Madrid Parks and Art

We love that our Madrid hotel is located two blocks from Retiro Park. Once upon a time, the park was the royal gardens of the Buen Retiro Palace. Now it’s home to many fountains, statues, a couple soccer fields, runners, cyclists, a boating pond, and gardens.

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Retiro Park is also home to 19th century pavilions and buildings left over from the era of world and national expositions.  We visited one of these pavilions, Palacio de Cristal or The Crystal Palace, which has been transformed (modern art installation style) into the “Splendide Hotel.” For more on the artist and exhibit, click here. It was built in 1887 to host plants from the Philippines during Spain’s National Exposition.

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We rock, pretend to read the books (in Spanish, German, English) and view the park through  glass walls and ceiling.

The Crystal Palace overlooks a lovely pond surrounded by trees just starting to show their fall colors:

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This is another park building that hosts art exhibitions sponsored by the Museo Reina Sofia:

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On another day, Las Chicas explore more of the Royal Quarter and see the Church of Santa Teresa and San José with its Moorish dome:

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We accidentally discover Plaza España, with its multi-purpose statuary and fountain.

One side commemorates Don Quixote and Sancho Panza:

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The other side features Reina Isabel and her fountain:

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The central tower soars, but not as tall as one of Madrid’s first “sky scrapers” behind it built in the 1950s:

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On the days Lisa works, Mary joins Tucson neighbors Eric and Cathy to tour El Prado and Reina Sofia museums and sample Spanish cuisine. Unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of these activities, so did it really happen? At Reina Sofia, a Dali film temporarily sucks in Eric and Cathy until Mary suggests lunch.  But on the way out, the bookshop devours Mary as she tries in vain to read art books in Spanish. Menu del Dia satisfies everyone after that. Lisa joins in the fun one evening for tapas near Puerta del Sol. Garlic breath for everyone!

Mary is happy to have friends along to explore the capital city.

Together again at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Las Chicas see paintings from art’s Euro superstars. Here are a few:

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Dali

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Kandinsky

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Miró

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Guillamin

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Matisse

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Nolde

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Heckel

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Degas

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Pechstein

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Van Gogh

Madrid has a certain appeal with its beautiful buildings, wide boulevards, parks and art museums, but Las Chicas happily return to their home in Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea.

© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.

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