After an 15 months hiatus, this weekend I’ve finally boarded a plane! And in the interests of transparency, another plane, a bus, three trains and two taxis.
However, this isn’t the the usual ‘weekend escape’. In fact this trip was for work rather than play. I’m so privileged that my job as a make up artist enables me to travel. Mostly it’s in and around the UK, but this weekend I was flown to Spain with my colleague Robyn, to pamper a gorgeous bride.
The wedding itself was being held in Tudela, a town **** miles from Madrid. So with a few hours to kill between our flight and train, we decided to explore a very small part of Madrid.
El Retiro Park
Located a ten minute stroll from Puerta de Atocha train station, El Retiro Park boasts 350 acres of beautiful lush, landscape, alongside fountains, sculptures and even Peacocks!
We entered the park on the most south westerly point, at the corner of roads Calle de Alfonso XII and Puerto Del Angel Caido, and continued down the wide footpath the the Fountain of the Fallen Angel.
Here is the first of the various food outlets in the park, and between you and I, the one I’d avoid. 😷
Next we headed to the beautiful Botanical Garden, which is at its best in May and June. So we really lucked out on this trip.
Filled with 4000 blooming roses, it smells divine and looks even more so. Taking a moment with a cheeky bottle of fizz on one of the many benches would be idyllic.
Taking a left at Paseo Fernán Núñez, we headed into what looked to me, like the set of Highgarden from Game of Thrones. Cecillo Rodrigúez Garden.
Peacocks roamed around the columned walkways, showcasing their spectacular feathers and filling the peaceful setting with their cries.
Amongst the traditional, there is speckles of modern like the tree ladder sculpture and detailed features like the engraved trees.
Heading north past the library the commercial centre is a great spot to relax and revive. From here we wandered west towards the lake passing Monumento a Alfonso XII on route. If you’ve been to Budapest, I got serious Heroes Square vibes here.
With little time for a boat ride, we admired the sailers from afar, jealous of the picnic goers around us making the most of the surrounding and warm weather. The eateries around here seemed much more appealing to.
Finally with half an hour to spare before our train, we meandered through the Plaza Parterre past the Jacinto Benavente Monument, which depicts a women putting on a mask (another Game of Thrones moment… totally reminded me of the Faceless Men)
Like the others before it, this garden was simply stunning. Clean, safe and an outstandingly beautiful landscape.
I could of stayed here for days. And that’s just the park itself. In our short time here we saw so much, but still missed some of the main attractions such as, Palacio de Cristal, Palacio de Velaźquez and Puerta de España.
Three hours just isn’t enough, give yourself a full day to experience El Retiro to its full potential. You won’t regret it.
Where to eat at El Retiro
There isn’t an abundance of foot outlets at El Retiro, but there’s enough to keep hunger at bay. We enjoyed some sun, wine and tapas at Florida Retiro.
Ordering was a little tricky as staff don’t speak much English (but then that’s my fault for flunking GCSE Spanish…) so we actually ordered the totally wrong items and didn’t realise you have to return to the counter to collect your grub 🙈 but it was delicious all the same. A large glass of wine came in at €3.50, so not badly priced either.
How to get to Madrid
We flew to Madrid from Liverpool with EasyJet, which takes just over 2 hours.
As we had an onward journey to Tudela, we hopped on the Airport Express bus to Atocha station, which takes around 20 mins and cost €5 each. It stops at each Terminal and run every 15 minutes.
Atocha station is truly beautiful too, filled with topical plants.
All in all, I fell in love with Madrid in a mere few hours. I cannot wait to return and explore what else it has to offer and continue exploring El Retiro too.
I’d love to hear your experiences of Madrid! If you too want to hop over to the Spanish capital, pin the image below to keep this blog handy!