Sunday, May 14, 2017

Parque del Buen Retiro and Friends

I met some friends from San Miguel yesterday who are sweeping through Europe and we had tapas and then walked through the Parque del Buen Retiro, which is a very large public park (350 acres!) on the east side of the historic center. It dates back to the time of Philip II (reigned 1556 - 98) when it was landscaped as a retreat adding to a previous one belonging to a church. Most of the work was done in the 17th century. It was a private retreat for the royal family until late in the 19th century when it was opened up to the public. It is a lovely park, with many different areas including boulevards:

French-style gardens, with topiary:

That statue in the distance is a monument to the dramatist Jacinto Benavente, who won the Nobel prize in literature in 1922.

And here is a closer look at the topiary, which were cypress trees, I think:

There is a good-sized lake in the park, with boats, and a lot of carp swimming around. I didn't get a good photo of the big monument to Alfonso XII which dominates one side of the lake, because half of it is currently covered in scaffolding, being restored. But here is a picture I took of the lake, with boaters. In my photo, you can just see part of the monument, on the right in the trees:

Here is what it really looks like:

Alfonso XII, though he reigned quite briefly, dying at age 27 in 1885, was a very effective and much-loved monarch. As our envoi, let's listen to the ballet music from Act II of "Le Cid", the opera by Jules Massenet that was premiered in 1885:


Will Wilkin said...

Now I finally know what a proper park looks like!

Bryan Townsend said...

Central Park is another one, and actually twice as large!