Tag Archive: Retiro



 

If you can enjoy Madrid without shelling a euro, why ever NOT? This blog will hopefully guide you to enjoy Madrid without shelling a euro.

 

 

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My best freebie experience in Madrid is my visit to the Senado. I sent an email requesting permission to view Juan Luna’s “Battle of Lepanto”. My blog on this adventure speaks of my Filipino pride. Juan Luna has that effect on us.

 

 

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From the Senado, you can switch to that most remarkable Spanish Master whose art evolved through the years. Take the Metro to Principe Pio. Off the beaten path, but your interest would peak just knowing that Goya is buried here in Ermita de San Antonio off Paseo de Florida. Headless. His frescoes on the dome is Madrid’s mini- Sistine Chapel. Do check out my blog on this Goya adventure.

 

 

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Need some air? Have a small picnic at the Parque de Retiro. Off the Retiro Station, have a glimpse of Plaza de la Independencia before strolling off to the Park. It is a huge park. I easily spent 2 hours walking, sitting, reading here. I wished I brought a sandwich and a thermo jug of good brew. Perhaps next time.

 

 

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Luna and Goya. Then a relaxing afternoon and picnic at the Retiro Park. Not bad. It doesn’t end there. More freebies in store for you. 😊By 5pm, start moving your ass to get back on the metro for a ride to Banco de España from where you can begin your paseo along Paseo del Prado. Prado Museum is free from 6 pm onwards. On the other hand —- just a few hundred meters away —- the Museo del Reina Sofia is free from 7pm till closing time at 9pm. I would suggest you don’t view the exhibits in one go. After all, it’s free so what’s the rush? Just make sure you don’t go on those days the museums are closed. But if you only have a day and want to enjoy these freebies, you’d be fine restricting yourself to the Prado. Stay till closing time to leisurely view the works of art of the Spanish Masters.

 

 

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Have another day to spend without spending? Well, you can always go back to Museo de Reina Sofia (6-8pm) or there’s Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol and the Cathedral of Almudena. The last 3 make for a great photowalk. Don’t forget to visit the crypt beside the Almudena Church! And if there’s still time, go sit in any of the parks near Almudena Church and Palacio Real. Sabatini Garden and Plaza del Oriente invite you to simply relax and catch your breath while enjoying great views. If you’re lucky, you can even witness the changing of the guards. Or the changing of the royal horses. Both are great spectacles!


Here’s another favorite haunt of our national hero while he was here in Madrid. Can’t blame him. Parque de Retiro, which used to be exclusive to royalty, is such a pleasure to be in anytime of day. Just take the Linea 2 (red line) metro 🚉 to Retiro and it’s right there as you exit out of the station.

 

 

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Now, I wonder how many times Rizal went on dates in this park. Remember, JPR lived a frugal life here in Madrid and a paseo around Parque de Retiro would have been a cheap but romantic way to take out a señorita.

 

 

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These days, you’d find street musicians 🎺🎷🎸🎤 and illegal vendors (selling their wares on laid out rugs)👜💼👢 around the park. It was a bit of a challenge to take a good photo of the pond and the monuments without these characters. And then there are the lovers. 👫💑 Of all kinds.

 

 

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Sundays are crowded in Parque de Retiro where locals enjoy just strolling around the gardens, 🚲biking, renting boats 🚤 to row around the pond, drinking their cafe con leche ☕ or cafe cortado, shopping for “smuggled” bags 👜peddled by vendors on blankets or rugs laid out on pavements, skateboarding, or simply shooting the breeze while listening to street musicians. 🎤

 

 

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JPR must have been so inspired by this ex-royal garden that he named his place of exile in Dapitan as “Mi Retiro.” This is also the place where an Igorot woman died in the dead of winter while “on exhibit” in the Exposición de Filipinas in 1887. The exhibit meant to showcase Philippine artifacts, art works and botanical specimens which included “sample Philippine tribe peoples” like the Igorots, Manobos and Negritos. You can just imagine how JPR criticized Spain for its violation of Filipinos’ human rights which resulted in the death of this Igorot human specimen, while other tribe “samples” contracted pneumonia due to the bitter cold.

 

 

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Tsk. Tsk. It’s stories like these that make me ever so grateful for the sacrifices and bravery of our national heroes. As a reminder of what they went through as against the freedoms that we now enjoy, one can’t help but lament how much we have forgotten. Truly, we as a nation need to reconnect with our past so we do not fail to take things for granted and more importantly, to regain our national identity and pride as a people.

 

Aaaaahhhh…… Enough said. Or written. 📝