Jetlagged, we woke up around midday and sadly Madison caught a small sickness and was not feeling too well. A rough start to the day we decided to continue our adventure at a later time than expected. We decided to visit the center of Spain also known as, ”Sol.” Here we were greeted by the basic examples of a tourist hotspot, street performers and scammers. We each placed one foot on the indicator of the center of Spain. The streets buzzed with activity and Madison being an adapted local, was guiding us to our next destination, El Retiro Park.
On the way to the park we grew hungry and were introduced to another Spanish custom known as Tapas Bars. Tapas are small snacks to hold over until dinner time. The times that people eat in Spain differs from the times Americans eat. Breakfast runs from 9 to 11, lunch 2 to 4, and then dinner from 9 to 11 at night. So to fill the gap, we stopped at a more popular bar known as Los Gatos. The portions and prices at the tapas bars are always the same; cheap, small, and very good quality wise. We enjoyed our snack and surprised by how small the portions were. El Retiro was a short walk away from the restaurant and as dusk approached we made haste to the park.
The entrance of the park was marked by a clearing in all of the buildings. Madrid has no greenery in the city’s center and although a lively atmosphere, it felt very dismal with the lack of it. El Retiro was the most beautiful park in the city and it is not an understatement by calling it that. Intricate sculptures, uniquely carved bushes and trees, and crisp cut lawns were the most notable features of the park as well as its small pond in the center that offered visitors paddle boats to rent and ride in. With the sun just sitting on the tops of the buildings, it shined a sharp angle that casted beautiful shadows along the pathways. Unfortunately, Madison was starting to feel even worse so we retired for the night to watch movies and hangout while Madison attempted to rest for the next destination, Grenada.