Last time we were in Madrid it was wintertime, cold, quiet and few tourists about. This visit, although we wouldn’t ordinarily choose to visit at this time, is quite different. Summertime, hot hot hot at 43c and everyone is on holiday.
It’s interesting to see the difference in cities visiting at different times of year, not just in the weather and temperatures, but the general atmosphere about the place too. Definitely a holiday feel, the shops are brimming with summer clothes on sale. The street stalls are open and keen to sell their wares. The colours are bright, as are the clothes, (what few the people are wearing in the scoring temperatures!). The street cafes are plentiful, welcoming and full, providing respite for tired feet and varieties of wonderful smelling and looking tapas dishes.
Not sure how much shade there would be in the city, we were pleasantly surprised to find the streets shaded by huge triangular canvas sheets making walking much more comfortable than in full sun. Such a contrast to our recent travels in Europe where we saw nothing but rain and only the occasional glimpse of blue sky, today there’s not a cloud in the bright blue sky.
After a quick visit to the shops to purchase more appropriate street wear than we had brought with us, we headed for the Parque deal Buen Retiro, a huge delightful park again with plenty of trees providing welcome shade. Very popular with locals and tourists alike taking advantage of both sun and shade, picnics and sunbathing opportunities on the cool grass.
The boating lake was full of rowing boats enjoying the sun. Walking round we found another lake which was full of small turtles, lots of babies as well as mature ones, as well as goldfish and carp, all watched by a couple of regal black swans and a multitude of ducks. The many fountains around the gardens gave a fresh feeling with the flowing waters, and the occasional breeze was particularly welcome.