Had the most lovely afternoon ever. Long bus ride from Granada back to Madrid, and after checking in, I went to Parc Retiro, Madrid’s equivalent of a Central Park.
It was wonderful. Spring flowers in full bloom, bright sunshine, clear skies, tall pruned hedges, tons of benches to rest on, soft grass to sit on, and above all, thousands of Madrilenos all out and relaxing in the park. The main thoroughfares of the park were a beehive of activity, perfect for people-watching. People-watching is pretty interesting in Madrid. Families, retired persons, young couples, guys skateboarding or cycling, middle-aged persons jogging… a colourful moving portrait of activity and non-stop chattering (the Spanish talk very animatedly).
The park has several monuments, including a pretty impressive Crystal Palace (looked like the greenhouse of the Botanical Gardens in Glasgow, but bigger), elegant fountains, statues and ponds. Near these areas human activity is at its most bustling and busiest, and at times so crowded its like Orchard Road on a weekend. There's the usual group of people who make a living by painting themselves silver and standing stationary for hours, or by dressing up as Minnie Mouse and going around entertaining children for spare change.
This park is not as massive as Central Park or Hyde Park in London (actually I can’t say for sure, didn’t have time to enjoy the latter thanks to the lousy English weather throughout my stay in London), but its large, and there’s space for everyone, even on a Sunday afternoon. I walked away from the busy areas and down one of the numerous shady tree-lined little paths, and plonked myself down on a bench directly facing the sun. Took off my jacket and glasses, rolled up my shirt sleeves, plugged in my earphones and then lay on the bench, enjoying the warm sunshine (I like it that you can ENJOY and not hate sunshine here unlike in humid Singapore!). I whiled away the last remaining hours of the afternoon in this fashion, doing nothing in particular. There are times when doing nothing on this trip makes me think of home, but there are also times when it makes me realise how lucky I am to actually have this chance to be doing nothing. One of the little luxuries in life must be not making productive use of one’s time. I could really get used to these Sunday afternoon rest-times in the park.
Today was the first day of Daylight Savings Time. All the clocks moved forward an hour, and 2am 28th March became 3am 28th March. Its a pretty good idea actually, because then you’ll spend more time outdoors. 8.30pm and the sun’s setting on another glorious day in Spain.