Holidays Outdoors In Madrid
You should always stop and smell the roses. You can do just that in Retiro Park in Madrid. But that is just the beginning of the magic at the Parque del Buen Retiro. While the park is only 300 acres, not massive for a park, that space is well used to display sculptures and monuments. A number of events for the holidays call the area around the park’s lake home, and this small space has grown from a place just to take a stroll into a not-to-miss attraction in the city. Once upon a time this park was the part of a royal palace belonging to Phillip IV.
You can see some of that history in the Casón Del Buen Retiro as well as the Museo del Ejército. Unfortunately, the other buildings that would have shown this history were destroyed early in the 19th century during the Napoleonic wars. No longer a building for war, the Casón instead is the home of great works of art, 19th and 20th century paintings. Among the items in the collection are pieces from the Spanish painter Sorolla. To learn about the warfare history of Spain, you should plan a trip to the Ejército.
It is now the most prominent of Spain’s Army museums. Among their claims to fame, a sword called La Tizona that belonged to El Cid, the famous Spanish Warrior. In addition there is a cross that was carried across the ocean by Columbus as he took his trip to discover America, and other armor and artifacts to study. The park has been open to the public for about 140 years, although it was created over 370 years ago. Now it is a place where residents and visitors alike can stroll along the walkways enjoying the lush vegetation, and also enjoying the sounds of street musicians, and the views of jugglers and other street performers. Holidays have the area filled with a festive flair. Looking for something extra peaceful to do. Near the northern entrance of the park is the Estanque del Retiro Lake. If you want a new view of the park, you can rent a boat and take in the view from the water as you row across the lake. Along the lakeside you will see the 1922 statue of King Alfonso XII atop his horse, seemingly riding along the shore.
There is also another lake at the opposite end of the park. Next to this lake is the Crystal Palace or Palacio de Cristal. It was originally created as a home for a number of exotic plants and was created in the image of a similar building in London, back in 1887. The park even offers something for art lovers, with the Palacio de Velázquez. Inside this building are some of the temporary exhibits of the Queen Sofia museum. Then there is the place where you can literally smell the roses, the Rosaleda. This is a magnificent rose garden that is a stopping point for all who visit the park. In the midst of the beauty of the roses is a striking statue showing Satan as a fallen angel, titled El Angel Caído Once you have worked up an appetite, the Serrano Street Restaurants of Madrid are not far away.