Click on these images to see more pretty detail.
My favorite activity in Madrid was walking in the wonderful big city park, El Parque de Buen Retiro. I walked there every day. I chose the hotel I went to, Hotel Agumar on Calle de Reina Cristina, because I saw that park on the map nearby. I have really enjoyed locating near parks in other big cities, with which I was unfamiliar. I’m used to walking a lot at home. Not only is it nice to have a great big swath of shady green, I like getting to see people out strolling, biking, skating and enjoying the company of their pets and children. At home I have a lot of casual interactions with pets and people in my own neighborhood park and this was a similarly comfortable way to interact with people in Espagna.
The spot I returned to most often in the park was the turtle pond by El Palacio Cristal - a beautiful building if ever there was. It was fun going and sitting on the steps there in the evening, to watch the turtles and have low-key chats with children and adults. That's when I really felt a part of the community. And, unlike in the restaurants, when people started to smoke, I could move!