Autumn in Madrid – El Retiro Park & Prado

Prado Museum

Last day at Madrid before heading back to Barcelona and a great time at Toledo the day before.  After breakfast in the hotel, I headed to El Retiro Park which was just couple of minutes walk, down the road from the hotel I was staying.

El Retiro Park

El Retiro Park is the main park of Madrid. The park was born in 1630-1640, when Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, gave the king Philip IV several tracts of land in the vicinity for the Court’s recreational use.  Until the late 19th century, it became a public park.

When I stepped into the Park, I thought I just stepped into Gotham City. This part of the park (picture below) felt dark. As it was autumn, there were less greenery did not help. After walking further in, I met the two ladies again who were also taking a walk at the Park before catching the late morning train to Barcelona. I told them that I walked up to the highest point of Toledo, they were very surprised as it was a long up hill walk. The two ladies took the 4pm train back to Madrid as they were already tired.  I guess all my 8km morning walk-a-jog back in Singapore has helped to build up my stamina.

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The park has a large boating lake.  By the lake is a half-moon colonnade with a monument of King Alfonso XII, with his equestrian statue facing the park.

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I walked to anther end of the Park and saw the Storm Trooper and some runners. I guess there was a run going on in the city.

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The El Retiro Park is huge, after walking to the other end of the Park, I could not find the same way out where I got in from. I was lost and it took me more than half an hour to find my way back to the hotel to check out before heading to Prado. Guess what, I also had trouble getting into Museo del Prado.

Museo del Prado

The Prado building that I saw the next street to the hotel I was staying, was not the museum, it was the research centre.  When I found the Museo del Prado (refer to the featured image), I joined the queue, thinking that was where I purchase my ticket to Prado. I was wrong, people were queuing to enter with their tickets. Tickets are sold at another building (refer to picture below).  Glad there was no queue at the ticket counter, if not I doubt I could spend anytime at Prado.

I got the ticket, queue again to enter, view the master pieces and had a quick lunch at the cafeteria in Prado.  The place was huge, it was impossible to view everything in a morning, perhaps not even a day. I was just browsing through the master art pieces, there are so many of them. So much to see, so little time. I hardly cover half the museum. Would love to be back and to spend a full day there. Till next time.

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By 2.30pm, I made my way back to the hotel to collect my overnighter to head to the Sol Railway Station. Once again, I had challenges getting my train tickets back to Barcelona. Everything written in Spanish and I hardly understand a word of Spanish. I took my queue number, waited for more than forty-five minutes for my turn and found out that I was at the wrong ticketing office as they do not sell tickets to Barcelona.

Argh, I just wasted forty-five minutes waiting for nothing and I was not the only person. Another mad rush to hunt down the right ticketing office that was about to closed for the day. Glad I made it on time and bought the ticket for the train that was departing at half past four. I rushed to the train platform as my train was departing in less than twenty minutes.  Whew! I made it.

This is the problem when you combine business and leisure travel. I hardly have time to plan as the business travel was only confirmed two weeks before the trip and I only decided to extend my stay just a few days before I left for the trip. I was busy planning for my business trip and only booked my hotel stay in Madrid when I arrived at Barcelona. Anyhow, I had a great time in Madrid.

Stay tune to read about my last day in Barcelona before flying back to Singapore.

 

Thank you for stopping by and happy Living for Experiences!

 

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Audrey is a lifestyle and travel blogger and a technology marketeer by trade, living in Singapore. She is pursuing a life of simplicity, focusing on experiences - reducing her possessions, staying responsible to the environment and increasing her self-sufficiency. She also enjoys travelling and exploring Singapore to find a new perspective in life.

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