Tag Archives: Parque

Parque Madrid Rio: Green Park by the Manzanares River

The city of Madrid is not without impressive and beautiful parks There’s one that’s worth visiting, near the popular areas of Principe Pio Metro Station and Centro commercial — it is the ultra-green city park known as Parque Madrid Río.

The park can be described as complete and modern recreational because of the presence of various facilities found within. Modern recreational and sports structures and equipment, in particular, are situated in strategic areas along its length. Hence, promenaders and hikers, physical fitness enthusiasts doing some exercise using their favorite equipment, bikers, and even skaters are familiar sights in the park. Do you know that it even has what they call an urban beach? Amazing, isn’t it?

The park is linear in shape, running along the course of the historic Manzanares River. Comprising a total length of 10 kilometers, it traverses through a number of Madrid city districts such as Carabanchel and Centro, but it is best associated with Arganzuela, which is why many refer to it as the Arganzuela Park. Also found are a number of bridges meant for use by pedestrians and bicycle riders, such as the Arganzuela bridge. Most of these structure basically connect one side of the park to the other.

The Parque Madrid Rio is touted to be one of the most pedestrian-friendly places within the capital, where one can enjoy miles of walkways that stretch through the park. I myself had already taken a long and leisurely walk through it not once, but a couple of times, starting my promenade in the area of Plaza Legaspi, reaching Principe Pio n front of the gateway monument after almost 2 hours.

All in all, the fascinating green city park strip runs a total of 10 kilometres and on the average, is 25 meters wide. It also connects already existing green areas such as the Casa del Campo with the city centre.
Madrid Rio bridgePedestrian bridge offer convenient transfer of pedestrians and bikers from one bank to another
imageSign along pathway going to Matadero, a culture and arts center of Madrid
imageNave buildings at Matadero MadridimagePalacio de Arganzuela or Invernadero building (greenhouse) is found at the Plaza Legaspi portion of the park, beside Matadero
imageSky sleigh ride is one of the fun rides inside Parque Madrid

imageThese gigantic slides remind me of my childhood playground; such facilities are certainly a joy to kid visitors of the park

imageThe park features a spacious rink for skates and skate board riders and enthusiasts
imageLush fauna abound within the Madrid Rio park
imageWooden benches are also everywhere, in case your feet tire from all the walking
imageStately monument stands in the middle of the park
imageArganzuela coniaxial pedestrian bridge is one of the major bridges spanning the historic Manzanares River
imageThe Arganzuel footbridge consists of metal spirals that interlock. Wood component serves as floor of the bridge
imagePuente de Toledo is a very famous baroque-style bridge of Madrid filled with history, built way back in the early part of the 1700’s. Like the other park bridges, the Toledo bridge links both banks and roundabouts of Pyramides and Carabanchel or Marquis de Vadillo.
imageAlso known as Puente Segoviana, the Segovia Bridge a major bridge within Madrid Rio Park, and one of the popular Renaissance work of Spanish architect Juan de Herrera. The bridge is considered as a vital access point to the town
imageThe Bridge of Segovia with fountains accenting its area. Seen in the background are the Palacio Real and the Almuneda Cathedral
imagePuente de Segovia is recognized as the city’s oldest bridge in Madrid, constructed during the sixteenth century
imageEntrance to the Casa de Campo, located at the portion of Madrid Rio near Principe Pio

Direccion: Puente de Toledo Madrid, 28019

Metro: Principe Pio Line 6, Line 10, R
Bus: 25, 36, 33, 36, 50, 39, 65

Map:

Outside Madrid: Castilian Town of Avila Spain

Town walls or murallas of AvilaLocated 100 kilometers from the capital city of Madrid is the beautiful town of Avila, Spain. A hundred kilometers might seem far, but it is actually not even if you must commute to get there. It is a mere 1 1/2 hours by train and a maximum of 2 via bus, and so you can´t blame me if I add this town to my list of convenient and affordable day trip destinations.

A part of the community of Castile Laon, Avila is a charming Castilian town, serving as the capital of the province that bears the same name. And by the way, trust me when I say it´s charming. Avila´s as charming as it can be. It immediately won my heart — a pounding one at that — the minute I stepped into the town and finally gazed at the wall gates near the Iglesia of Saint Peter. What a sight to behold! The wall, or the muralla de Avila, is such an entrancing monument, and comparable to Toledo´s Alcazar or Segovia´s Acqueducto Romano.

To be in Avila is like being transported to a 16th-century Spanish town filled with cobbled roads, medieval churches, royal houses, not to mention that the ancient walls that surround it.

When it comes to the wall, a quick inspection tells you that it is in perfect condition. It should be even after all these years, as this major Spain attraction, was built to serve as a strong enclosure to protect the town from invasion. The wall singularly puts Avila in the tourism map; it certainly is the reason why people – locals and tourists – come to visit the town in droves.

The town, whose beloved saint is St. Therese of Avila, is known for its numerous iglesias. I must have encountered one everywhere I go, which is why a number of them are featured in this article, such as the Iglesia de San Pedro, standing at the  major square of San Theresa, outside the walls; the Gothic-style Cathedral of Avila; and the Basilica de San Vicente, another highly popular church that’s located outside the muralla.

Indeed, the town of Avila has so much to offer in terms of fascinating tourist sites and attractions. Here are some of them that you will surely enjoy:

The Muralla or the Town Wall

imageFacade of the town wall, which was built to serve as protection and shield of the medieval town of Avila from the attacks of the Moors.

The Walls along El Rastro

imageWalk the pathway along that part of the wall at Parque El Rastro one late afternoon, and you´ll be mesmerized.

Basilica of San Vicente

imageNo words can describe the utter grace and solemnity of the Basilica of San Vicente. The Romanesque church, a national monument since 1882, was constructed using granite rocks. Also known as the Basilica of Saints Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta, it is one of the top church sites among tourists, and second only to the town´s Cathedral in popularity.

Church of Saint Peter

Iglesia de San Pedro, Avila, SpainThe photo shows the side gate to the Church of Saint Peter or La Iglesia de San Pedro. Notice the intricacy in the designs of its door, stone column, and arch components. Declared a monument of cultural interest in 1914, the church is located on one end of the Plaza de Santa Teresa de Jesus.

The Cathedral of Avila

imageKnown as the Catedral del Salvador de Avila, both Romanesque and Gothic designs were applied during its construction. The cathedral holds the distinction of being the first Gothic church to be built in the country. Its apse is a part of the muralla, and is considered as the most important turret of that section of the wall.

Convento de San Jose o de los Madres

imageBuilt in the beginning of the 1500’s, Convento de San Jose served as a convent for the Carmelite nuns of the town. It was declared a historical site and national monument in 1968.

The Town Ayuntamiento

imageWhile average in height and appearance, the beauty of the Ayuntamiento of the City Hall of Avila cannot be denied especially when its facade is lit up in the evening. The historic town hall, together with other establishments, enhance the beauty of the square, Plaza Mercado Chico.

Iglesia de Santiago

imageLa Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago is a breathtaking Avilan church that displays both Roman and Gothic styles. Thanks to its octagon-sided bell tower, Iglesia de Santiago is recognizable even when viewed from the distant mirador at Parque El Rastro.  The church was declared a monument of cultural interest on the 13th of April, 1983.

Plaza de Santa Teresa de Jesus

imagePlaza de Santa Teresa is also known as El Grande, and is one of the two recognized main squares of the town, the other being the Plaza Mercado Chico, found within the walls and home to the city hall. In the photo, the statue of the Monument to St. Therese faces the Puerto de Alcazar, one of the Wall Gates.

Yemas – Los Pasteles Traditionales de Avila

imageAvila can be dubbed as the town of delicious sweets and pastries, with the yema as its traditional Spanish food delicacy. I bought a box of 6 piece at Chuchi, one of the popular pastelerias around and enjoyed some of the best-tasting sweets I must have had in a long time. Most shops sell them at 6 pieces for 2.50 euros, and 4.50 to 5 euros for a box of 12.

More Avila sites and scenes

imageWith its yemas and other delicious sweets, Avila wins the title of ¨Spain´s Pastry town”
imageFrom the mirador, or the viewing balcony of the Parque de Rastro, you will be enthralled by the breathtaking view of the Ambles valley and all else that your eyes can see as everything is illuminated by the soft glow from the setting sun.
imageStatue of St. Therese de Avila with bountiful offerings of bouquets of flowers
imageBeautifully lit and animated fountain inside the courtyard complements the walls in adding mysticism to the surroundings
imageAs the sun’s rays kiss the orange granite stones of which the wall is made of, it magically turns golden

imageWhat an exciting day trip destination Avila is! I’ve seen so much, but there is more to explore — more churches, more sections of the muralla, and more truly spectacular views from atop this town wall (if you access it). Needless to say, much can be explored and discovered in Avila. It is not surprising that people who’ve been there would love to do a second visit. I myself is planning one, definitely soon.

Want to Enjoy a tour of the Wall?

Accessible tramos or sections to the public: Casa de Carnicerias, Puerta del Alcazar, Arco del Carmen and Puente Adaja

Entrance Fee: General Price is 5 euros; Reduced Price is 3.5 euros

Free entry: Tuesdays, from 2PM to 4PM

How I traveled to Avila, Spain:

One can reach the town via Renfe (train) or by bus. I opted for the latter, as always, as I find it convenient and less “invasive” compared to the train. Albeit, bus ride do take more off your time.

1. Via Autobus:

In Madrid, take the Metro station Linea 6 and get off at Mendez Alvaro. This station is found inside the Estacion Sur, the biggest and the busiest bus station in the city. If you’re in the vicinity of Atocha, take the EMT autobus 10 and alight at the Avenida Ciudad Barcelona – Pacifico parada, near the Pacifico Metro. Ride the train at this station, and get off at the next one, which is Mendez Alvaro.

I opted for the Jimenez Dorado bus, which arrived and departed on time. A plus: They offer video and music playing gadget in front of your seat. Too bad I didn’t bring my earphone.A one-way ticket to Avila Spain is around 7.50 euro, but if you buy an ida y vuelta (round trip) ticket, you´d spend less, at 13.61 euros. Be advised that tickets are not sold on the bus, but at the Estacion Sur ticketing counter. I made the mistake of falling in line at the darsena (platform) for nearly an hour only to be refused. After acquiring tickets from the counter, I had to wait for another two hours for the next scheduled trip.

Other Bus Companies offering trips: Avanza bus Company is also found in Estacion Sur. Visit its website for prices and bus schedules.

2. Via Train:

RENFE have regular trips to Avila. Please check costs and schedules on its official website.

Map:

Los Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez in Retiro Park, Madrid

imageIf you’re looking to visit a nice garden in Madrid, Spain and don’t want to pay any admission fee (actually, there are many in the city that are free, while some ask for a minimal amount for you to enter), one of the best is the picturesque garden inside Retiro Park that was a creation of the city’s official park gardener (or the Jadinero Mayor de Retiro) – Cecilio Rodriguez. He designed a garden I thought is very much pleasing to the eyes – one that bears his name. Rodriguez was the director of Madrid’s parks and gardens, and also responsible for created the rose garden or Rosaleda, another beautiful and well-maintained garden within the Retiro Park.

imageThe entrance gates to the garden doesn’t open until 10 in the morning
imageThe garden is not only filled with carefully trimmed hedges but brightly-colored and blooming flowers as well
imageI stay beside this fountain all day. With its clear water, this garden feature does have a calming effect on anyone who sets his sight on it
imageRows of low plants of green and red dominate much of this area of the garden, while lining both sides of the pond. Water spouts from a number of fountains installed thru the length of the pond, making for an attractive view

imageBrick and stone edifice located on the side area of the garden. It is said to be a venue where gardening courses are held, and where garden tools and equipment are kept.

imageThe clean walkways of checkered tiles makes you want to stay and spend more time exploring the Los Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez

imageThe pavilion building inside the garden, made of bricks and glass. I chanced on a film-showing (that’s how I observed the goings-on from the outside) the last time I visited the garden

imageThe garden has a handsome feature to boast about – its pergola, or some parallel colonnades supporting an open roof of long wooden rafters. It offers light shade for you to stay in and cool down while visiting the gardens on a hot sunny afternoon

image The garden features a pond filled with striving, floating lilies. In the middle of the greenish water are a number of rocks from which sculptures of birds appear to be taking flight.

Horarios:

Summer time: 10:00AM to 8PM
Winter season: 10:00AM to 6PM

Entrance:

Free everyday

How to go:

imageThe Cecilio Rodriguez Gardens is found right within the Retiro Park area of Madrid, along Paseo de Uruguay. It is near the Palacio de Cibeles and the Plaza de la Independencia.

Metro: Line 2 to Retiro station. Line 1 to Atocha and Atocha Renfe Metro stations (Currently, however, line 1 is under renovation, and will be available on November).

Bus: Number 51 (stops near the entrance of Retiro, at La Independencia, Alcala).

Map:

The Rose Garden [La Roselada] at Retiro Park

imageEveryone will be delighted to see La Roselada or the Rose Garden, a heavenly piece of land found in a strategic corner inside the Retiro Park of Madrid, Spain. The whole area forms an elliptical shape, and is surrounded by beautifully trimmed hedges that are grown to a proper height; this allows passersby to have a peek of the garden from the outside.

This is precisely what I did, I peeked, excited to see what’s in store for me inside. I arrived some 30 minutes before 10AM and so, I walked around the outside perimeter while waiting for the garden’s gate to open to the public.

imageEntrance to the Rose Garden

Most flower plots have labels upon them — and so visitors would realize that many of the roses are varieties that originated from all over Europe. It was a beautiful park creation by the city’s chief garden then (in 1915) – Cecilio Rodriguez. He wanted to recreate the divinely beautiful rose gardens found in other major European capitals.

Now it boasts of thousands of roses of popular varieties to the appreciation of tourists and rose lovers. Definitely, this garden is one of the many spots that y0u should see if you must visit the Parque El Buen Retiro.

imageThe rose garden’s fountain offers a enchanting accent to the park
imageWinding pathways sprawl neatly in between continuous plots in order for visitors to better examine and appreciate the flowers
imageRoses of striking red-pink hue in full bloom at the La Roselada de Parque de Retiro
imageMany of the rose varieties come from other European countries like this Botticelle rose of France
imageI visited the garden this September, a time when the number of roses of various colors and sizes are still wanting. But wait till you visit the place during the month of May or June — this is the perfect season as there is a great abundance of roses in full bloom

Madrid Attractions and Landmarks Nearby

1. Puerta de la Independencia — triumphal arc monument in Madrid
2. Palacio de Cibeles — The city hall. Also known as the Palacio de Communicaciones. It is a white, granite-constructed building that houses the CentroCentro arts and cultural center of the city
3. Atocha Train Station – One of the important Renfe train/Metro stations of Madrid
4. Puerta del Sol – the city’s most popular main square
5. Prado Museum – Belongs to Madrid’s museum triad

Where to Find

The La Roselada is located inside the Retiro Park of Madrid, bordered by Paseo de Uruguay and Fernán Núñez.

Metro: Take Line 2 and get off at the Retiro Station, which is conveniently located inside the park. Other Stations near Retiro are Atocha and Atocha Renfe of Line 1. Take autobus number 51 if you want to reach it via bus — it stops right at the entrance of Retiro at Alcala.

Entrance

Free

Horario/Visiting Hours

April to September: 10AM to 8PM
October to March: 10AM to 6PM

Map