I spent this morning wandering around the Parque del Buen Retiro, which is just a couple of blocks away from the apartment I’m living in while here in Madrid. Taking nothing with me but my keys, my phone, and a good book, I strolled through some of the many shady lanes, keeping mainly to the perimeter so that I could see as much as possible of this little paradise in the middle of the big city. It kind of reminds me of a giant salad – the mixed greens of grass and various trees and shrubs peppered with convenient benches, salted with statues, dressed with splashing fountains, liberally sprinkled with dogs, and tossed with all kinds of people – old people, young people, children laughing, children crying, people running, people strolling, people biking, people rollerblading, people making out, people sun bathing, people sitting, people reading. This seems to be where the entire city comes to get some exercise or hang out. And I don’t blame them; it’s absolutely gorgeous.
A little bit further on in my stroll through the Retiro, I came across a concert of classical music! La Banda Orqesta Municipal was playing in a gazebo, surrounded by crowds of people sitting in wooden folding chairs or on the grass underneath the shady trees. The women all had their abánicos out, fanning themselves gently with these hand-held fans, as the day got warmer. It was the perfect spot to sit and people watch and read a book…and the music was good too of course :) It was also entertaining to watch all the dogs that were attending the concert with their owners. My attention was most often drawn to one particularly fuzzy little Eewok who was constantly straining to the very end of his leash, trying to move the anchor that was his mistress, who wasn’t going anywhere as she sat contentedly in a folding chair and listened to the music. I think if I had been her, I would have been the same, occasionally bringing my dog back from the end of his leash so that he wouldn’t bother other people, but for the most part just sitting and enjoying the lovely music, the lovely day, and the lovely atmosphere that is El Retiro.