Summer in Madrid is almost here. And the thought exasperates me. While the impending season may set the numerous lot to a euphoric mood, I feel the opposite if only for one thing – it makes blogging more tedious. Let me point out the reasons. The glare from the sun is disturbing – it forces me to squint my eyes, rendering some of my shots out of focus, and thus, delivering inferior results. The sweltering temperature wears me down to major tiredness, and before you know it,lethargy and ennui set in. Ultimately, this leads to my becoming less productive.
I could rant on and on, yet the fact remains that the season is inevitable; its heat, unavoidable. There’s no use whining over something that’s not even remotely life-changing, or threatening. Hence, here’s reluctantly welcoming the next three months of hotness. I’ll try to bear Madrid’s summer season, which as a matter of fact, is hardly bearable.
Summer isn’t all that bad, truth to tell. Lucid light helps achieve clearer, livelier photographs – a boon for my blog. Pictures are devoid of unwanted shadows, uneven colors, and blurs. Of course, quality shots don’t always require too much illumination. Strong lighting, in fact, can wreck havoc to what could be a beautiful photo. Shots taken at extremely bright high noon can make the details in your photographs unrecognizable, or disappear altogether. In order to obtain an evenly-lit photo with beautiful shadows, try shooting in the early morning or late afternoon.
Time to head to Madrid Gardens
Summertime is when the afternoons are hot and humid, and the streets of Spain’s capital breathe off discomfortingly hot vapors, enticing people to rush to cool places such as Madrid’s gardens and parks. Good thing that the city has some of the best gardens that it can offer. While orhers ask for entrance fees like the Real Botanical garden, many are free. The best for me is El Retiro, Madrid’s national park, which literally is an oversized garden. I’m amazed by its vastness in area – the wide open spaces, the man-made lake, the beautiful sculptures, the structures – everything inside El Retiro fascinates that people want to visit the park over and over.
Apart from Buen Retiro, two other gardens are worth visiting for their stunning views, lush flora, and refreshingly cool shades. These are the Jardin de Sabatini and Campo Del Moro, both of which are near the Palacio Real.
Jardines de Sabatini
Adjacent to the palace is the Jardines de Sabatini, or the Sabatini Gardens. It boasts of tall trees, intricately trimmed hedges, fountains, and a pond. Benches abound and are found all over the park, but mainly along pathways and beneath trees. After a long day of visiting nearby Madrid sites and attractions such as Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Alcala, Gran Via, Plaza de Espana, Palacio de Cibeles, and the Palacio Real itself, many tourists decide that their final stop for the day is Sabatini.
Horarios: Open to the public everyday, from 9:00AM to 9:00PM
Direccion: Calle de Bailén, Madrid
How to go: Take the Metro and alight at Opera Station. Walk through Plaza Oriente to reach Calle Bailen and Palacio Real de Madrid. On its immediate left is the garden. You can also enter via the Cuesta San Vicente Gate.
The Garden of Sabatini is open all year long. It experiences a peak in the number of visitors during the summer season
Hedges typically have elaborate designs. The Jardines de Sabatini’s are much simpler, with linear and angular designs. They are impressive, just the same – a feast to the eyes
The statue of Alfonso X de Castilla, or Alfonso the Wise. He ruled over the Spanish regions of Castilla, Leon, and Galicia during the mid-13th century
Their designs might be simple,still, the hedges of Sabatini are comparable if not better than those in the gardens in France. If only for its hedges, the garden adds significant beauty to the stately Palacio Real de Madrid
Campo del Moro
The Campo del Moro is located at the back of the Palacio Real. The garden was so-called because it was the area where Moslem armies were formed to invade the Christian cities of Alcazar and Madrid.
Eventually, it was developed as a hunting ground for the royal family. Every summer, a large influx of visitors is expected to enjoy the garden as a place of rest and recreation after a tiring tour of Madrid. The garden has many benches situated underneath tall trees, providing cool and refreshing shades. Just like the Sabatini Garden, Campo del Moro is beautifully green all over, boasting of thousands of plant and tree varieties.
As a blogger, I label the jardin a paradise, what with its many beautiful scenery and spots. Its winding dirt roads and paths, for instance,are perfect subjects of photography – they are dreamy and romantic. There are some portions of the pathways where trees that line the sides seem to embrace each other, entangling their branches and twigs to form a shining bright green roof made out of overlapping leaves, hovering the length of the road.
If you’ll check your map book, you’d see how proximate the garden is to the Royal Palace. Unfortunately, the entrance is far, found along Paseo de la Virgen de Puerto. If your starting point is the palace, you must pass through a number of streets, Calle Bailen, Cuesta de San Vincente, y Virgen de Puerto, before you can actually reach it. By contrast, the entrance gate to Sabatini is right along Calle Bailen, very near the Palacio Real.
Horarios: Open Monday to Sunday, from 10:00AM to 10:00PM
Direccion: Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto 28058 Madrid
How to go: Take Metro train and descend at Principe Pio Station. Cross the corner of Cuesta San Vicente, by Puerta de San Vicente. Walk a few meters through Paseo de la Virgen de Puerto and this will bring you to the entrance to the garden.
A map of the interior of Jardines del Campo del Moro serves to guide visitors as they tour the garden
Fuente de las Conchas is a beautiful accent to the Garden. It is connected to the palacio by the Pradera de las Vistas del Sol. The fountain was initially installed at the palace of Don Luis of Boadilla del Monte
It pays to be patience. After waiting for more than an hour, garden’s fabulously-feathered resident finally decided to show off by fanning its tail feathers. It’s not the best shot, but this I’ll have to make do. They say a squeaking peacock with a fanned tail is a threatened guy (peacocks are male). So, I and everybody else around kept our distance as we took pictures
In 1892, created was the Chateau o La Casita de la Reina, a wooden house made as a resting place for the of Her Royal Highness the Queen of Spain
Flower beds of fully-bloomed white carnation line the side of pradera of Campo del Moro
The sun’s rays filter through and bounce off the leaves of the trees and bushes found along both sides of the narrow road. This results in a somewhat illusion of a bright green luminescence lighting up the way and ready to mesmerize anyone that passes through
After a few days of a busted server (web host’s), I was finally able to finish and post this article. The same last days saw how the cold wind had blown its last. It’s apparent that the afternoons had become hotter; the breeze, warmer. The sun has now swelled into a throbbing, gigantic scorcher up in the sky, ready to sear anything that its blazing rays touch. The weather has become intolerable that I had to cut short my trip to the parks and be content with everything I gathered for this article. Now I’m readying my next post (on Atocha) in the comfort of my room.
Assessing the past week so far, I think it’s going to be a really hot summer in Madrid. Still, despite the searing heat, admittedly that we are moving to a better weather. Since blogs are more about pictures than words, the bright and clear summer days will definitely help me come up with quality photos for my website.
The fact is that many consider summer as a huge deal of a season, and plan their next three months around either going abroad for a vacation, or touring Spain. In my case, I guess I’ll just have to adapt with the weather change. Just a few days more, and I’d be fully acclimatized. And off I go again to continue with my exploration of the city. As it is, there are so many more sites and attractions to discover, take pictures of, and blog about. Madrid never seems to run out of things extraordinary. There must still be tons of food to taste, barrios to discover, traditions to appreciate, and locals to mingle and blend in. All this will be easier to do now that summertime is upon us – when Madrid is (hopefully for me) at its best.