El Retiro AKA Heaven

Yesterday, my roommate (Rachel), and two of the boys (Omar and Andrew) decided to check out El Retiro. Everyone has recommended we go and told us how beautiful it is, but it exceeded my highest expectations. The park is goorrggeeoouusss!

We took the metro and the exit placed you right on the edge of the park. And so we walked.

Paved and dirt paths spiderweb across the whole park, which spans at least 10 city blocks. In between all the little paths are patches of grass, each individually lined with hedges. Tall trees touch fingertips across the paths as people walk underneath.

We walked all through the park and saw lots of beautiful fountains. Close to the center was the lake. It looked fake.... There were people on small boats paddling around with a backdrop of staircases and sculptures. We stopped to take pictures in front and it seriously looks like we were photoshopped in. Unbelievable.

The lake and boats

We then continued on and saw signs for something called the crystal palace. It was nestled among trees and faced another little lake. The whole thing was made of glass. There were also different colored circles hanging from the ceiling and on the floor. I could only speculate that they reflected the colors when light hit them in a certain way.

Inside the crystal palace

The Crystal Palace and lake


We headed back toward the lake and sat on the other side on the stairs. Facing the lake, there is a semi-circle of tall Roman-looking pillars with sculptures across the top and a tall sculpture in the middle. There is one set of stairs from the sculpture in the middle and another that sat right against the lake. We sat on the stairs closest to the water and watched everyone paddle by.

It was the most relaxing day. I didn't feel I was in the middle of the city.

On the stair side - my roommate taking pictures

This morning, I decided to go back to El Retiro for a run.

I definitely need to get my exercise in because my house moms make us like four course dinners! And obviously I can't resist :))

First I got lost on the metro... Still getting used to it. On the metro and walking the streets I definitely stood out and got some stares. (It's not as common to see people exercising or in work out clothes compared to the states. Usually I can go run errands or go to class and in work out gear and then go to the gym, but here you wear it to work out and change quickly. They dress very well, all times of the day so I had to get to the park quickly! lol)

I took off along one of the many paths, passed more fountains and sculptures. I also saw little kids learning how to rollerblade - probably in a class because cones were all set up. There were running groups doing circut training and families running. I ended up running a lot further than planned because it was all so pretty I didn't mind.

Excuse the sweat- running through the rose gardens

After, I went home to shower, eat breakfast and then my roomie and I headed right back. We met up with everyone in the program at the park. There we laid in the grass with some wine and bread, listened to music, threw around the football and played a little soccer. We got ice cream, and walked around the park some more until dinner.

It was a great day :)

Some of the group relaxing in the grass. Others behind playing soccer

El Retiro is definitely one of the most beautiful and one of my favorite parts so far!

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Tags: Abroad, Aggies, Davis, Madrid, Retiro, Spring, Study, UC, UCD


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