Autumn in Madrid – El Retiro Park & Prado

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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 a 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 of 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 felt dark. As it was autumn, leaves were turning brown did not help.

After walking further in, I met the two ladies from China again. They 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 uphill 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.

The El Retiro 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 another 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 there. 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, I joined the queue, thinking that was where to purchase my ticket to Prado.

I was wrong, people were queuing to enter with tickets on their hands. Tickets are sold at another building. Glad there was no queue at the ticket counter, if not I doubt I could spend any time at Prado.

I got my ticket, queue again to enter, view the masterpieces and had a quick lunch at the cafeteria in Prado. The Museum is huge, it was impossible to view everything in a morning, perhaps not even a day. I was just browsing through some of 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 spend a full day there. Until the next time.

By 2.30 pm, 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 is 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 close 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 my business trip and only booked my hotel stay in Madrid when I arrived in Barcelona. Anyhow, I had a great time in Madrid.

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

This trip was made in November 2015.

 

Thank you for stopping by and Happy Living for Experiences!

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