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.
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.
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.
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