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A Grand Day in Madrid

There is no better way to relax and rest than with a visit to the “Buen Retiro” Park. Although we didn’t exactly rest as one has to walkabout a lot. We walked down the “Gran Vía” arriving at the “Cibeles” Fountain and turned onto the Prado Path briefly stopping at the Apollo Fountain and further ahead at the Neptune Fountain.

We swung back towards “El Prado” Museum, greeting along the way, Velazquez and Goya and as we walked up the “Felipe IV” Street, we turned to the Royal Spanish Academy, arriving at the “Maria Cristina de Borbón” Statue which stands facing the “Casón del Buen Retiro”. The Big House (“el Casón”) was originally used as a dancing hall for the court of “Felipe IV”. This is the only surviving structure of the “Buen Retiro” Palace, which appropriately is in front of the “Felipe IV” gateway, one of many entry points of the “Buen Retiro” Park. Presently, the building is part of the “El Prado” Museum Complex.

As is customary to gain strength, we paused for a good cup of coffee at the “L’Academia” cafeteria. A charming little place where we were catered to very well.

We made our way through the “Felipe IV” into the “Buen Retiro” Park. Comfortably strolling we arrived at the Monument to “Jacinto Benavente”, continuing on the Paraguay Path where we encountered the “Alcachofa” Fountain. A few steps further we could see the Grand Pond / Lake of “el Retiro”.

We arrived at the Crystal Palace, a work inspired on its namesake found in Hyde Park in London. This palace was constructed by the Architect Ricardo Velazquez Bosco in 1887 as part of the Philippines Isles Expo. The building is an iron frame completely covered with glass. At it’s feet is a great pond visited by a wide variety of birds with a large water sprout in the middle. Presently, the Crystal Palace is used for the exhibition of contemporary art.

Our walk through the park would take us to the “La Rosaleda”, a rose garden with more than 4,000 rose bushes. The Rose Garden has an oval design and has three small fountains and ponds. Exiting the garden, we took the “Fermín Núñez” Path and inched towards the Fountain of the Fallen Angel. Supposively,  the sculpture stands at an elevation of 666 meters over sea level.

A hometown boy,  Ricardo Beliver is the creator of this sculpture which was awarded the the First Class Medal in the National Expo of the Fine Arts held in Madrid in 1878. Justly, near this symbol pf sin, we had to stop into the “Chiringuito” to sin, with a rich ice cream.

 

Round the small lake or pond of the Crystal Palace we made our way to another palace, the Velazquez Palace. This structure is another work of the Architect Ricardo Velazquez Bosco. We had arrive believing that it was the work of the painter Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez,,  known worldwide as the great  Diego Velázquez. We were surprised to learn that that it was another Velazquez, one that introduced the use of many new materials during the time. In our article “Palacio de Velázquez” you will find more information on this palace.

Once again on the “Fermín Núñez” Path, this time we walked to the Martinez Campo Monument rising from within a small pond, heading then to the Grand Pond / Lake of “el Retiro” and the Monument to Alfonso XII, at the time undergoing restoration. Notwithstanding, we were able to enjoy this great tribute to Alfonso XII. It was nice to see so many people around the lake and in row boats.

We moved on to the Fisherman’s House, with its wild birds. There is so much to see in the grand “Buen Retiro” Park.

We exited the “Buen Retiro” Park to the Alcalá Street, viewing along the way the “San Manuel y San Benito” Church on route to the Arch or Gateway of Alcalá and the Independence Square.

Our friend Gadiel would be waiting for us in from of the Bear and Strawberry Bush statute for a night on the town and see new things in Madrid. Down the “Arenal’ Street we went, walking by the Royal Theater and the Oriental Square to the ” Belén” Street reaching the Debod Temple, an Egyptian monument.

We strolled about the viewpoints and onto conquering the Plaza of Spain, visiting the Cervantes Monument.

Gadiel would also take us to the “Labra” House Restaurant (a Madrid landmark) to enjoy delicious croquettes of Cod fish.

Good conversation and even colder beers awaited us at the “Fontana de Oro” pub, were surprisingly we discovered in its lower level, a singularly decorated Medieval hall.

It was a great day of discovery in Madrid.

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