Wednesday, May 13, 2015

" A walk along Buen Retiro Park " , " The beauty of El Parque Retiro "




take the Metro :
alight at RETIRO / IBIZA station


We had an early walk to Retiro park that wintry day.
The sun was up and shining,
It was neither hot nor cold, just the perfect weather to go out for a stroll.

Going to new places, we make sure we set a day to visit local parks.
Sometimes, museums and mainstream sights can be overwhelming.

As soon as you alight at Retiro metro exit.
When you see these very creative and colorful tiles, then you know you're on the right track.
They are extremely eye catching don't you think ?!



And with a bit of Googling, it lead me to Mingote, a well-known prolific artist and cartoonist: [ MINGOTE info here ]




The impressive Puerta de Alcalà * The Alcala entrance *, is a ceremonial arch and what used to be the
gateway to the city of Aragon.
It was designed by an Italian architect named Francisco Sabatini.
It's strategically placed in the middle of Plaza de la Independencia and now stands as one of the busiest thoroughfare.

plaza de 
la independencia


There are several entryways to PARQUE DEL RETIRO.

retiro 1


We chose the Puerta de la Independencia entrance.

[ A bit of a story here:
The park was once part of the gardens, palaces, and dwellings mainly for Royal use only. ]


Once inside,
the park is lined with trees, trees and more trees!
If it were spring /summer, I'm sure it's filled with lush greens and blooming fleurs.



... and seemingly quiet paths among trees, where you can easily forget you're in the heart of the metropolis...





There are a handful of fountains, all beautifully detailed.


fountain 2

fountain 5

fountain 6


And just as you're about to walk further,
You'll find THE ESTANQUE DEL RETIRO , where the monument of Alfonso XII stands proudly in the centre.


Can you imagine what it must've been like centuries ago?
when this was used as a favorite spot for Royal diversions,
water pageants
and dramatic plays.

On a clear day, you can rent canoes and paddling boats.
There are a few lake lovers as you can see in this picture and
I was at one point so tempted to try, but didn't get the chance to do so.


Random things spotted:

These kids were so animated by this hand puppet show.

I haven't really tried the food here, so not much to tell, except for the sign: Local Con Calefaccíon [with heating]

Restrooms for Men and Women.

Instead of lunch, we had quick snacks so we can have more time to stroll.
We bought these 1 euro aka Super-Cheap-treats.^ɷ^
Me and Palomitas...
They sure tasted too bland and err.. tasteless.
it's like eating white paper.
... but Beggars can't be choosers. ^ɷ^


Inside the park, there are two vital structures you need to visit:

This was built at the end of 19th century.
These red bricked walls were designed by Velazquez Bosco.



There was a temporary exhibition for Helmo Zobernig,
one of the many art pieces.


Insert: This art piece: made from Loo rolls. cool eh?!


#2 - PALACIO DE CRISTAL - The Crystal Palace

This second structure was also built by Velásquez Bosco and was inspired by the London's Crystal Palace.
It was surprising to know that back in 1887, This palace was designed for the Philippine Exposition.


It was purely made from Iron and Glass works.




You might have noticed intertwined ropes , as if barricading the area.
It was also puzzling at first, till we realized that there was another temporary exhibition.

This one was from a Czech artist: Jiri Kovanda called "Two Golden Rings " [ Dos Anillos Dorados ]

"Cheap and simple things can sometimes turn out to be important and extraordinary, while expensive
objects can be invisible... " by Jiri Kovanda.

"Two Golden Rings is an intervention created specifically for the Palacio de Cristal [ Crystal Palace ] .
They are placed at two different spots in the Palacio, establishing a kind of dialogue between visible and invisible.
, the valuable and the functional."





Almost at the south end of the Park is the monument of the Fallen Angel - [ Angel Caído ] built by Ricardo Bellver.

I am a confirmed tv buff and I love watching series, so it got me a bit intrigued after watching "Angel o Demonio" [ which was a Spanish series ] , and one of the settings was in this park.


Truth be told, there was nothing really interesting to see.
Not much info to share either, which I wish there would be.

In fact, we sort of got lost and asked a local abuela, who was sitting on the bench for directions.
I was surprised that she didn't even know where it's located and
It was her daughter instead who showed us the way.

IMG 1963
this is the closer look of the monument.

We would've liked to visit the Real Jardin Botanico, but I guess, our feet were tired from all the walking. ^=^

and this is what we do when we desperately need a tripod... we improvised. ^=^

* If I were to compare Retiro Park in Madrid vs. Ciutadella Park in Barcelona.
It would be without a doubt, this park in Madrid.
I had a great time here, and felt safe, even if, we were warned by the locals about petty thefts.
It was a nice and relaxing walk, and believe me when I say, because I'd rather be shopping than walking on parks, not really my thing. ^=^
But this is one of the parks I would definitely love to visit again.

Linking this to: Budget traveler's sandbox
Sundays in my City

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Friday, May 1, 2015

" Spending the afternoon in Trastevere "

► The street sign: sandwiched between a monument and a fountain.

I don't remember anything significant about our short trip to Trastevere.
Even though, I've been reading rave reviews about it, the other side of the Tiber river doesn't seem appealing.
Perhaps the timing wasn't right or we didn't stay long enough to appreciate it.

[ and so the other day,
As I was looking back at my notes, checking old scribbles,
I can't seem to find my travel journal anywhere, I rummaged all my stash already, wherever did it go?!
Note to self: Must do spring cleaning immediately.]

Here's my Trastevere handy map, thanks to Rick Steve, I got me-self a handy print out


What I did remember though, was that after our visit to the Vatican *St. Peter's Basilica*.
We stopped by a local cafeteria, had a quick lunch and both of us drank a liter of Sparkling Water !
We shouldn't have, but:
We were so lazy to bring the bottle with us,
and it would be such a waste to leave it behind.

* hehe, not a really a smart idea to go tipid *

IMG 8976
Had lunch at this small cafeteria, the food was mediocre, but the price range was affordable ,
overlooking the Vatican from afar, not bad eh?!

IMG 8991
the very long and winding road of Via della Lungara

* Well, as soon as we started walking, it only took minutes before we started to feel
our bloated bellies from too much water.
How we wish we hadn't had too much to drink at that time. *tsk,tsk*
We were meandering in circles, even caught a dead end, but still couldn't find the loo.
and finally, an *Osteria* near the Museum was kind enough to let us in..

IMG 9107
Thankfully,the owner of this resto bar was kind enough to let us use their restroom without a fee. ^0^


► We saw young crowds hanging about at the center of The Piazza Trilussa ,
within hearing distance from The Tiber river or Tevere River.
During summer, The Piazza is packed with people.

IMG 9025



At Via di Ponte Sisto, you'll find lots of local restos like this Osteria.
When it comes to food: Trastevere is known for its fresh Artichokes -
like Carciofi all Giudia- *Fried Artichokes* and Carciofi alla romana.


IMG 9082

what a cute green vintage Fiat !
I want one!
okay, cute isn't exactly the right adjective for it. ^-^


and around the Tiber is San Bartolomeo all'Isola , where the Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola is located.
more info here
Such a pity that among all the churches I've mentioned here,
I haven't got the chance to see any of its interiors and I'm a sheer fan of domes and frescoes.



The exterior of Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola


Forgive me for exaggerating, but Rome has got to have the most Churches I've ever seen,
I'm pretty sure you're bound to bump into one.

► This is yet another church which is the Chiesa di San Giovanni de la Malva
More info here


And the Piazza di San Giovanni de la Malva


Spotted along Trastevere, look at all these vines!




A look at the narrow alleyways and cul-de-sacs of this neighborhood.
Maybe we arrived just as the sun was about to set,
because there were only a few people.






Another interesting church to look for is the Santa Maria della Scala
More info here.

IMG 9077

IMG 9083


and the reason why you visit the Trastevere area is because of :
Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere + The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere



IMG 9116

We only manage to get a glimpse of it as the skies were getting dark then,
and I would've like to visit it again if only we weren't pressed for time.

Santa Maria in Trastevere =
was probably the first christian place of worship in Rome that was founded by Pope Callixtus I.
Here's more info about it .

IMG 9125

* a must-see inside is the Apse mosaic of the Coronation of the Virgin,
where the details are covered in gilded tiles*

Images I got from google

It is not everyday that I got the chance to see a bird as fleetingly beautiful as this.
I wish we have healthier birds here. ^-^


. hanging clothes and red bricked walls .

The reason why I took this foto:
"Made in Rome" vintage car + a holy niche and a parked bike



and last but not the least, just some random shot.

The legendary wooden Pinocchio and this tourist, who seemed so absorb with his phone.
IMG 9093

[ Many churches close around midday for a few hours, and some establishments are closed on Mondays.

Getting there: It is walkable from the city centre, but if walking takes too long,
You can take tram number #8 to Viale Trastevere ]

Linked to: "Serendipity is sweet"


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