The Retirees go Abroad – the Iberian Peninsula – Madrid, the Botanic Gardens and Sobrino de Bortin

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It’s Sunday and we have slept in. There is an anomaly with our watches and our computers but we pay no notice to it. I book an appointment for the sale of the car and then we walk down to the art gallery to see if it is open. It is but we are reluctant to pay 8 euros to see only part of the exhibition. So I take photos instead.

A notice catches our attention – there are gardens and a palace across the road, so off we go to the Botanic Gardens and Jardines del Buen Retiro and Puerta de Hernani. As we enter the park we note there is a book market in full swing and people everywhere walking running riding playing on the equipment all under the watchful eye of the Policia. In the midst of the park is the Cristal Palace – a glass structure which is hosting a display by a Vietnamese artist involving suspended bones and in the midst of this a suspended Christ like figure. As usual in a royal park there is a lake and a palace but this one is closed. The park is lovely full of grass and trees – trees now showing the first signs of winter.

We leave the gardens and find the Spanish Arch de Triumph set on a roundabout. We make our way to the Metro and our lunch appointment at Sobrino de Bortin. We kicked around town for a bit killing time and listened to a street band serenading passers-by including one fascinated little boy.  Our reservation was for 3.15pm and we finally get there 10 minutes early or so we think. Unbeknown to us daylight saving finished in Madrid last night and we are an hour early. No trouble they found us a table beside two Australians from Melbourne. They have been travelling for 6 weeks and return to Australia next week. We ordered a bottle of wine (pinot noir from Alicante region by Enrique Mendoza – quite nice) and the specialty suckling pig. The restaurant was jumping and because of that service was quick – they wanted our table. I am glad we visited but the pork was not as nice as a pork roast with crackling or a pork belly.

Tomorrow we will try to find El Pardo and try another bus trip to the wilds of Spain.

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