Saturday, August 2, 2008

Parque del Retiro

Another must do for Madrid, is a visit to the Parque del Retiro or "Retiro Park" which was created as a royal park. It belonged to the Real Sitio del Buen Retiro palace. In 1632, the palace was built by King Philips IV as a retreat for the Royal family. Retiro stands for retreat, hence the name of the park and palace. The park , originally, covered an area of 180 square meteres, and, had over 30 buildings.

The centre of the park is the large lake where you can go boating or simply laze around on its steps and listen to street entertainers perform. The park has a number of 'terrazas' (open air bars) where you can sip a beer or enjoy an 'horchata' (made from tiger nuts or almonds). As you sit in the bars and sip your drink, you see roller skaters whizz past, families with babies in their prams, artists making carricatures / potraits of people, vendors selling the most amazing things from a sketch of the human body to dancing plastic Coke bottles, a magic show, a puppet show for the little ones...the Retiro is a place where MadrileƱos come to relax and spend their afternoons on holidays...

Another key attraction within the park is the Crystal Palace or a palace made out of galss.

The park also has the only public statue of Lucifer.

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