When my husband and I visited Spain in 2011 we had initially planned on only visiting Barcelona. However, when he was doing research he found a number of things in and around Madrid that he also wanted to see. We made the decision to split our time between the two cities. I don’t regret this decision but I do realize that by splitting our efforts neither city got the in depth exploration that it deserved.
I have previously written about La Sagrada Familia and there is much more to write about in terms of our time in Barcelona but today I’m going to turn my attentions to the Spanish capital of Madrid.
I was very sad to leave Barcelona and when we initially arrived in Madrid I was a little turned off. I found Madrid to be a much grittier city than Barcelona. It was kind of like the difference between Los Angeles and New York City.
But within an hour Madrid began to win me over. Our hotel was not far from the large Atocha train station so the transition from our train to our new hotel room was very quick.
Once we got unpacked our first destination was a walk around Parque del Retiro.
Los Angeles is a great city to live in but one thing is lacks is the amazing parks of Europe. Both my husband and I absolutely loved the beauty and the size of Parque del Retiro. One thing that we noticed early on was all of the young Spanish couples and their very public displays of affections. It’s amusing because despite the fact that the American media is sex obsessed there is still a puritan streak that runs through the U.S. The young Spaniards seemed much freer. I liked it.
One of the highlights of our time in Parque del Retiro was renting a rowboat and going out on the little lake.
I wasn’t very coordinated but I did do better than my husband who at one point had as going around it circles.
The whole thing was a great deal of fun.
Another thing we really liked about the park was that there was a variety of landscapes. I am sun worshiper and my husband like to be in the shade. As we explored the park we found some areas that were out in the sun for me.
Shortly before our visit to Spain the movie “Black Swan” had won Natalie Portman and Oscar. I had never actually seen a black swan in real life so I was intrigued to see one at Parque del Retiro.
We really loved our time in Parque del Retiro and it was concluded with a stroll through some fun modern art.
We were lucky though, we were able to see almost the entire park before a massive rain storm hit. The storm would encompass the entire Iberian peninsula for days and not cease until our last new hours in Madrid.
We are so glad we saw Parque del Retiro while we were in Madrid. I turned our opinion around on the city and is defiantly a place we want to visit again the next time we are in Madrid. If you are planning a trip to Madrid you much take a stroll tough this beautiful and amazing park, or you could take a picnic or rent a rowboat.
Whatever you do don’t leave this off your list in Madrid.
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