing becoming more ragged, I probably looked a sight to the locals when I half-ran and lunging left, right and centre. Zombie style I call it.
Even so, I couldn’t ask for a better place to run foaming at my mouth. The park was beautiful! It made a stark contrast to the busy and hooting happy centre of Madrid, where you’re constantly having to avoid people and bicycles crashing into you…or getting chatted up by one of the many old prostitutes on each corner. They do not look good, let me tell you.
As I cried with terror when I ran into deeper woods, I thought about how Retiro Park is a fantastic place for joggers. Full of winding paths that criss-cross each other, you could run a marathon in here!
I should know because I’ve run for the best part of half an hour!
Suddenly, I burst out of the tree line, and lo, and behold I was at the centre of Retiro Park with the Monument to King Alfonso XII staring back at me. Crying with joy, this was the place where the fireworks were let off.
Catching my breath on the waterfront of the lake that lay before the monument, I began to relax. It was really a good place to relax, actually. The strumming of Spanish guitars, the smells of good coffee wafted to my nose from the lakeside courtyard cafe, the screams of delight from the rowers of the lake, and I felt the warm glow of the sun above.
Following the lakeside, I circumnavigated (with an ice cream of course), via the Monument. When I reached the structure, it looked an impressive side. With its arms open, it was truly an invitable amphitheatre for everyone in the park. I should know, from here the San Isidro fireworks were lit. I wonder how many operas and plays were performed here?
Anyway, my staycation was over. Not only this weekend had been the end of my Andalusian adventures but also my Spanish adventures. It was time to leave Spain baby! Leaving Retiro Park, finally, I went back to my accommodation to pick up my bags and wave goodbye again to my travel buddies of the past 2 weeks, Two Bad Tourists. I really want to thank them for having me stay with them in Madrid and also coming to Andalusia with me. As always, like in Brazil and Argentina, we had fun, drama, laughter, tears and far too much wine together!
But as I made my way to the Bus Station…oh no, I’m not going back to the UK yet…I’m still on my European trip. It was time to change my hellos from ‘Hola’ to ‘oi!’
Can anyone guess where I’m going?
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