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Jardines del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park)
Buen Retiro Park (Jardines del Buen Retiro or Parque del Buen Retiro, literally “Park of the Pleasant Retreat,” or simply El Retiro) is the one of the largest parks in Madrid. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park.
The Buen Retiro Park is a large and popular 1.4 km2 (350 acres) park at the edge of the city center, very close to the Puerta de Alcalá and not far from the Prado Museum. What’s amazing is that when we stepped into the park, it seemed that we had stepped into an entirely different world. Despite being surrounded by the present-day city and there are plenty of cars and many modern buildings just outside the park, the park evoked a very serene and peaceful feeling in me.
Monument of King Alfonso XII
One of the major sights one will encounter in the park is the Estanque del Retiro (“Retiro Pond”), a large artificial pond, located close to the northern entrance of the park. There’s a monument of King Alfonso XII, a semicircular colonnade and an equestrian statue of the monarch on the top of a tall central core.
Estanque del Retiro (“Retiro Pond”)
Close-up of the monument of King Alfonso XII (taken while in a boat!)
The photo above was taken a few days later, when the sky was much brighter and more beautiful. 🙂 We rented a boat and rowed around the pond. We also bought a pack of bread to feed the extremely hungry and greedy fishes:
So many fishes!
The fishes were super, super, super hungry!
Plaza del Parterre (Place of Flower Beds)
Another amazing view in the park would be the Plaza del Parterre (Place of Flower Beds) – a broad pedestrian esplanade, near the west entrance to the park from the Calle de Alfonso XII. It was laid out in a French garden design during the 1700- 1746 reign of King Philip V who was the first member of the French House of Bourbon to rule as King of Spain. There were many flower beds and a wide variety of unusual and rare trees. At the end of the Plaza del Parterre, a statue and monument of Spanish dramatist Jacinto Benavente was erected.
Statue of Jacinto Benavente – Spanish dramatist that was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature
I love how they pruned the trees – so cute!
Another view of Plaza del Parterre
Located in the centre of the Buen Retiro Park in central Madrid is an imposing glass palace modelled on London’s Crystal Palace. We actually had high hopes and wondered what it will contain inside, but sadly it was empty. It was still an amazing sight nevertheless.
The Palace was made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 metres high.
The bare interior of the Glass Palace
In front of the entrance of the Palace are steps leading down into the large artificial lake of the Retiro Park. The lake contains ducks. geese, black swans and terrapins, who will swim close to the steps – like really, really close!
We also caught a squirrel in action – someone fed it nuts, so cute!
Fountain of the Falling Angel
A fountain that one would pass by would be this Fountain of the Falling Angel. Erected in 1922, this sculpture represents Lucifer falling from Heaven.
Rose Garden – did you see the bugs?
The last place that I would recommend one to visit is the rose garden – it is a great highlight as many species of roses are planted in there – from red to pink to white to yellow – there were so many variety of roses that it’s a very beautiful sight.
After leaving the park, we headed back to the main street and we passed by this huge Neptune Fountain. The Neptune Fountain is located on Paseo del Prado and was built between 1780 to 1786. The fountain represents Neptune, God of the Sea, with a trident in one hand and a coiled snake in the other. The figure is standing on a chariot, drawn by two sea horses and surrounded by dolphins.
And that’s all for Madrid Part 2! Sorry the description’s a bit dull… I hope the picture conveys a lot more words to you! Will get Part 3 out when I’m back 🙂